Manufacturing News

China's Jiangsu accelerates digital transformation

In such a booming season for home appliance sales, machinery is operating at full capacity in the workshop of Gree Tosot Home Appliances Company Limited in the city of Suqian, in East China's Jiangsu province.

Automated robot arms are working in a swift and orderly fashion to put components and parts in place with almost no human intervention, thanks to its "brain" –– a smart manufacturing control center.

"The machinery in our workshop is connected to the central supply system, which has the ability to give out orders for the effective running of the entire production process," said a man in charge of Gree Tosot, noting that the control center plays a key role in the workshop, which can monitor the real-time functioning of machinery and manage the scheduling of resources like raw materials.

Gree Tosot has raised its production efficiency by nearly 50 percent and cut down its energy consumption per product by 18.39 percent, since the establishment of a more intelligent and digital production line. The rate of defective products also dropped from 2.03 percent to 0.87 percent.

Suqian has built 32 factories like Gree Tosot, a model workshop of smart manufacturing at provincial level. The city released a plan this February to advance the intelligent transformation and digitalization of its industries, aiming to complete the transformation of 700 major industrial enterprises.

Gree Tosot is but an example of the broader digital trend of China's industrial economy. The scale of the country's digital economy expanded from 11 trillion yuan (about $1.61 trillion) to 45.5 trillion yuan from 2012 to 2021, with its proportion of gross domestic product growing from 21.6 percent to 39.8 percent.

As an industrial hub of China, Jiangsu saw its manufacturing value-added output exceeding four trillion yuan last year, making up 35.8 percent of its GDP. The province also boasted a capacity of digital economy of more than 5 trillion yuan in 2021.

At the end of last year, Jiangsu initiated a three-year plan to accomplish the intelligent transformation and digitalization of some 50,000 major industrial enterprises, with about 22,000 enterprises taking action in the first half of this year.

Enterprises in various fields in China have engaged in this tide of transformation. Since its establishment in 1999, the Bosch Automotive Products Suzhou Co Ltd has become one of the largest wholly-owned subsidiaries of Bosch Group, a leading global supplier of auto technology and services. Now it enjoys fame as a global "lighthouse factory" and owns two model workshops of smart manufacturing at provincial level.

Based in the city of Changzhou, Jiangsu province, the Micro Intelligence Technology Co Ltd has provided solutions and services for hundreds of companies to accelerate intelligent transformation, by virtue of its technological advantages in artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing. "Our solutions help the enterprises shorten the response time between detecting and fixing faults by 40 percent and raise the production efficiency by 10 percent," said Pan Hongsheng, ecology director of Micro Intelligence.

Traditional industry also becomes more energy-efficient when driven by smart manufacturing. "We increased our production output by 8 percent in the first seven months year on year, while the power consumption dropped," said Wang Jiazhi, electrical director of Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery Joint-Stock Co Ltd, a famous liquor brand in China. Wang added that Yanghe had built 738 energy efficiency monitor spots under the guidance of the State Grid Suqian Power Supply Company, which also offered them an energy efficiency evaluation and a solution based on intelligent transformation and digitalization.

A series of policies have been rolled out in Jiangsu to encourage industrial enterprises to accelerate transformation.

"We have improved the infrastructures and provided free diagnosis and loan discount interest for enterprises to support their intelligent transformation and digitalization," said Sun Shulong, an official with Suqian's industry and information technology department, noting that the city had constructed 1,442 5G base stations in the first half of 2022, which is 96 percent of its annual target.

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