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Hytera Communications, a leading global provider of private professional communications solutions, has been able to keep its manufacturing systems working normally despite the threat posed to global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to its investment in intelligent manufacturing and supply chain solutions.
The key to this capability is Hytera’s intelligent manufacturing center in Shenzhen, China, which boasts high levels of smart manufacturing technology and automation.
The intelligent manufacturing solutions provide a flexible and agile manufacturing and supply chain system. Intelligent manufacturing and management systems, automated dispensing, assembly and functional testing are designed to guarantee production precision and high levels of efficiency. This is augmented by an automated packaging system and the ability to remotely monitor products.
At the heart of Hytera's intelligent manufacturing system is the flexible production line, which utilizes a manufacturing execution system to streamline the entire production process through real-time information. The production line is so flexible that it can be reorganized to manufacture many different products, ensuring a fast response to changing markets and customer demands.
Hytera began adopting intelligent manufacturing solutions at the Shenzhen center back in 2013, in order to meet the demanding manufacturing criteria, including customization, delivery cycles and product reliability, of high-quality professional mobile communications devices, such as two-way radios.
The company now has more than ten smart production lines. In 2019, Hytera made a major breakthrough in its development of intelligent manufacturing and at the start of this year its intelligent manufacturing processes officially reached the Industry 4.0 stage. In the next five years, one of Hytera’s main goals is to upgrade all its manufacturing processes to meet ‘smart’ manufacturing standards.
The Hytera Smart Factory in Shenzhen also incorporates intelligent warehousing and logistics systems. An important part of the global supply chain is the Hytera manufacturing center in Zaragoza, Spain, which focuses on providing customized solutions designed to meet the specific needs of its European and American customers.
The flexibility of Hytera’s intelligent manufacturing processes has also enabled the company to switch some production lines to the manufacture of disposable face masks to help combat the global shortage caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Production of face masks began in early February and has been rapidly ramped up to achieve mass production levels. Hytera's disposable face masks are already available in the market around the world.
Hytera’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has gone farther. The company immediately set up a national emergency support team and got in contact with health committees, prevention and control departments, medical institutions, and non-profit organizations throughout China to help coordinate all aspects of support, including equipment donations, communications support, and field services. The company has also donated more than 3,000 communication devices nationwide, helping fulfill its corporate social responsibilities.
The development of the intelligent manufacturing system is one of the main outcomes of Hytera’s strategy of continuous investment in research and development. The company invests 15% of its annual revenue in R&D and has 2,342 patents filed globally. Around 40% of its staff headcount are R&D engineers, of whom 80% hold a master’s or doctor’s degree.