Midea opens 5G Thai smart factory

  • June 17, 2024
  • William Payne

China’s electrical appliance manufacturer Midea Group has opened its first overseas smart factory driven by private 5G. The factory covers 208,000 square metres and has a planned annual production of over 4 million units. Located in Thailand’s Chonburi province, the factory also aims at furthering Thailand’s digital transformation.

The 5G fully connected factory has been built by China’s Midea, major Chinese telecom service provider China Unicom, Huawei and Thai mobile operator AIS.

Asnee Wipatawate, head of Enterprise Telecom Technology Product Department at AIS, said AIS has cooperated with China’s companies to build a dedicated 5G network for Midea, covering an area of approximately 160,000 square meters in order to ensure efficient interconnection of the assembly lines.

“After using the 5G private network, each production phase is seamlessly connected, and the operating efficiency has been improved by 15 percent to 20 percent,” said Vincent Cai, general manager of Midea Refrigeration Equipment Thailand.

The 5G private network incorporates wide connectivity and low latency to solve the bottleneck of communication interruption through traditional communication methods, said Cai.

A 5G AI inspection system has also been deployed in this factory, which could identify the shape of parts and locate the position of parts through laser sensors, reducing rework rates by 75 percent. Once the unqualified part is found, the assembly line will issue a warning in time, Cai said.

The Thai government has proposed the Thailand 4.0 strategy in recent years. In the process of promoting Thailand’s digital transformation, Chinese companies help Thailand build a digital ecosystem in smart cities, transportation, energy, education as well as commercial field.

“We have seen how 5G has played an important role in driving industry transformation. The manufacturing sector has shown significant potential for development and transformation with the adoption of 5G technology,” said Woragarn Likhitdechasakdi, chief technology officer of Huawei Thailand.