Top 10 Digital Factories: Samsung
After ranking in our Top 10 digital factories, we look at how Samsung is adopting smart manufacturing solutions in its factories in Korea and the US.
With manufacturers required to produce high quality products, quicker and at lower price points than ever before, the advancements made under Industry 4.0 promises to streamline the manufacturing process via modern information and communication capabilities.
“5G, with its high speed and high device density capabilities, will be key to this revolution in the production industry and will enable faster processing on the production line to deliver higher quality yields,” says samsung. “Furthermore, with a 5G-enabled smart factory, real-time communication among millions of sensors, devices, and systems will be possible to improve environmental safety as well as quality control.”
Currently within its operations in the US and Korea, Samsung has delivered a full end-to-end 5G network to two factories, implementing ‘only the most advanced technologies’ to its daily operations. By combining the power of 5G and other Industry 4.0 solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, massive IoT and mixed realities to drive new innovations.
Samsung’s digital factory in Korea
At the center of its electronics headquarters in Korea is The Samsung Networks Smart Factory, “the birthplace of innovation where cutting edge telecommunications equipment are produced for global operators,” comments Samsung.
Working with Korea Telecom (KT), Samsung has deployed an end-to-end 5G solution using the massive MIMO unit, digital unit, virtualized central unit, and virtualized core to enable breakthroughs in manufacturing flexibility and productivity.
KT created a private network for the Samsung factory with the user plane function (UPF) of the virtualized core located in the factory, to provide ultra-low latency communication and data security, keeping all data traffic within the factory.
AI and automation
Within its factory in Korea, Samsung reports that over 70% of its manufacturing processes are automated such as robot arms working to assemble the network equipment produced in the factory, enhancing efficiency within the factory.
In addition to the assembly of products being automated, the inspection process is also completely automated within the Samsung factory, which harnesses deep learning andAI technology to accurately detect any defects, with the addition of traceability system tracking every component of the manufacturing equipment. “All of this data is sent in real-time through a 5G network and can be either monitored live or kept for further analysis,” says Samsung.
In order to stop equipment failures, Samsung utilises a ‘Predict Eye’ system within the factory to continuously collect and monitor environment indicators with the help of IoT sensors, CCTVs and thermal imaging cameras that are deployed throughout the factory which check the temperature, humidity and dust levels to ensure that the conditions are ideal for production line equipment.
“Monitoring and analysing such data constantly will enable preventive measures to be taken before equipment failure occurs, which, in turn, decreases down-time while increasing productivity,” says Samsung.
Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
Instead of manually moving products within the factory, Samsung harnesses Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) at all stages of the manufacturing process to deliver the items to the appropriate place.
“Connecting and controlling the vehicles through 5G ensures the stability of the vehicle while it is running and increases the speed of operation to increase productivity,” comments Samsung.
Samsung’s digital factory in the United States
In “one of the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world,” Samsung is providing creative solutions to achieve the innovative needs of its customers. In partnership with AT&T, Samsung is testing and evaluating the power of 5G in next generation industrial use cases.
In order for its autonomous delivery systems to successfully complete their assigned tasks, precise control over the condition and an understanding of the factory environment is required. As the company’s robotic vehicles utilise a full suite of IoT solutions that collect data for this requirement, which can be gathered and analysed in real time.
Within its fabrication environment, Smasung harnesses robotic arms and other robotic tools. The tools are equipped with sensors to collect environmental and manufacturing process information such as vibration, humidity and acceleration data providing valuable preventative maintenance opportunities to reduce machine downtime.
“5G can also guarantee a safe and secure work environment for all employees,” says Samsung. Who see the future benefits of having employees or visitors who enter the factory floor to wear sensors that can monitor basic health indicators like pulse, blood pressure, and respirations. While the environmental sensors would monitor the atmosphere and detect any anomalies in gas levels like low oxygen.
In addition, Samsung also sees the potential for mixed reality training within its factory allowing workers to learn new procedures virtually before being stationed in the field.
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First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.