Smart Automation manufacturing development

| Flint Industry Brain, Author | Gui Jiaxi

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan started to be fully launched in 2021, and the next five years will be an important stage for building new advantages in the digital economy. Taking smart automation manufacturing as an opportunity to promote the high-quality development of the manufacturing industry is not only the main direction of the integrated development of China’s digital economy and the real economy, but also a key breakthrough for the realization of a new dual-circulation development pattern.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, most manufacturing companies have experienced production interruptions, supply chain breaks, and resumption of production. The competitive advantages accumulated by established companies over the years may be subverted, and new companies may also seize opportunities to grow rapidly. The industry competition pattern It is expected to be reshaped.

However, many manufacturing companies now fall into the misunderstanding of focusing on single-point technology optimization and underestimating overall value enhancement, resulting in serious data islands, poor equipment and system connectivity and other problems. And in terms of smart manufacturing transformation, most suppliers in the market do not have the ability to integrate solutions. All of these have led to large investments in enterprises, but with little effect.

This article will comprehensively discuss the road of high-quality development of China’s smart automation manufacturing industry from the perspectives of industrial development overview, enterprise development status, and industrial transformation.

01, Overview of China’s smart automation manufacturing Development

Smart Manufacturing Strategies of Major Countries in the World

A) The United States-”National Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Plan”, the strategy puts forward the strategic objectives of SME investment education system construction, multi-sectoral cooperation, federal investment, national R&D investment, etc., focusing on the construction of the industrial Internet. The “American Advanced Manufacturing Leadership Strategy” emphasizes the three major strategic directions of improving the domestic manufacturing supply chain through the development of new technologies, cultivating manpower, and expansion. Relevant technologies include industrial robots, artificial intelligence infrastructure, cyberspace security, high-performance materials, additive manufacturing, continuous manufacturing, biopharmaceutical manufacturing, semiconductor design tools and manufacturing, agricultural food safety production and supply chain, etc.

B) Germany-”Recommendations for the Implementation of the Industry 4.0 Strategy”, which proposes and defines the fourth industrial revolution, that is, Industry 4.0. As a part of the intelligent and networked world, Industry 4.0 focuses on the creation of intelligent products, procedures and processes. The key themes are intelligent factories, intelligent production, and intelligent logistics. German Industry 4.0 focuses on five major areas-horizontal integration under the value network, end-to-end engineering of the entire value chain, vertical integration and networked manufacturing systems, new social infrastructure in the workplace, virtual network-physical system technology .

C) France-”New Industrial France”, the strategy proposes to reshape industrial strength through innovation and put France in the first echelon of global industrial competitiveness. The strategy lasts for 10 years and mainly solves 3 major issues: energy, digital revolution and economic life. It includes 34 specific plans such as renewable energy, battery-electric car driverless, smart energy, etc., showing that France is in the third industrial revolution. The determination and strength to achieve industrial transformation in China.

D) Japan-”Japan Manufacturing White Paper” (hereinafter referred to as “White Paper”). The “White Paper” analyzes the current situation and problems of Japan’s manufacturing industry. In addition to successively introducing policies to vigorously develop robots, new energy vehicles, and 3D printing, it also emphasizes In order to play the role of IT. The “White Paper” also regards enterprise vocational training, skills inheritance for young people, and training of talents in science and engineering as problems that need to be solved urgently. The “White Paper” has been updated to the 2019 version, and the original concept adjustment has begun to focus on the “interconnected industry”. It has established a different positioning from the US Industrial Internet, hoping to highlight the core position of “industry”.

E) China-”Made in China 2025″, the main program of the document is:

“One” goal: transform from a big manufacturing country to be a strong manufacturing country.

“Two” integration: deep integration of informatization and industrialization.

“Three” step-by-step strategic goals: the first step is to strive to become a strong manufacturing country in ten years; the second step, by 2035, China’s manufacturing industry as a whole will reach the middle level of the world’s manufacturing power camp; the third step is when the 100th anniversary of P.R.C., its status as a major manufacturing country shall be consolidated, and its comprehensive strength shall be the forefront of the world’s manufacturing powers.

The “four” principles: market-led, government-guided; based on the current, long-term perspective; comprehensive advancement, key breakthroughs; independent development, and win-win cooperation.

The “five” policy: innovation-driven, quality first, green development, structure optimization, and talent-oriented.

“Five” major projects: manufacturing innovation center construction project, industrial strong foundation project, smart automation manufacturing project, green manufacturing project, high-end equipment innovation project.

Breakthroughs in “ten” key areas: new generation information technology, high-end CNC machine tools and robots, aerospace equipment, marine engineering equipment and high-tech ships, advanced rail transit equipment, energy-saving and new energy vehicles, power equipment, new materials, biomedicine And high-performance medical equipment, agricultural machinery and equipment.

On the basis of “Made in China 2025″, the state has successively introduced policies on industrial Internet, industrial robots, and integration of industrialization and industrialization. smart automation manufacturing has become the focus of the 14th Five-Year Plan.

