CRRC dark smart 5G+ factory in Hunan

  • January 20, 2021
  • William Payne

Chinese car manufacturer Changde CRRC has built a smart factory with assistance from China Telecom. The new factory, based in Changde, Hunan province, is described as a 5G+ dark factory, and aims to set a national benchmark in China for 5G+ industrial internet-based intelligent manufacturing.

From the raw materials to the final products, CRRC’s dark smart factory oversees end-to-end processing, transport, and inspection processes, in an unmanned environment. Its operations are wholly managed by machines, replacing the need for manpower, lowering production costs, and improving production efficiency.

According to CRRC, the dark factory’s most important component is its autonomous decision-making system, employing big data, analysis engines, dynamic knowledge graphs, natural language understanding, and self-adaptive capabilities. By collecting dynamic and multi-dimensional information, it is able to intelligently identify, assess, and reason complex problems, making forward-looking, real-time decisions. The system is also able to self-optimise, self-learn, and adapt.

The factory deploys a fully automated warehouse and AGV sorting and distribution system, in addition to a 5G digital transport system, automatic data correction of unit cargo, and other intelligent warehouse systems.

The factory has 5G transport robots that are mainly used for logistics, delivering parts to production lines. Using 5G, the transport robots independently optimise the system structure for the requirements of their particular tasks, realising AGV cluster control, collaborative control, cloud control, and parts tracing and management.

Thanks to welding robot data collected through 5G, real-time visualisation and maintenance of welding machines is achieved, in addition to predictive maintenance. The system provides overall visualisation technology, combining signal processing, inference and prediction, and multimedia to showcase the entire welding process. The first batch of one thousand 5G welding robots will soon be launched.

Robotic forklifts collect data through 5G modules, enabling it to manage forklift positions and monitor its energy consumption, operation duration, fault alarm, and other information through the intelligent platform in real-time.

5G technology is leveraged to monitor operations and realise unmanned driving, eliminating the need for employees on-site. As a result, it is able to ensure zero damage in a safe environment while boosting efficiency by 25 percent. The factory is equipped with nearly 100 large-scale 5G unmanned driving vehicles to save energy and increase efficiency.

A patrol robot conducts inspections round-the-clock, communicating with an intelligent security platform that collects and analyses information acquired from both its operations and the outside world. With this data, it assesses and identifies its own actions. The robot is able to realise obstacle avoidance, autonomous charging, fire warning, AI facial recognition, epidemic prevention and disinfection, abnormal warning, environmental awareness, and more, serving as the ideal replacement for security guards and improving the factory’s overall security across the board.