HEFEI, China—Hefei Wanli is planning to complete the trial run in November for the first phase of a project at its new tire plant in Hefei, which the company claims is the world's first tire factory employing smart automation throughout processes from mixing to curing.
The machinery side of the trial was successful, and the company has finished testing about 80 percent of its MES system, Hefei Wanli's general manager Shi Zheng said.
Phase I of the project involves a $296,000 million investment and allows for 2 million unit annual capacity for truck and bus tires. It is scheduled for full operation in May 2017. The second phase of the program will allow for a 20 million passenger car tire capacity.
The new plant is able to reduce manpower by two thirds and raise productivity by 15 percent compared with industry average, according to Shi Zheng.
To make the production greener, the factory installed power generating facilities using steam pressure differential, saving $787,000 annually in energy costs. Its water recycling system also enables the factory to achieve zero wastewater discharge.
Set up in 2015, Hefei Wanli is a joint venture between China's tire maker Wanli and auto maker JAC Motors. The plant has a total area more than 1 million square feet and has 700 employees.