The concept of Industrial 4.0 which indicates the fourth industrial revolution has spread all over the world, and it has also become a hot topic of the Chinese manufacturing industry, with all the sectors in the industry are actively exploring their own way of intelligent manufacturing. As a typical discrete components and parts manufacturer and the leader in Chinese ultra capacitor industry, SPS Technology is also actively implementing this concept into its daily production.
Ultra capacitor is a new industry came into being in recent 10 years, with the rapid expansion of production, it has experienced the process of manual, semi-automatic and automatic production in a short time. In order to meet customer’s increasingly stringent requirements, SPS made a leap-forward development in 2010 to transfer from semi-automatic production directly to intelligent automation production. According to the CEO of SPS, due to the complexity of the ultra capacitor manufacturing process, such as the high requirement for automation in pole piece manufacturing and materials welding, and huge investment, the intelligent upgrading towards automation in the factory is conducted according to the following strategies “high standard, systematic layout, implement step by step, and focus on key breakthroughs”. The target is to set up an intelligent automatic manufacturing system which connects all the machines in it. Take assembly process as an example, after having an in-depth understanding of the key manufacturing process of the automatic system, our technical team has developed a more applicable and efficient automatic assembly line according to the principle of effective, economical, and controllable. With the independent R&D and upgrading capability on the key technologies and process, we could create our unique control over the manufacturing process.” The factory is trying to improve the controlling capability over manufacturing process, to reduce human intervention into the assembly line, and to move towards intelligent manufacturing”.
Besides the gradual transition towards automatic manufacturing, SPS has also independently developed the manufacturing management system, achieved complete data collection and traceability of the whole manufacturing process. SPS is not only able to obtain the data from manufacturing process in a timely and accurate way, to make scientific scheduling of production, but also able to control the quality of data during the whole production process. From data collection, analysis to engineering capacity assessment, it has realized the digitalized and on-line management of the manufacturing process. In addition, the introduction of the product development system could ensure the filing for all the documents related with product development and mass production, and guarantee that each product is identifiable, traceable and controllable during the design and manufacturing process. In addition, the introduction of ERP and CRM system helps to integrate production, supply and data generated during the operation of the company to an organic whole.
The core concept of industrial 4.0 is intelligent factory, intelligent manufacturing and intelligent logistics. SPS is striving to build up its own intelligent and automatic manufacturing system, at the same time, it is also actively developing upstream of the industry chain and gradually deploying resources to set up an exchange system of information and data with the upstream suppliers of material or OEMs. SPS also intends to set up a networked, distributed manufacturing and logistics facilities system, in order to realize effective management over the whole supply chain. At the same time, based on customer’s individual and tailor-made order, we could input specific information into the material, and through upgrading the products and manufacturing information system, implementing flexible processing platform, and integrating the information along the supply chain, we could enhance reaction speed to flexible manufacturing requirement, significantly shorten the time between order and delivery, and meet the requirements from downstream customers for zero inventory.
As the ancient Chinese proverb says “long as the way is, I will proactively expand it”. The CEO of the company said, SPS has just entered into the preliminary stage of the upgrading process towards intelligent manufacturing system, and it is still a student in terms of industrial 4.0. “Besides construction of the manufacturing system itself, we still have a long way to go in terms of organizational structure and establishment of the industrial ecosystem.”