Table 1: Summary of China’s smart manufacturing related policies Source: Firestone Creation based on public information

Key Technical Structure of smart automation manufacturing Standard System

At the level of smart automation manufacturing technology development, according to the “Guidelines for the Construction of National smart automation manufacturing Standard System” issued by the state, smart automation manufacturing technology can be divided into three major parts, namely, intelligent services, intelligent factories, and intelligent equipment.

Figure 1: smart automation manufacturing framework Source: Firestone Creation based on public information

The number of national patents can intuitively reflect the development of smart automation manufacturing technology in the country and trillion club cities. Industrial scenes and large enough sample sizes of industrial big data, industrial software, industrial cloud, industrial robots, industrial Internet and other patents can reflect the development of technology.

Distribution and financing of China’s smart manufacturing companies
Since the “Made in China 2025” strategy was proposed in 2015, the primary market has been paying attention to the smart manufacturing sector for a long time. Even during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, smart manufacturing investment has continued to grow.

Smart manufacturing investment and financing events are mainly concentrated in Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. From the perspective of financing amount, the Yangtze River Delta region has the highest total financing amount. The financing of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is mainly concentrated in Shenzhen.
Figure 2: The financing situation of smart manufacturing in trillion cities (100 million yuan) Source: Firestone Creation is compiled according to public data, and the statistical time is up to 2020

02. Development of China’s smart automation manufacturing Enterprises

At present, some achievements have been made in the development of smart automation manufacturing enterprises in China:

From 2016 to 2018, China implemented 249 smart manufacturing pilot demonstration projects, and the deployment of smart manufacturing for enterprises has been gradually rolled out from testing the water; the relevant departments have also completed the formulation or revision of 4 national standards for smart manufacturing, making the enterprise intelligent The standard is more standardized.

The “2017-2018 China Smart Manufacturing Development Annual Report” shows that China has initially built 208 digital workshops and smart factories, covering 10 major fields and 80 industries, and initially established a smart manufacturing standard system synchronized with the international. Of the 44 lighthouse factories in the world, 12 are located in China, and 7 of them are end-to-end lighthouse factories. By 2020, the numerical control rate of key processes of manufacturing enterprises in key fields in China will exceed 50%, and the penetration rate of digital workshops or smart factories will exceed 20%.

In the software field, China’s smart automation manufacturing system integration industry continued to develop rapidly in 2019, with a year-on-year increase of 20.7%. The scale of the national industrial Internet market has exceeded 70 billion yuan in 2019.

In the hardware field, driven by many years of smart automation manufacturing engineering, China’s emerging industries such as industrial robots, additive manufacturing, and industrial sensors have developed rapidly. The popularization and application of a variety of typical new smart automation manufacturing models has significantly accelerated the pace of industrial upgrading.

However, opportunities and challenges coexist. At present, the development of smart automation manufacturing enterprises in China is facing the following bottlenecks:

1. Lack of top-level design

Many manufacturing companies have not yet drawn a blueprint for the development of smart manufacturing from a strategic level. As a result, digital transformation lacks thought leadership and strategic planning, as well as overall business value goal planning and current status assessment analysis. Therefore, it is difficult to deeply integrate new technologies with smart automation manufacturing application scenarios. Instead, the system can only be partially constructed or modified according to the actual needs of production. As a result, enterprises have fallen into the misunderstanding of focusing on hardware and software, and on parts and on the whole, and the investment is not small but with little effect.

2. Focus on single-point technology optimization, and despise the overall value enhancement

Most companies equate smart manufacturing construction with technology and hardware investment. For example, many companies deploy automated production lines to connect independent processes, or replace manual labor with automated equipment. On the surface, the level of automation has increased, but it has brought more problems. For example, the production line is less flexible than before and can only adapt to the production of a single variety; the equipment management system has not followed and caused frequent equipment failures, but increased Equipment maintenance workload.

There are also companies that blindly pursue system functions that are large and complete, and their digital systems do not match their own management and business processes, which ultimately leads to waste of investment and idle equipment.

3. Few solution providers with integration capabilities

Industrial manufacturing covers many fields, and the system architecture is very complex. Different companies face different R&D, manufacturing, and process management requirements. Standardized solutions are often difficult to directly use by manufacturing companies. At the same time, there are many technologies involved in smart automation manufacturing, such as cloud computing, industrial robots, machine vision, digital twins, etc., and these technologies are still evolving rapidly.

Therefore, companies have very high requirements for partners. They not only help companies evaluate the status quo, establish a top-level plan for smart automation manufacturing, and design the overall framework, but also design the application of digital and intelligent technologies to achieve IT and industrial automation. Integration of technology (OT) systems. However, most suppliers in the market focus on solutions in a single or partial area and do not have one-stop integrated solution capabilities. For manufacturing companies that lack their own system integration capabilities, there are high obstacles to the promotion of smart automation manufacturing.

03. Six measures to accelerate the transformation of smart manufacturing

Even if the company recognizes the above problems, it is still unable to quickly break through and promote transformation to achieve overall value enhancement. Flint combines the commonalities of leading enterprises in the transformation of smart automation manufacturing, and refers to the actual project experience, and gives the following 6 suggestions in order to give some reference and inspiration to enterprises in different development stages of various industries.

