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Geely’s new 5G Smart Factory is here to revolutionize the automotive industry

Automated, intelligent, and connected

Just about everything in Geely Auto's new Changxing factory is automated. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Given the demands of the automotive market today, it’s not enough that a brand is able to manufacture vehicles efficiently.

Customers demand quality, and advancements in technology to speed up production while improving upon precision create additional value that can be passed on to the end user.

At Geely Auto’s new Changxing factory, the brand is able to produce one car every 60 seconds while still meeting the brand’s rigorous standards. This is possible thanks to investing greatly in automation, intelligence, and manufacturing flexibility.

At the heart of it all are heavy investments by Geely Auto in AI, 5G connectivity, and advanced industry processes and automation. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The monumental task of crafting a vehicle from the ground up is orchestrated by a medley of robots for stamping, welding, and ferrying parts across the factory floor, while the whole operation is overseen by artificial-intelligence technologies to ensure efficiency and precision along the way.

Tying together the sensors, the equipment, and the processes is a local 5G network to ensure fast and timely networking, while maintaining autonomy and coverage.

Geely Emgrand.

Metal stamping is the lifeblood of steel manufacturing today, and the very basis for the modern automobile as we know it. The Changxing plant’s two fully automatic metal stamping lines are able to produce the complex compound shapes required of multiple models—including the Geely EmgrandBinrui, and soon, the Smart models—and do so with utmost speed and precision.

With a top speed of 15 strokes per minute, they can churn out a part every four seconds. The stampings are then measured and inspected to a tolerance of less than 0.5mm.

The modern automobile would not be the way it is without metal stamping, and Geely is showing us just how it's done. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

After stamping, the parts are then welded together. A single vehicle’s chassis may have 4,600 welding points, and these are all done with automated welding robots.

Machines that pick and place these parts prior to welding—along with robots that transport them around the facility—ensure that parts get to where they have to be with speed and precision.

Assembly is overseen by a plethora of technologies, all aimed at ensuring that parts are precisely placed on the vehicle. Operational efficiencies can be gleaned from merging AI with statistics, such as in the case of ensuring bolts are torqued right the first time, every time.

The welding operation is 100% automated, from the welders themselves to the machines that pick and place the parts for welding. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The facility’s location requires that the brand sticks to the strictest of environmental standards, owing to their proximity to Taihu Lake, one of the largest lakes in the whole of China.

Nearly half of the power they use comes from solar in situ. The effluent wastewater is treated on-site to make it more than clean enough to be discharged safely.

The vehicle’s paint is also environmentally friendly and free from heavy metals, created to the same world-quality standards that top deep-penetrating electrophoresis coating manufacturers strive for. And, as is usual for the factory, the whole paint job is done with 100% automation.

Every single vehicle that rolls off the factory floor is brought to a test course, before being inspected once more from bumper to bumper. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

If that wasn’t enough, every single vehicle that rolls off the factory floor goes through a rigorous 2.2km test course with 25 different scenarios designed to test the vehicle’s dynamics and safety components, with periodic inspections to ensure that everything is in order from bumper to bumper.

Once that is done, the vehicle goes through a rain tunnel where water is sprayed from all angles, followed by a simulated rain storm and typhoon. This is all done to ensure that not a single drop of water makes its way where it shouldn’t be.

It’s only by ensuring quality and efficiency every step of the way that Geely Auto is able to deliver quality and value to its customers, following the company’s standards that surpass global expectations. From the raw sheet metal all the way to the brand-new vehicle rolling off the test track, you can rest assured that your Geely automobile is made the best it can ever be.

This article was produced in partnership with Geely Auto.


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