Haier gets a hand from Huawei and China Mobile to build smart factories

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China’s largest consumer electronics producer, Haier, is getting a helping hand from Huawei and China Mobile to build smart factories.

The trio of industry titans announced the successful combination of 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) to deliver innovative manufacturing solutions.

5G offers bandwidth of up to 20Gbps while lowering latency to as little as one millisecond. MEC further lowers latency, improves security, and enables new applications by supporting processing at the edge of a network rather than in a hyperscale cloud data centre.

One of the solutions uses computer vision to rapidly perform quality checks with over 99 percent accuracy. The solution is said to be at least 10 percent more accurate than a visual inspection performed by humans—delivering fewer false positive and false negative results.

Another solution aims to boost security and safety beyond traditional CCTV systems with an AI-powered alternative. The solution can automatically trigger an alarm if it detects an anomaly on the factory floor, identify unauthorised individuals, safety violations, and/or if a worker isn’t where they should be.

The final solution currently deployed helps to coordinate the large number of assets on a production line including people, machines, and materials. This is achieved through a combination of high-definition cameras, 5G gateways, and smart industrial terminals that work in tandem with AI assistance.

Going forward, the partners intend to further improve the solutions with “digital twin” visualisations that reproduce parts of the real factory in a virtual world to provide deeper insights.

The solutions are currently active in seven of Haier’s factories in China. The manufacturing giant is expected to transform around 100 of its global facilities within five years.

(Header Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash)

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