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Haier Interconnected Factory

Project focus

The Chinese industrial group Haier is one of the global market leaders in the field of large household appliances.  The company manufactures smart, connected products such as kitchen appliances (Laiyang plant) or air conditioners (Jiaozhou plant) and offers its suppliers and customers corresponding, forward-looking services.
 
ROI-EFESO honored both Haier plant locations with the INDUSTRIE 4.0 Award in the “Smart Service” category. The Industry 4.0 solutions already successfully implemented there focus both on continuous improvement of production and logistics and on further development of the products as well as the related services offered.

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Solution

Haier combines Industry 4.0 use cases from its manufacturing operations with special expertise in the development of digital, customer-oriented services. In this way, the award winner is responding to the high expectations of its customers for new product generations of networked household appliances, for example in the context of the “smart home”. At the same time, individualized products are increasingly in demand, which requires a high speed of research and development.
 
The award winner therefore not only conducts active research in areas such as intelligent humidity measurement or smart energy-saving models, but also uses data to predict user behavior. The following highlights of the Industry 4.0 solution from both production sites illustrate how innovative and customer-oriented Haier is.

Highlight: Industrie 4.0 Use Cases from the manufacturing of kitchen appliances (site Laiyang)

The Industry 4.0 solution convinces with a horizontal integration of the product control systems of its suppliers. Here, the data from the quality inspection of the kitchen appliances at the supplier is transmitted to Haier so that the production quality can be optimally checked. This information is also fed into a supplier evaluation model (quality KPIs, costs, delivery deadlines, etc.), which forms the basis for a dynamic material procurement process.
 
Another use case shows how fault detection works using AI and 5G network connectivity. In this case, Haier networked over 20 production machines to automate the defect detection process for sheet metal. The INDUSTRIE 4.0 AWARD winner achieved detection times of less than two 2 seconds and a defect detection rate of 98 percent.

Highlight: Smart products and digital services (site Laiyang)

With a cloud-based cooking platform, Haier illustrates how a simple product sale can give rise to completely new services that expand the business model in a customer-oriented way. In this case, the company developed its kitchen appliances into web-based cookbooks so that they automatically make their settings based on the dishes selected by the user. In addition, customers can order the ingredients for these meals online and keep an eye on all the information from product origin to delivery via smartphone.

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Highlight: Smart products (site Jiaozhou)

Haier expanded its air conditioners and fans to include a digital “smart” platform for room ventilation: this captures and analyzes user and environmental data and automatically adjusts ventilation, for example in terms of humidity, fresh air or according to individual settings such as aromatherapy. Among other things, image and audio recognition is used to improve interactive control of the air conditioning system.
 
Another example is an online platform that supports healthy sleep. Here, the award winner developed pillows that track the user’s sleep through Big Data analysis (heart rate, body temperature). Depending on the user’s preferences, the platform then automatically regulates the operation of air conditioners, humidifiers, curtains and light during the sleep phase.

Highlight: Smart Factory (site Jiaozhou)

The company uses intelligent production planning. The relevant Industrie 4.0 technologies here are 5G+MEC and IoT tools for monitoring quality and energy consumption parameters. These include anomaly detection, self-diagnosis of errors in plant operation, and OEE visualization.

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  • Site Laiyang:
  • Increase in profit margin by approx. 25 percent
  • Reduce product delivery time by approximately 35 percent and product cost by approximately 20 percent
  • Reduction of lead time for product development by 30 percent
  • Site Jiaozhou:
  • Reduce research and development lead time by 40 percent and production lead time by 30 percent
  • Reduce production planning time by 50 percent and delivery time by three days
  • Increase in OEE by 18 percent
  • Reduction of energy consumption in production (per unit produced) by 25 percent

Laiyang Haier Kitchen Appliance Interconnected Factory & Jiaozhou Haier Air conditioning Interconnected Factory

Winner Category:
Smart Service
Industry:
Consumer goods / household appliances
Employees:
< 10,000