5G technology empowers extreme green manufacturing to make CATL’s factories "smarter"


What else does CATL have in extreme manufacturing in addition to "Lighthouse factory" and "zero-carbon factory"?


With the support of partners such as Huawei and China Mobile, CATL has completed the largest 5G enterprise network with a total coverage area of over 5 million square meters in six provinces and seven bases including east China’s Fujian Province and Jiangsu Province, and southwest China’s Sichuan Province. 

Walking into CATL's Hudong factory in the city of Ningde, you will be overwhelmed by the scenarios where 5G is fully integrated into production, including central intelligent process sensing control system, ultra-high-speed motion total video streaming AI quality detection, total big data real-time detection, AR expert system, smart logistics and so on. As the key enabling technology of the Industrial Internet, 5G is injecting strong impetus into the intelligent upgrade of CATL.


5G: The foundation for extreme green manufacturing 

In the context of global trend for carbon neutrality, the EV battery market will usher in the demand blowout, and the lithium-ion battery industry will enter the era of TWh-level capacity. In response to increasing manufacturing process complexity and demand for high product quality, CATL put forward the concept of "extreme manufacturing" in 2020. Faced with the three challenges of "extremely high requirements for quality, extremely high precision process, and extremely fast production speed," CATL has established an extreme manufacturing system architecture by introducing seven intelligent manufacturing enabling technologies, including AI, big data, cloud computing, digital twin, edge computing, radio frequency technology and 5G technology, in order to build an ecological platform integrating industrialization and information technology with intelligent manufacturing platform as the core and featuring multi-platform and multi-system deep interaction to make the goal of extreme manufacturing come true. In this process, 5G technology plays a fundamental role. CATL has built a 5G-based industrial Internet architecture, relying on its high-bandwidth, low-latency and wide access to solve the pain points of extreme manufacturing. Through the combination of 5G technology and extreme manufacturing, CATL has explored 22 high-value application scenarios, of which 9 have been successfully implemented. CATL is accelerating progress towards the goal of a 5G factory.


5G Application Scenarios in a CATL Factory (from left to right: intelligent navigation with high precision laser radar, ultra-high speed winding equipment, automated guided vehicle for material handling)

To make factories "smarter" with 5G technology

The central intelligent process sensing control system + the AR expert system can easily deal with complex manufacturing processes. The central intelligent process sensing control system connects and manages all the equipment and instruments related to the coating machine in the workshop automatically with the help of AI technology, which can realize real-time adjustment of coating parameters and solve the problems of difficult quality control and complicated manual operation. With the AR expert system, the production site and the control center can carry out real-time interaction through only a pair of AR/VR glasses. The people in the control center can assist the operators in the production site in intelligent auxiliary maintenance, intelligent training, remote guidance and other activities to improve the working skills and efficiency of operators.


5G+AR-based remote assistance

The ultra-high-speed motion total video streaming AI quality inspection + JIT logistics can perfectly match the extremely fast production speed. Faced with the instantaneous big data brought by ultra-high-speed video streams, the ultra-high-speed motion total video stream AI quality inspection can realize latency-free data acquisition and transmission, accurately transmit the data to the AI server and feed back the results, effectively solving the difficulty in identification of defects caused by small defects, differences in the reflection angle of the substrate, and extremely high rotation speed in the previous process to avoid prolonged inspection process. The intelligent logistics scheduling system can realize the automatic operation of the whole process, including logistics terminal control, commodity warehousing, handling, sorting and other operations. Through simultaneous connection to more than 200 5G AGV devices and with the support of advanced intelligent navigation technology, automatic transportation scenarios such as automatic cell loading, automatic module transfer and line-side material distribution have been realized in the factory, which has improved distribution accuracy and inventory turnover while saving labor costs.


AGVs are handling materials

5G technology promotes energy conservation and emission reduction, making factories more environmentally friendly

The 5G technology is driving CATL’s intelligent transformation to green manufacturing. Big data collects energy consumption information in real time and artificial intelligence algorithms carry out energy conservation planning, enabling the factory to constantly looking for the most efficient energy consumption solutions. Energy conservation and emission reduction occurs in every link of the production and every corner of the factory. The application of 5G+AR has greatly reduced the demand for public transportation during business trips, and the reduction of about 1,000 trips per year can reduce CO2 emissions by 2,566 tons. As the 5G + mobile terminal platform covers such scenarios as equipment inspection, maintenance and repair registration, and electronic process document viewing, the "Digital Factory on the Cloud" can fully meets the needs of mobile officing. Today, the factory have completely eliminated the use of paper documents and removed 2,141 paper forms. It is estimated that the annual amount of paper saved is equivalent to 7,516 trees.

As one of the pioneers in China to explore the practice of industrial 5G technology, CATL has paved the way for the innovative application of 5G+industrial Internet. Chen Ling, CIO of CATL, said that CATL will gradually apply the 5G enterprise network in all its 10 production bases worldwide. In the future, CATL will continue to explore more 5G-based application scenarios, set a benchmark for extreme green manufacturing, and strive to contribute to the global efforts of carbon neutrality.