Terry Gou steers Foxconn towards an Industry 4.0 future
Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry has vowed to move towards integrating innovation design manufacturing (IIDM) from the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) model, stating that the robot industry will eventually surpass the auto industry.
Since 2014, Hon Hai, trading as Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest electronics contractor manufacturer, has decided to focus on the development of Industry 4.0 following a trend started by Germany.
Hon Hai's transformation has won the recognition of the outside world, having attracted world-class enterprises, including Nokia, seeking cooperation.
Gou said Hon Hai has been in close cooperation with Nokia, saying Nokia's N1, which won the 2014 best Android tablet PC award last year, was the result of bilateral cooperation, in which Nokia is in charge of brand and core telecom technologies while Hon Hai takes care of the rest, including the Internet of Things (IoT), patents, and next-generation wireless technology. This proves that Hon Hai is moving towards the IIDM model.
Hon Hai's Industry 4.0 will focus on integrating cloud computing, mobile devices, big data, smart living, smart work networks and robots, Gou said. He sees a sound outlook in developing robots, saying the robot industry will definitely become bigger than the auto industry in the future.
Hon Hai's developing robots aims to use them to help its workers and facilitate the production process, as the products have become more precise, with human power alone being difficult to complete all the processes. As Hon Hai employs more than one million workers globally, reaching the company goal of a 70 percent automated workforce will take at least three more years, he said.
Facing a transformation period, Hon Hai must increase investments to upgrade its competitiveness, Gou added, pledging to invest an additional NT$70-$80 billion (US$2.2-2.5 billion) in Kaohsiung's flat panel factory. It also plans to set up an 18-story research and development center in New Taipei City's Tucheng district.
Hon Hai will continue to invest in the telecom industry, pledging to join in the bidding for the fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology if Taiwan opens such bidding for the next generation technology.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.