[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]
Samsung Electronics Co. invited heads of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to its home appliance manufacturing plant in Gwangju City in southwest Korea to share its knowhow on automated factory operation, the company said Wednesday.
The Korean electronics giant’s Gwangju home appliance factory adopted a smart manufacturing system, which integrates intelligent technologies, such as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence technologies, into traditional manufacturing methods to improve performance, quality, and controllability, in 2014. Samsung Electronics’ appliance factory is fully-automated, requiring minimum manual intervention with only few people needed at the assembly lines to oversee the whole production process.
The visitors toured throughout Gwangju plant including its center for developing precision molds. The company explained it takes only nine days to make precision molds for home appliance products – from creating a 3D model design to assembly.
“I found the smart inventory management system especially helpful, which I believe would help reduce production costs when applied to our plant,” said Lee Joo-hyub, chief executive officer of Daeryun Asia Co., a fan and ventilator manufacturer.
Currently, the Samsung Gwangju factory is at level 3.5 of the 4-tier smart manufacturing system, meaning it is on way to level 4 where a computer automatically analyzes manufacturing data, identifies production optimization, makes recommendation for new production settings, then executes changes. In level 3, the intelligent manufacturing system makes recommendation for producing products more efficiently but still requires a person to execute the recommended changes. The company said it will be adding an Internet of Things-based automatic design system to upgrade the factory to level 4 by next year.
Kim Jong-ho, head of smart factor support center at Samsung Electronics, vowed to provide supports to local manufacturers on their efforts to shift to a smart factory by sharing knowhow the company has accumulated over the last five years.
Samsung Electronics in collaboration with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Korea Federation of SMEs has been leading a project for helping SMEs turn their factory more intelligent. The company has pledged to provide 10 billion won ($8.4 million) contribution every year for five years and has entered the second year for the support project.
According to the company, those SMEs that have adopted a smart factory system on Samsung’s support have their working conditions improved by 47.8 percent, productivity 41.2 percent, production process 33.3 percent, and reduced defect rate by 30.4 percent.
By Seo Chan-dong and Cho Jeehyun
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