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Rhino Intelligent Factory Enabled by China's Sewing Enterprises

From:Date:2020/10/23 10:28:20

Alibaba debuts and puts into use its new manufacture platform - Rhino Intelligent Factory on September 16, the first of its kind in the world. For purpose of flexibility revamping beginning with apparel industry, Rhino Intelligent Factory, a worldwide hit, is capable of taking individualized small-scale orders, reducing costs and improving efficiency as a highly digitalized factory. Behind all these, a less-known fact is that it is homegrown sewing machinery manufacturers that supply all the key equipments necessary to the establishment of the factory.

Sources from Rhino Intelligent Factory told the convergence media platform under CSMA that over the past 3 years sewing machinery suppliers in China including Zhejiang Zhongji Haicheng, Zhejiang Ina, Jack Topcut Bullmer, Changzhou IMB, Shanghai Hiraki, Zhejiang Juita have successively provided equipment and tech support throughout the process, and rendered related services quickly. They are truly the heroes behind the scene. In future, the cooperation between Rhino Intelligent Factory and equipment enterprisess will be further strengthened.

Rhino Intelligent Factory buttressed by sewing machinery manufacturers in China


"As the typical example of high-end equipment manufacturing in light industry, sewing machinery industry has spared no efforts to seize the technological bonus brought by the 4th industrial revolution and the historic opportunity to build up the industry in recent years. Focusing on the tech and solution of intelligent sewing factory, sewing industry has delivered rounds of equipment bonus for the transformation and upgrade of downstream industry with continuous endeavors to improve supply quality. The cooperation with Rhino Intelligent Factory fully demonstrates that sewing machinery manufacturers at home have practiced the high-quality development initiative put forward by CSMA, showcases the current achievements in speeding up structural adjustment and capacity switch. It also proves that the fastened transition of traditional manufacturer and distributor into comprehensive services provider and overall solution provider will stimulate the research, development and industrial application of automated and intelligent sewing machinery", noted He Ye, Vice Chairman of China National Light Industry Council and Chairman of China Sewing Machinery Association.

Rhino Intelligent Factory starting now!


Alibaba Group announced that Rhino Intelligent Factory, located at Hangzhou, is officially put into use on September 16. Bringing new manufacture to apparel industry, Rhino Intelligent Factory has connected Tmall with Taobao in order to realize on-demand production in large scale, and made flexible the supply system to fulfill a lead time of 7 days regarding any order of 100 items at least, in which case, the lead time is shortened by 75%, inventory is reduced by 30%, and even the water consumption is decreased by 50% compared with other factories.

Currently, Rhino Intelligent Factory has completed the construction of intelligent factory, digitalization research center, intelligent warehouse and distribution center with functions and digital capabilities being put into use step by step, for instance, factory-wide wireless IoT connection, digitalization of all the production link, dynamic balance of production line, flexible switch of production line, order inserting with a single button pressed, intelligent production scheduling. Once finished, most of the orders can be fulfilled within an hour.

Sources familiar with the matter noted that "new manufacture" is not the extension of manufacturing industry but a new sector. It is a vital attempt to combine the advantages of domestic manufacturing industry with that of Internet for the first time, which would boost the digitalization upgrade of small and medium-sized factories and strengthen the competitiveness of China's manufacturing industry.

Digitalized production enabled by sewing machinery manufacturers in China


Compared with conventional apparel manufacturing, the most noticeable difference of new manufacture in Rhino Intelligent Factory is the digitalized, half unmanned production. Multiple displays are installed at workshop sewing station for the operator to check the production status and efficiency in real time, and make adjustment accordingly; goods are moved through AGV cart, robots and mechanical arm; checkerboard style hanging system is applied to respond immediately and solve problems like single direction movement.

The fulfillment of above-mentioned functions and capabilities relies heavily on the sewing machinery manufacturers. As estimated by Tu Bin, General Manager of Zhejiang Zhongji Haicheng, the special supplier earliest designated by Rhino Intelligent Factory, his company has provided about 70% of all the machinery and devices in use through consolidating resources across the sector, for instance, lockstitch sewing machine, over-lock stitch sewing machine, covering stitch sewing machine, buttonholing sewing machine, button attaching sewing machine, bar-tacking sewing machine,  template machine, mechanical arm, AGV cart.

