The COVID-19 Epidemic Promotes the Technology Promotion and Development Trend of Smart Unmanned Factories

The COVID-19 caused a great catastrophe for mankind and suffered heavy losses to the global economy and politics. How to find a model that can sustain economic life and still be able to complete work and life is the biggest challenge of life at this stage. It also urges the industry to more actively move towards the development trend of smart unmanned factories, reduce clustering and contact, introduce unmanned factory technology, and improve production efficiency and control efficiency.

What is an unmanned factory?

An unmanned factory is also called an automated factory or a fully automated factory. It refers to a factory where all production activities are controlled by electronic computers, and the first line of products is equipped with robots without the need for workers. In this kind of factory, production orders and raw materials are input from one end of the factory, after product design, process design, production processing, and inspection packaging, and finally output from the other end of the factory. All work is realized by computer-controlled robots, CNC machine tools, unmanned vehicles, and automated warehouses, and people do not directly participate in the work. During the day, only a few workers in the factory do some checks and modify some instructions; at night, only two or three monitors are left.

Speaking of factories, you might think of the crowded scenes in the factory buildings: each production line is filled with workers, and various parts are assembled in a streamlined manner, and finally assembled into finished products. However, the above scenes will become historical relics soon, because, with the advent of 5G technology, network connection speeds and cloud computing capabilities have been greatly improved. In the future, various machines in the factory can be connected through the IoT and then matched. Industrial robots perform different assembly processes to achieve fully automated production, making the operation of the production line more flexible and efficient. This is exactly the operating model of the Intelligent Plant under the vision of “Industry 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution)”.

Strictly speaking, the concept of the unmanned factory is not news. When the concept of smart manufacturing existed earlier, the relevant elements of the unmanned factory were already a key development project. The entire production background has been derived from automation to intelligence, and its goals are hoped that through the independent operation and development of the factory, the relevant judgment and contact with people can be reduced. The original purpose of developing unmanned factories is to reduce the chance of human judgment errors as much as possible with the help of the system. As the situation changes, the concept of smart manufacturing has gradually transformed into how to effectively improve the related implementation of people and factories, and the concepts and technologies of unmanned factories have gradually transformed into how to effectively combine the efficiency of factories with people. After all, when the machine is dealing with the relevant diversity and variability, there is still room for strengthening and processing.

Therefore, the most suitable way is to effectively combine the advantages and specialties of humans and machines to carry out appropriate collaboration. At first glance, this application model combines the relevant expertise of humans and the advantages of machines, which can make the best judgment model and effectively increase related production. However, at this stage, it is affected by the new coronary pneumonia; human processing and influencing capabilities seem to be it must be carried out as far away as possible. Under this situation, the development process of unmanned factory technology is deepened. Through this situation, smart manufacturing technology can further think about the feasibility of completely removing people, or whether relevant assistance can be effectively carried out remotely. To a certain extent, the progress of this series can be said to be the greatest improvement in assisting the deployment of machines and smart manufacturing in the entire field of smart manufacturing.

The most important part of an unmanned factory at this stage is the sensor application and communication standards. In the sensor application part, the current stage is still the world of major electronic communication manufacturers, and the major leading manufacturers in this part are still dominated by major manufacturers such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Samsung. At this stage, industry leaders are very optimistic about the key development of related sensor applications and virtual reality applications, but whether the patented technology can be reflected in product applications, there seems to be a lot of room in this part.

In addition to the sensor application, another issue that needs to be discussed is the communication standard part. At this stage, the virtual factory communication standard is still mainly based on IOT-related communication standards. At this stage, the most mainstream technology in IoT is mainly taking LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) as the main three standards, it is mainly different from other related similar networks. LPWAN has a wider transmission distance and a larger data range. The most popular technology of LPWAN at this stage is the NB-IOT technology mastered by 3GPP is mainly NB-IoT technology. The specialty of this technology is that it can use the existing commercial 4G communication standards and can connect to 5G almost seamlessly. In fact, at the current 3GPP related standards meeting, NB-IOT IOT technology is recognized in the relevant scope of 5G. Therefore, NB-IOT technology can be said to be the most popular 5G application standard. However, compared with related patents, there are fewer patients in this field at this stage. At this stage, there are only 48 related patents. At this stage, the leading position in related fields is ZTE. ZTE-related patents not only have an advantage in number, but also the layout of various countries is also in a leading position, and the future development in the industrial field is worth noting.

Looking forward to the impact of the epidemic, the concept of smart manufacturing has been gradually transformed from human-computer collaboration to remote monitoring, remote control, and virtual reality related control. The development of related patents in this part is still very large. In terms of space, in terms of patented technology alone, major leading manufacturers are still traditional information makers, and at this stage, there is still a lack of major production factories. Therefore, how to effectively bring existing production technology to the unmanned human-machine interface in the future, believe there is still some effort space.

The scope of the unmanned factory

“Unmanned factories” generally appear in technologically advanced developed countries. Through economic exchanges with technologically backward developing countries, the world market is increasingly integrated and unified. At this time, when both developed and developing countries produce a certain product, the determination of the socially necessary labor time for this product requires consideration of the world’s average technical conditions, labor proficiency, and labor intensity. Working time, this time must be greater than socially necessary working time in developed countries, and less than socially necessary working time in developing countries. When certain products are in short supply, the socially necessary labor time of the product is determined by the labor time of the enterprises in the developing countries with the worst production conditions. The individual value of the products of the technologically advanced “unmanned factory” and the society in the world the difference in value further widens. Through economic exchanges and cooperation with developing countries, “unmanned factories” in developed countries can obtain more excess surplus-value. The surplus value created by workers in other countries is divided through exchange activities with other countries so that the technologically advanced developed countries become the biggest beneficiaries of international trade.

Nowadays, “unmanned factories” are mostly in developed countries. These countries attach great importance to maintaining the monopoly of certain scientific achievements through intellectual property rights. The existence of patent rights hinders the possibility of other companies using this technology to produce the same product, hindering the decline in product prices due to changes in supply and demand, and hindering the disappearance of excess surplus-value. The dominant profit rates in different production sectors are originally very different. These different profit rates are averaged into general profit rates through competition. When competition fails, it will cause obstacles to the formation of the average profit rate, so that the ultra-high profit rate of some enterprises can be maintained for a long time, and the excess surplus-value obtained by the enterprise can exist for a long time.

Post time: Oct-17-2020