[People's Daily Online] STEP robot: with innovation as the engine, seize the new track of the digital economy

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  • Time of issue:2022-11-29 00:00

[People's Daily Online] STEP robot: with innovation as the engine, seize the new track of the digital economy

  • Views:
  • Time of issue:2022-11-29 00:00

In the huge factory building of 20,000 square meters, robots run precisely on the production line, and workers are hardly seen. "Robots make robots", this scene is already in the Shanghai STEP robot factory located in Nanxiang Town, Jiading District. This local company in Shanghai, which has been established for more than 20 years, is one of the companies with the highest density of independent brand robots in Shanghai. Currently, all four of its factories are building digital factories.


Robots are known as "the jewel at the top of the manufacturing crown" and are an important symbol to measure a country's technological innovation and high-end manufacturing level. According to such a set of data, 1/3 of the global robot output is in China, and 1/3 of the Chinese robot output is in Shanghai. The robot industry has become a new business card of "Made in Shanghai".


Smart factories are the main front for the digital transformation of Shanghai's manufacturing industry, involving integrated applications such as smart equipment and smart robots. Shanghai is promoting the construction of smart factories by classification and classification, and accelerating the layout of the new track of the digital economy.


Shanghai's first robot-manufacturing robot smart factory


"At present, in the entire STEP Group, the robot density has reached 1080 units/10,000 workers, far exceeding the average level of 246 units/10,000 workers in my country, and comparable to the country with the highest robot density in the world." Zhang Zhenkui, director of Shanghai STEP President Office, introduced .


The density of industrial robots represents the degree of automated production in a country or region, and is an important reference in the digital transformation of the economy.


According to the "14th Five-Year Plan" for the development of Shanghai's high-end equipment industry, by 2025, the scale of the high-end equipment industry will exceed 650 billion yuan, and the key subdivisions will shift from international follow-up and running to leading. In the field of intelligent robots, Shanghai will make efforts in three aspects: promoting the upgrading of industrial robots, expanding the scale of service (special) robots, and breaking through the core components of robots. This year is the final year of the "Special Action Plan for Building 100+ Smart Factories (2020-2022)". The special action plan plans to build 100 smart factories and build 10 benchmark smart factories in three years.


"At present, the STEP robot super factory has a factory building of 20,000 square meters, but only 9 workers are responsible for watching the line and implementing some operations that require manual intervention, while parts assembly, material transportation, precision welding, sample testing and other processes are all completed by robots. .” Zhang Zhenkui introduced.


STEP robot super factory realizes "robot manufacturing robot"


The factory was officially put into operation in December 2020. It is the first robot-manufacturing robot in Shanghai, with an annual production capacity of 10,000 industrial robots. By using robots in batches, the number of employees has been reduced by 80%, and the one-time pass rate of product testing has increased by 15%. Under the empowerment of efficient and flexible automation technology, the designed production capacity of 10,000 units per year has been realized. Compared with the previous manual work, the output efficiency per unit area has increased by more than 30%.


The construction of smart factories will bring new impetus to the sustained high-quality growth of Shanghai's industry.


Intelligent manufacturing helps the manufacturing industry to develop to high quality


Fan Zeng, deputy general manager of the STEP Robot Division, introduced that the automatic production line for small-load robots in the STEP Robot Super Factory is a modern robot production line for intelligent manufacturing, which realizes the production process of robots with robots. This production line comprehensively considers the product structure of the three series of robots, decomposes the process according to the manufacturing process, customizes the assembly logistics line and tooling, and realizes the production capacity of each robot on the production line under the premise of ensuring the quality of product assembly balance, so as to improve product quality and reduce manufacturing costs.


"The robots used on the production line are also STEP brand, and all the intelligent manufacturing projects in the factory are developed and integrated by STEP itself." Fan Zeng introduced.


Workers may make operational errors on the production line. Will there be operational errors or technical deviations when robots are used to manufacture robots?


Fan Zeng gave the answer: Since the project construction of STEP robot factory intelligent manufacturing is relatively complicated, it is a customized project, and there is no complete case for reference. In order to ensure the quality of the project and deliver it on schedule, STEP built the first CAVE virtual commissioning laboratory in China during the implementation process.


Before the construction of the project, through the virtual prototype design under the virtual digitalization, the rapid review, ergonomic analysis, virtual interactive debugging of the production line, virtual maintenance and maintenance evaluation analysis, and interactive product display were realized. After many virtual digital drills and verifications After the project was delivered, it also guaranteed the technical stability and quality improvement of the production line. Since it was put into production for more than 3 months, the pass rate of STEP robot production robot production line products has reached 99.4%.


There are many robot parts, and some parts have a long lead time. In order to arrange the inventory reasonably, the STEP robot factory uses a three-dimensional warehouse to store materials with smaller specifications, and a flat inventory to store heavier materials. Intelligent warehouse logistics technology for material handling. "Just like wearing a suit with leather shoes and a tie, the support of these peripheral intelligent platforms corresponding to the improvement of robot manufacturing robot efficiency makes reasonable use of space to ensure production capacity and timely delivery of products." Fan Zeng said.


