Shenzhen-based Hytera Communications, which builds radio transceivers and systems, invested in smart manufacturing solutions eight years ago, enabling the company to keep running its factories amid the disruption caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
At the heart of Hytera's smart manufacturing system is the flexible production line, which utilises 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.
This provides 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.
Journey toward smart manufacturing does not end
The company started to automate much of its production processes in 2013 to meet demanding manufacturing criteria – including customisation and reliability of delivery cycles, for its professional mobile communications devices, such as two-way radios.
Hytera now has more than ten smart production lines. At the start of 2020, its smart manufacturing processes officially reached Industry 4.0 stage. In the next five years, one of Hytera’s main goals is to upgrade all its manufacturing processes to keep pace with smart manufacturing standards.
The Hytera smart factory in Shenzhen incorporates intelligent warehousing and logistics systems. An important part of the global supply chain is the Hytera manufacturing centre in Zaragoza, Spain, which focuses on providing customised solutions designed to meet the specific needs of its European and American customers.
The development of smart 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.
Converting part of manufacturing line for face mask production
The flexibility of Hytera’s smart 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 organisations 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 fulfil its corporate social responsibilities.