Whirlpool Corp., the world's largest home appliance maker, held a ceremony Tuesday to mark the opening of a smart plant in Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui province.
As Touch, the company’s latest washing machine model rolled off the assembly line during the ceremony, the new ‘Industry 4.0’ intelligent factory finally went into operation after nearly two years’ construction.
Jointly designed by the top global consultancy Boston Consulting Group and China’s best industrial design institute, the Hefei plant uses robotics, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, simulation, industrial Internet, network security and big data analysis technologies to integrate production, planning, logistics, sales and user-related operations.
All operations ranging from parts delivery to storage and assembly can be tracked, which threads through the entire quality management process and greatly raises the efficiency of related systems.
Robots along the plant's four lines can assembly a drum washing machine in 12 seconds. As the plant is gradually upgraded, that production efficiency is predicted to be improved by 40 percent in 2020.