With support from Huawei and China Mobile, Haier, China’s largest consumer electronics and home appliance producer, has successfully applied innovative manufacturing solutions combining 5G and mobile edge computing in its smart factories.
Developed at the joint-innovation base established in February 2021, the solutions integrate 5G edge computing with artificial intelligence and particularly machine vision in manufacturing environments. They are applicable to various manufacturing scenarios where they can perform a variety of functions. Haier has already launched the technologies at seven smart factories in China, and plans to expand the implementation at 20 further factories by the end of 2022.
Huawei is expected to help Haier deploy the 5G solutions and transform about 100 of its manufacturing facilities globally within the next five years. The three companies also plan to offer the technologies to other leading manufacturers in China and overseas.
5G provides manufacturers with bandwidth of up to 20GBps and latencies as low as 1 millisecond. Mobile edge computing, one of 5G’s main features, delivers extremely low-latency cloud computing but it’s still early days for manufacturers aspiring to take advantage of 5G’s full capabilities.
The solutions enable the implementation of high-performance machine vision in a manufacturing environment through low-latency connections between high-definition cameras, the AI modules at the factory site, and the training servers located off-site.
Deployed on a 5G-enabled production line, machine vision saves manufacturers costs by rapidly performing QC checks with over 99% accuracy, at least 10% more accurate than without the function. Compared with visual inspection performed by humans, machine vision delivers much fewer false positive and false negative results.
In future, the solutions will be further improved to provide ‘digital twins’ visualization. Digital twin is the reproduction of a real and dynamic production floor into a virtual digital world, a meta-universe. Digital twin makes just-in-time preventive maintenance a reality and enables the simulation of changes to the production process before they are implemented. The three are also experimenting how 5G environment can support automated guided vehicles to transfer items in warehouses or manufacturing lines more accurately and efficiently.
For more information: www.huawei.com