Under the epidemic situation this year, the advantages of high-quality manufacturing capabilities of the STEP robot super factory have also become more prominent. In a market environment where foreign brands are out of stock and in stock is competitive, STEP robots maintain timely delivery and help downstream industries expand production capacity.


Today, STEP robots have promoted large-scale applications in industries such as 3C, lithium batteries, photovoltaics, white goods, metal processing, and auto parts, serving domestic Foxconn, Haier and other "Industry 4.0 lighthouse factories" and many other manufacturing companies. In 2021, they will become The first domestic brand with a cumulative shipment of more than 20,000 units has effectively promoted the substitution of domestic imports of robots and the improvement of the industrial chain, helping the manufacturing industry to develop towards high quality.


"Workshop brain" realizes intelligent "smart" manufacturing


In the STEP workshop, there is such a miniature simulation scene: in the busy auto parts production workshop, the automated production line is running in an orderly manner. The planner releases the production tasks from ERP, and the production supervisor specifies the workshop operation plan according to constraints such as production capacity. But before that, the process designer released the process management to the manufacturing department, and then the workshop operator controlled the equipment to start the production task, the parts were assembled one by one and sent off the production line, and the data was fed back to the planner after the production was completed.


The whole process is efficient, accurate, and most importantly, less staff-intensive than traditional workshops. So, how is this series of automated production realized? Fan Zeng said that the password is hidden in the most important one of the intelligent manufacturing software - MES.


Fan Zeng introduced that, as the brain of the workshop, MES is located in the industrial control system at the bottom of the plan management system (ERP). etc.) current status.


For a long time, a major pain point in industrial intelligent manufacturing has been that it is difficult to connect all links. The eMES system independently developed by STEP can prevent various failures or other adverse situations from happening, and can also carry out a high degree of coordination among many STEP systems and realize Real-time synchronization of data between different systems reduces the work pressure and intensity of employees.


In addition, the eMES system can not only realize the informatization and readability of workshop production, but also perform quality inspection and real-time feedback under AI visual inspection, making the automatic operation of the entire workshop more intelligent and effectively reducing the "mental retardation" of automated production. "The disadvantages of "mechanization".


"STEP also pays special attention to the energy consumption management and real-time monitoring of equipment, which reduces the loss of equipment operation." Fan Zeng said that all of these are operated under the visualized data platform, which truly realizes the controllable "workshop brain". run. 


Driven by innovation, seize the new track of the digital economy


In 2021, STEP will make a major technological breakthrough in the key link of robot performance improvement - high-order dynamics algorithm. According to the rapid change of robot inertia and load, it will adaptively and accurately predict the robot's running speed (beat), running stability, Key indicators such as positioning accuracy and noise suppression have been significantly improved, and SCARA, arc welding and palletizing robots have also achieved par with international first-line brands.


STEP robots form a complete product line


According to Dr. Jin Xinhai, president of STEP, outstanding talents are the inexhaustible driving force for STEP's future continuous innovation and development. "STEP attaches great importance to talent construction, and has built an excellent talent training system with STEP universities as the main body. After 27 years of development, the STEP R&D team has nearly 1,000 R&D personnel, accounting for 36% of employees, and has undertaken 3 national science and technology support plans. Project, presided over and participated in the preparation and revision of 32 national technical standards, presided over or participated in 8 industry technical standards, obtained 730 authorized patents, 242 invention patents and 266 software copyrights.


The STEP Institute established in July 2021 has become an incubator for STEP talents


In Dr. Jin Xinhai's view, from the development of STEP robots, we can see the epitome of the development of China's robot industry. For more than ten years, the sales of Chinese robots have been running wildly, not only greatly improving the manufacturing level, but also giving human beings the opportunity to share the convenience and happiness of an intelligent society.


Data shows that today, the output of industrial robots in Shanghai accounts for about 1/9 of the global scale. International robots have set up Chinese headquarters or robot headquarters, and leading domestic robot companies have expanded their investment layout. At the same time, a large number of leading enterprises in subdivided fields have grown rapidly and emerged as a new generation of industrial force and technology source.


"In the future, as the pace of transformation and upgrading of China's manufacturing industry is getting faster and faster, the requirements of various manufacturing companies to improve the efficiency and security of the supply chain will become more and more urgent. For STEP, it is an opportunity that should be firmly grasped." Dr. Jin Xinhai said that next, STEP will cooperate with 12 key enterprises in the upper and lower reaches of the robot industry chain in the three provinces and one city of the Yangtze River Delta to jointly build a "full Yangtze River Delta "Build" robots, promote the application of domestic robot parts and components in mainstream domestic robot complete machine factories in the region, promote the expansion of domestic robots in digital and intelligent transformation, and improve the resilience and security level of the industrial chain and supply chain. (Source of this article: People's Daily Online)

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