As an initial participant, Ina was engaged ever since the construction of Rhino Intelligent Factory phase one commenced in 2018. "The indispensable elements for the entire production like data collection and overall layout are unfolded focusing on the hanging system. By means of mobilizing existing technologies and matching them with advanced concept, Ina has developed a full industrial chain intelligent hanging system covering production management, data collection, real-time adjustment, logistics, sales and distribution, etc." commented Weng Duanwen, President of Ina.

Moreover, what's installed in Rhino Intelligent Factory also includes all the IoT cutting equipment supplied by Jack's subsidiary Topcut Bullmer, automated production line of Jeans by Changzhou IMB, cutting-edge technology and devices from Shanghai Hikari, template machine and mechanical arm from Zhejiang Juita.

New impetus of "intelligent sewing" brought by quick response


Alibaba's Rhino Intelligent Factory, poster child of new manufacture, aims high regarding flexible production at the very beginning. Faced with harsh requirements and standards, many sewing machinery manufacturers comment that suppliers are supposed to pay close attention to equipment reliability, performance, services, etc. and above all show their strengths in data interconnection, quick response, flexible production and so on.

In three years, Ina has continuously made breakthroughs in hanging system, the key factor for Rhino Intelligent Factory to realize flexible production, and has delivered "cloud hanging system" through connecting its cloud data with Alibaba cloud in less than two years. Upon such a basis, all the data throughout the sewing process can achieve MAS interconnectivity. A production improvement and management system will be provided in conformity with the ultimate criteria of large-scale on-demand production, and put into use in the form of IoT plus AI.

Tu Bin said, "based on the Factory's practical needs for production improvement including software issues like MAS system, Haicheng has invited experts from a wide range of areas, even renowned scholars from Chinese Academy of Sciences to interact with the Factory and achieve the expected results in months."

"Take template switch for instance, it takes a skilled labor two hours to switch the template in conventional equipment while in the case of Zhigu equipment, a couple of minutes will be fairly enough even for an ordinary labor. Regarding template switch alone, the efficiency is improved dozens of times", noted Chen Xinhua, "all the equipment supplied by Zhigu are capable of collecting data in real time and interacting with Alibaba cloud and MAS system throughout. The connectivity of sewing data from the production lines is guaranteed by automated and intelligent machinery, which lends reliable support to real-time, controllable and flexible production."

Judging from the results of Rhino Intelligent Factory's official operating, China's sewing machinery manufacturers have demonstrated their overall strengths in every aspect, and performed this challenging task smoothly. Through promoting intelligent sewing, they've also accomplished production capacity shift and made excellent progresses, for example, the construction and coordination of any process facilitated by automated and intelligent equipment, collection and analysis of manufacturing data and unmanned intelligent production line capacitated by organic integration and connectivity of flexible and intelligent production.

A blue ocean market hopefully developed by new manufacture


Wu Xuegang, the person in charge of Rhino Intelligent Factory said that, "'Made in Internet' has become a reality through new manufacture. Combining with technologies like cloud computation, IoT and AI, the Factory's operating efficiency has reached to four times of the industry average, which means it spends 7 days shorter than ZARA, the pioneer of fast fashion."

"Rhino Intelligent Factory's exploration of new manufacture that begins with the apparel industry is an opportune experiment against the backdrop of digital economy tightly integrating with physical economy. It has set a good example for the apparel industry and intelligent manufacture, created a bright environment and expanded the path", said Sun Ruizhe, Chairman of China National Textile and Apparel Council.

A small change made by Rhino Intelligent Factory may well cause a huge difference that reshapes the business ecosystem and the long-established production mode of apparel industry. As the intelligent factory is officially put into use, the vision of 'flexibility revamping of traditional apparel supply chain' has become more and more tangible, and the key production machinery and technical services rendered by Chinese sewing machinery manufacturers have been integral accordingly. Core technologies developed through the virtuous cycle of accumulating, completing and improving are expected to provide reference for and stimulus to national and international apparel industry, and even downstream users in global supply chain.

Guided by the major target of 'intelligent sewing factory and solutions', sewing machinery manufacturers have already made significant achievements in recent years. China Sewing Machinery Association suggests that these enterprises should make full use of the opportunities brought by Rhino Intelligent Factory to further delve into single machine automation and sewing unit technology, break down then modify related techs taking into consideration downstream industry like apparel, and build a production line even a workshop entailing few or no hands as soon as practically possible.