Determine the value of the scene

smart automation manufacturing is shifting from technology and solution-driven to commercial value-driven. Companies should first consider what goals to achieve through smart manufacturing, whether current business models and products need to be innovated, then reengineer core business processes based on this, and finally evaluate the value of new business models and new business processes brought about by smart manufacturing.

Leading companies will identify the areas of value that need to be realized most according to their own characteristics, and then closely integrate technology and application scenarios to realize value mining by deploying corresponding intelligent systems.

Top-level architecture design of IT and OT integration

With the development of smart automation manufacturing, enterprise applications, data architecture, and operation architecture are all facing new challenges. Traditional IT technology of enterprises has been unable to meet the needs of production process management. The integration of OT and IT is the basis for the successful realization of smart automation manufacturing in the future. In addition, the success of the enterprise’s smart automation manufacturing transformation firstly depends on the forward-looking top-level design. From this stage, it begins to pay attention to the impact of the change and the countermeasures.

The foundation of pragmatic digitalization

smart automation manufacturing requires enterprises to realize intelligence based on the digitization of the entire production process. Therefore, enterprises need to have a solid foundation in automation equipment and production lines, information system architecture, communication infrastructure, and security assurance. For example, IOT and other basic networks are in place, equipment is highly automated and open, supports multiple data collection methods, and a scalable, secure and stable IT infrastructure, including security systems for information system security and industrial control system network security.

Leading companies realize unmanned workshops by deploying intelligent equipment such as CNC machine tools, industrial collaborative robots, additive manufacturing equipment, and intelligent production lines, and then establish the digital foundation of core production systems through the Internet of Things or industrial Internet architecture, electronic billboards, etc.

For other companies, starting with production automation will be a breakthrough to solidify the foundation of digitalization. For example, discrete companies can start by building smart automation manufacturing units. The smart automation manufacturing unit is a modular, integrated and integrated aggregation of a group of processing equipment and auxiliary equipment with similar capabilities, so that it has the production output capacity of multiple varieties and small batches, and helps companies improve equipment utilization and optimize production. On the basis of production automation, enterprises can start to implement the interconnection and intercommunication of intelligent production lines, workshops and information systems by deploying infrastructure such as IOT and 5G communication networks.

Introduce core applications

At present, the core application systems necessary for smart automation manufacturing such as product life cycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), advanced planning and scheduling (APS), and manufacturing execution system (MES) have not been popularized. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, the “universal advanced process control and manufacturing execution system” required by the integration of industrialization and industrialization has not been widely implemented and deployed.

In order to accelerate the process of smart automation manufacturing, after formulating a development plan and a pragmatic digital foundation, manufacturing companies should actively invest in core application systems. Especially after the new crown epidemic, manufacturing companies should pay more attention to the improvement of management innovation capabilities and the flexible deployment of supply chains. Therefore, the deployment of core smart automation manufacturing applications such as ERP, PLM, MES, and supply chain management systems (SCM) should become the most important tasks for the construction of enterprise smart automation manufacturing. IDC predicts that in 2023, ERP, PLM and customer relationship management (CRM) will become the top three investment areas in the IT application market of China’s manufacturing industry, accounting for 33.9%, 13.8% and 12.8% respectively.

Realize system interconnection and data integration

At present, the data islands and system fragmentation of manufacturing enterprises have led to serious digital confrontation between different departments, resulting in repeated investment by enterprises, and the return on enterprise income brought by smart automation manufacturing is far lower than expected. Therefore, the realization of system interconnection and data integration will promote collaboration across business units and functional departments of the enterprise, and realize value maximization and comprehensive intelligence.

The key to the development of enterprise smart automation manufacturing at this stage is to realize the vertical integration of data from the equipment level to the factory level and even to external enterprises, as well as the horizontal integration of data across business departments and organizations, and across resource elements, and finally merge into a closed-loop data system, forming the so-called Data supply chain.

Establish a digital organization and capability for continuous innovation

Continuously innovating system architecture and digital organization play an important role in realizing the value goal of smart automation manufacturing. The continuous evolution of smart automation manufacturing requires companies to improve the flexibility and responsiveness of the organizational structure as much as possible, and to give full play to the potential of employees, that is, to establish a flexible organization. In a flexible organization, the organization will be flatter so that it can dynamically match the talent ecosystem as business needs change. Flexible organizations need to be led by the “top leader” to stimulate the enthusiasm of all employees to participate, and mobilize flexibly based on business needs and employees’ abilities to meet the needs of sustainable development of smart automation manufacturing.

In terms of innovation system and capacity building, the government and enterprises should unite horizontally and vertically to build an innovation system from the inside to the outside. On the one hand, companies should strengthen innovation cooperation and cultivation with employees, customers, consumers, suppliers, partners, and start-ups; on the other hand, the government should establish a dedicated venture capital team to manage innovation, such as incubators, creative centers, startup factories, etc. , And give these institutions more freedom of mechanism, dynamic and flexible allocation of internal and external resources, and form a continuous innovation culture and system.

Post time: Oct-08-2021