Human Horizons Smart Factory Setting Benchmark for Intelligent Vehicle Manufacturing


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Industry-leading new mobility and autonomous driving research company, Human Horizons, has recently released details of the new HiPhi X super SUV assembly plant, the HiPhi Plaza. Equipped with cutting-edge automated machinery, the assembly line has been built in a repurposed gasoline-powered vehicle plant in the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu province. Mass-production has already commenced and deliveries are expected to begin in May 2021. One major highlight at the new production facility is that the HiPhi X will autonomously drive itself off the assembly line and park in the nearby lot.

Assembly of the HiPhi X in the new smart factory will be supported by a number of sophisticated technological tools. Hundreds of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices connected through 5G and organized by powerful Manufacturing Operating Management (MOM) cloud computing software, 'Digital Twin', will ensure the entire operation is managed efficiently and autonomously. For factory operators, the use of Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) on SAP's HANA as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) will allow for rapid production scheduling of orders. Currently, worldwide, only Daimler and Volvo are using this cutting-edge ERP system which can greatly increase the speed at which customized orders are processed.

Regarding the new factory, Human Horizons founder and CEO, Mr. Ding Lei said, "Like people, things are the products of their environment too. If we want to build the world's most sophisticated new energy car, we must use the world's most sophisticated manufacturing technologies. If we want to build a new generation of autonomous vehicles, we must use the newest generation of autonomous production machinery. If we want to create an ultra-efficient and personalized car, we must be ultra-efficient and flexible in our manufacturing process."

The architectural design of the factory itself feels ultra-modern, as if out of a sci-fi world. The space has been modeled on Human Horizons' brand spirit of "to explore, to be free and to create". In the body workshop, assembly is entirely automated by 130 C4-interconnected KUKA robots which produce a higher quality body. Painting and coating of each vehicle inside and out is also 100% automated using the latest generation of German Dürr Group's automatic spraying robots which apply 8 coats of weather resistant paint, producing a near flawless finish that meets the superior standards for premium luxury vehicles.

Batteries assembled in the Human Horizons workshop are exceptionally safe and have achieved a 100% quality inspection pass rate. The company uses China's leading manufacturing execution system (MES) process for assembly of the batteries and employs big data analytics for error-monitoring, full process information traceability, and quality assurance. Final assembly of the vehicle utilizes an over-the-air system with a large number of 360-degree intelligent Automated Guided Vehicles transport vehicles, assisted suspension conveyor line, and Firmware Over-The-Air offline detection software via the 5G supported cloud platform to identify and notify of any potential defects.

After production, Human Horizons' vehicle-to-everything (V2X) collaboration technology allows the HiPhi X to drive itself safely off the assembly line, over to the designated delivery area, and park securely using the in-built Level 4 Automated Valet Parking (AVP) functionality. This is the final step in an almost entirely automated manufacturing process underpinned by a world-class quality control system that ensures the safe and consistent production of the world's first evolvable super SUV, the HiPhi X.

Limiting environmental impact and practicing sustainability is one of Human Horizons' key operating principles. Instead of building a new factory from scratch, the company sought to cooperate with DYK and re-fit their existing assembly plant. The conversion of pre-existing facilities saved time, costs, and physical resources, thereby reducing the company's carbon footprint and allowing prospective customers to get their hands on their new HiPhi X sooner.

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