The Chinese government wants to upgrade its many factories, focusing on greater use of machinery to make its workers more productive. Natasha Khan reports for The Wall Street Journal:
CHANGSHA, China—The blueprint for China’s industrial future lies on a dustless factory floor known as Workshop 18, where workers in dark blue uniforms work alongside robots to build pump trucks that can blast cement up the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
Engineers at the plant run by Sany Group Co. figure out how to make better products by analyzing information fed in real-time from machines operating around the world to a data center nearby. The company tracks 380,000 of its internet-connected concrete mixers, excavators and cranes, and it has collected more than 100 billion items of engineering data.
Workshop 18 is designated by Chinese industry officials as a model demonstration facility for Beijing’s plan to upgrade its corporate champions so they can better compete in the world, a policy known as “Made in China 2025.” The adoption of robots, big data and other technological advancements is seen by Chinese leaders as key to developing domestic giants in areas such as power equipment, electric cars, marine products and chips—sectors it aims to become largely self-sufficient by the middle of the next decade.
Sany, one of China’s three big heavy machinery makers, said the integration of technology has increased capacity, shortened order-delivery times and slashed operational costs, all by at least 20%. The company is also betting that the technology will enable it to build a reputation for innovation and quality, rather than for lower prices for copycat products that made Sany a big player domestically.
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