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Siemens to build smart manufacturing center in China

 The Chinese government is promoting the implementation of smart manufacturing practices among local companies

German company Siemens announced plans to build an ‘Industry 4.0’ smart manufacturing innovation center in China. The smart manufacturing center, which will be located in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, will be the result of an agreement between Siemens PLM Software Company and Shanxi Transformation and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone.

According to the plan, Siemens will provide research and development for Chinese manufacturers through the smart manufacturing innovation center as Shanxi pushes forward digitalization of its companies.

Last year, Siemens said it would work with the Chinese government authorities and research institutions on a new robotics center in the country. The company currently employs around 4,500 scientists and engineers in China.

Smart manufacturing and robotics are areas which the Chinese government is focusing under the framework of its “Made in China 2025” initiative.

In November 2017, Xin Guobin, vice minister of industry and information technology, said that Chinese firms that use smart technology have seen an increase in production efficiency of at least 30% as well as declining operating costs. The Chinese government has selected 206 pilot projects in the smart manufacturing field over the past three years in 30 regions across China in a move to boost the adoption of smart manufacturing practices.

Huawei Wireless X Labs, together with several industry partners, have recently established the Wireless Connected Factory Special Interest Group (SIG) to focus on manufacturing use cases that can be supported by 5G.

Huawei said the new group and facility will focus on the field of smart manufacturing to conduct further research and promote extensive applications of 5G communication technologies in Industry 4.0.

SIG’s members include Huawei, ABB, Efort, Bosch, Beckhoff, Hikrobot, Geely, KUKA, and Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences, among others.

A spokesperson for Huawei had previously told Enterprise IoT Insights that Huawei X Labs and its partners are focusing on four research priorities, namely cloud-based programmable logic controllers (PLC), wireless industrial cameras, wireless controlled automated guided vehicles (AGV), and industrial wearables such as industrial AR glasses.

“Our vision is to find out new wireless applications or use cases in smart manufacturing before 5G coming. Huawei can provide wireless application scenario laboratory to support the joint development of SIG members and integrated verification,” the spokesperson said.

The adoption of the smart manufacturing concept is rapidly expanding across Asian nations. Some 46% of manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) expect to support a fully connected factory by 2022, according to a previous study by Zebra Technologies.

Manufacturers in APAC are predicted to lead the way globally, with 77% of respondents expecting to collect data from production, supply chain, and workers by 2020, compared with 46% doing so today, according to Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing vision study.

The study also showed that 42% of the manufacturers in APAC expect investments in visibility technology to spur growth. Some 55% will implement real-time location systems (RTLS) while 48% plan to use RFID by 2022.

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