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Home appliances

LG Electronics turns home appliance plant into smart factory

The home appliance giant plant to turn all six production lines at its main plant to a smart factory by 2024

By Sep 16, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon
LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. said on Thursday it is turning its main home appliance plant into a smart factory, which improves productivity and power usage efficiency.

The home appliance giant said it has completed the first phase of its manufacturing facility upgrade at its main production base in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.

The company has turned three lines that produce refrigerator and water purifiers into an automated manufacturing system powered by artificial intelligence and robot technologies at the Changwon plant called LG Smart Park.

Of the 800 billion won ($681 million) earmarked for the factory automation, LG said it has spent 480 billion won for the first phase of the project.

The upgrade focuses on bringing production lines located at several different buildings under one roof at the LG Smart Park.

LG plans to revamp three more manufacturing lines for kitchen appliances inside the new building by 2024.

The upgraded facility will enable enhanced automation in all production processes, from assembly to packaging, and leverages big data and deep learning technology to improve work and power usage efficiency, according to LG.

To improve productivity, LG said it also beefed up its logistics system with 5G-powered automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and a smart parts delivery system.

When the entire upgrade of its Changwon 1 factory is completed, the plant's annual production capacity will increase from 2 million units to 3 million units, it said.

With the advanced system, LG expects to see 30% improvement in energy efficiency.

LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon
LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon

INDUSTRY TREND TOWARD SMART FACTORY

Analysts said an increasing number of manufacturing companies will adopt a smart factory system going forward to cut costs and improve productivity.

Hyundai Motor Co. said in July it is innovating its electric vehicle manufacturing processes.

The top Korean automaker said it is making its latest IONIQ5 EV at a highly automated smart factory, adopting AI and robot technologies.

its EV production line is designed to automatically carry out entire processes that include assembly, welding and the moving of parts, according to Hyundai.

LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon
LG Electronics' smart factory at LG Smart Park in Changwon

LG Group, Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate, said in mid-May that it will spend about 120 billion won over the next three years to establish a massive high-performance computing infrastructure for advanced artificial intelligence as part of its group-wide digital transformation.

LG Group said its research arm, LG AI Research, will develop a hyper-scale AI system that can conduct comprehensive and independent learning and decision-making by processing huge amounts of data just like the human brain.

According to global research firm MarketsAndMarkets, the size of the global smart factory market will rise at an annual average rate of 11% to $134.8 billion by 2026 from $80.1 billion this year.

Write to Hyung-Suk Song at click@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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