A leading global network security provider recently hired the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) as Industry 4.0 (i4.0) technical consultant to design and construct four intelligent production lines for prefabricated steel reinforcing bar (rebar) parts. The signing of the collaboration agreement was recently announced by the HKPC.
The lines are intended to address the local market’s desire for higher steel product output and quality improvement while also addressing the labor scarcity and land usage issues. The project also received a subsidy of roughly HK$3.9 million after applying successfully for the Re-industrialization Funding Scheme of the Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government.
The bar bending and fastening industry in Hong Kong have faced various difficulties lately. For instance, the skilled labor population is getting older. One must deal with difficulties like rebar quality and work-related accidents in addition to the slower adoption rate of modern construction technology. Only four certified off-site rebar prefabrication yards can now be used in Hong Kong, which can only supply 11% of the total demand for rebar.
The tech company sought HKPC’s assistance in offering specialized technology and qualified support to handle these problems and the market’s fervent desire for expanded production of prefabricated rebar sections. This includes emphasizing its requirement for the production of tiny, prefabricated rebar components, often with a diameter of fewer than 16 millimeters. In addition to satisfying the firm’s requirement, HKPC supports the present development direction of the HKSAR Government to encourage the off-site manufacturing of prefabricated rebar parts by choosing an appropriate production location and creating new intelligent production lines.
In addition to designing and setting up data collection and network security topography, production equipment specifications, digital system, and peripheral equipment specifications, building an industrial Internet for equipment connection, assembling production lines, setting up data visualization systems and production operation dashboards, and establishing mechanical intelligent auxiliary systems, HKPC will offer a one-stop service for the tech firm.
According to the industrial environment of the company and its management’s expectations of production needs, HKPC will build the layout of the intelligent production lines. As part of its efforts to achieve lean production, HKPC will optimize the production of rebar precast parts without interfering with other processes and with a minimum amount of moving distance, in order to lessen the incidence of crossover and reverse flow. Other considerations include the dimensions of current and future equipment, work and material flow, safe operating areas, environmental hygiene, noise and safety requirements, and safe operating areas.
To achieve the real-time collection and provision of data and information for all operations based on Ii4.0) standards, HKPC will also develop an intelligent production line upgrading plan. Additionally, a digital enterprise operating system will be developed. For the digitalization of sales order management, it will use an internal logistics monitoring system and a digital order management system to monitor the management to delivery, production progress, and order delivery status.
In order to achieve remote production monitoring, paperless operations, and descriptive data analysis, the company will be able to obtain real-time tracking information and related customer information on all process handovers, material out/inbound, and production quality records. This will result in significant increases in both efficiency and production capacity. Additionally, HKPC will train STGL management in i4.0 technical and operational aspects so they are comfortable with real-time tracking of production status and remote monitoring of production lines.
The Chief Executive of HKPC stated that the production and operation pain points will be addressed along with upgrading, transformation, and intelligent manufacturing by utilizing the advanced technologies of i4.0, such as sensors, data analysis, the Internet, advanced human-machine interface, robots, image processing, and other technologies.
The adoption of intelligent production in the bar bending and fixing sector, according to the HKPC CE, is anticipated to further support the large-scale growth of Modular Integrated Construction (MIC) in Hong Kong and serve as a model for other trades in the construction sector. Concurrently, it is anticipated that building structures will become more precise, high-quality, and safe. This will help meet and stabilize Hong Kong’s enormous future demand for prefabricated rebar products in public housing and basic infrastructure, as well as develop mid- to high-end talent and open up new job opportunities.