In the middle of 18th century, the innovation of Watt Steam Engine sped up mankind’s civilization progress. UK took the lead in entering into the industrial manufacturing era by way of manual workshop. Since then, “strength, speed and ingenuity” of industrial manufacturing machines reliefs workers from simple but dull rehandling.
Nowadays, however, the Internet plays the role of the steam engine. The integration of cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI makes the cold industrial equipment wise, so human beings can engage in more challenging work.
Mr. Hu Xiaoming, President of Aliyun
On November 22, 2017, Aliyun announced that they would build the Aliyun Industrial Internet Cloud Platform in Guangdong Province; thus, the HQ of national Industrial Cloud was established in Guangzhou. Mr. Hu Xiaoming, President of Aliyun, expressed Guangdong Province was the base of Aliyun new manufacturing strategy. Pearl River, OPPO, Pearl River Piano, Midea, and other enterprises have embarked on the road of intelligent manufacturing through Aliyun.
As to the relationships between Internet technology and industrial manufacturing, Mr. Zhou Ji, President of CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences), stated in an investigation that domestic and foreign enterprises were in the same starting line in the sphere of industrial manufacturing. However, only in manufacturing culture, process and quality, we still had great gaps compared with Germany and Japan. But the good news is in Internet technology, especially the next-generation AI, China has more advantages over them, so from this point, it’s possible for us to go beyond Germany and Japan in their manufacturing.
The 19th National Congress of the CPC put forward “accelerating the construction of manufacturing power, speeding up the development of advanced manufacturing, propelling the deep integration of the Internet, big data, AI and real economy, fostering new growth points and forming new driving forces in middle- and high-end consumption, innovative leading, green & low carbon, sharing economy, modern supply chain, human capital and other fields”.
On the 12th day after the issue of the reports of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, the State Council passed the Instructive Opinions on Deepening “the Internet + Advanced Manufacturing” to Develop Industrial Internet (hereinafter, “Opinions”). Based on the Opinions, to facilitate the vitalization of real economy and quicken transformation & upgrading, China shall develop industrial Internet. As the linking hub of total elements of industry, the core of industrial resource allocation, and the key carrier to construct the industrial Internet ecology, the “Industrial Internet Platform” is of great significance for China’s manufacturing to step into the middle- and high-end rank.
Indeed, the “Industrial Internet Platform” has become the key to the transformation & upgrading of industrial manufacturing. The established manufacturing enterprise GE had launched Predix, with the hope of upgrading design and manufacturing by virtue of data. Only one year later, Siemens also launched MindSphere - an open cloud-based IoT OS.
Chinese enterprises are also making positive explorations. In 2016, XuZhou Construction Machinery Group signed contract with Aliyun to build XCMG-Cloud together. The two parties built a sharing service center on the middleware platform and realized the design of cloud, global IoT, intelligent supply chain, smart factory, etc. together on the software platform.
“Go to the Cloud” is a new thorough industrial revolution linking the government and enterprises, not only encouraged by policies regarding national development but also internally driven by enterprises’ seeking development.
One month ago, the MIIT organized the convention of National Cloud Computing Exchanges and held the Signing Ceremony of National Industrial Intelligent Public Service Cloud Platform (hereinafter referred to as the“National Industrial Intelligent Cloud Platform”). Co-sponsored and built by Aliyun, China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID) and the Fifth Electronic Research Institute of MIIT (CEPREI), this Platform covers 100,000 manufacturing enterprises of all sizes.
Two major manufacturing provinces - Zhejiang and Jiangsu have introduced policies successively to encourage enterprises to go to the cloud. In this April, Zhejiang Province launched the “Program of 100,000 enterprises going to the Cloud”, with the aim of reducing enterprises’ cost on information system construction and improving enterprises’ level of information application by virtue of the cloud computing technology and platform. Soon afterwards, Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government launched the “1+30+300” Project, wanting to promote the application of cloud computing, big data and AI technology within Jiangsu Province together with Aliyun, with the hope of building 30 service institutions integrating “information and industry” and 300 manufacturing enterprises making high efficient use of new technologies.
In the meantime when the government starts vigorously popularizing cloud, manufacturing enterprises in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces have also sped up their original space in embracing cloud. GCL Solar located in Suzhou took the lead in improving 1% yield successfully through cloud computing and big data, thus saving hundreds of millions of RMB in production cost. Besides intelligently lifting the qualification rate of rubber compound by 3-5% through big data, ZC Rubber suited in Xiasha Park, Hangzhou succeeded in blazing a new manufacturing trail which had been verified by predecessors.
After this, global enterprises such as Trinasolar, DunAn New Energy, etc. have moved to the cloud one after another, to seek new opportunities on the cloud and overcome challenges facing traditional manufacturing by virtue of AI technology.
Such a wave surges from the Yangtze River Delta to the Pearl River Delta. In Guangdong Province where 360,000 manufacturing enterprises sit, small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprise centers represented by Foshan and Dongguan become the vast industrial heartland. Facing the competition and shock brought by globalization, the demands for their transformation & upgrading are more urgent.
OCEANO, a ceramic company in Foshan, once faced challenges like excess production capacity, knowing less about the market, breaking up with consumers, and having no idea of their future. Finally, they chose to go to the cloud and built the complete cloud business system on the cloud, thus interacting with customers and forming the market-oriented business mode. Ordinary consumers can easily customize or design their own home only by logging in the website; the whole process regarding home decoration or ceramics, ranging from placing, delivery to fitting, can be monitored on a mobile phone, and even, the live decoration process can be watched.
Han Lei, a counselor of Industry 4.0 Innovation Research Center, pointed out that with the rise of Internet economy and the tightening of manufacturing after 2014, many old-generation entrepreneurs felt keen on Internet transformation and began taking part in various Internet thinking training classes and transformation forums. However, the so-called “Internet Transformation” at that time was only a pseudo-proposition, for it’s merely a new marketing channel.
After successful tries sprung up all over the world, the industry saw more possibilities. The Internet links people with people or more precisely, manufacturers, so manufacturers can learn about each customer’s needs at low cost; also, the Internet links people with data and machines the same way and makes digital factories and intelligent products gradually come into true .
Cloud companies represented by Aliyun provide this round of new industrial revolution with solid technical support. Zhou Ji once said, “Alibaba’s information technology is leading, especially the new round of AI technology; big data, cloud computing, IoT, etc. have realized group breakthroughs. The new-generation AI technology is the core of the new round of industrial revolution, bringing opportunities to manufacturing”.
A new era is coming. Just as what BCG points out in the report of Industry 4.0 - Development Prospects of Productivity and Manufacturing in the Future, China’s manufacturing will rely on such new technologies of Industry 4.0 as cloud computing and big data to lift the production efficiency by 15-25%, to create the additional value of 4-6 trillion yuan.
Time will not wait for the upgrading of industrial manufacturing; China is willing and ready to take its own responsibility to welcome an intelligent technological revolution. Therefore, in the tide of industrial informatization, Chinese enterprises will definitely walk in the front.