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  • Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant: Building All-Optical Networks for an Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park

    Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant: Building All-Optical Networks for an Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park

Future-proof network infrastructure is absolutely vital to ensuring the success of smart manufacturing. F5G industrial optical networks are the ideal choice in that regard, as they have innovative and distinct advantages when it comes to architecture, functions, and Operations and Maintenance (O&M). They provide high-quality network connections for various industrial scenarios to increase production efficiency, and contribute to energy conservation and green production efforts to ensure sustainable development.

Located in Shiyan, Hubei Province, China, Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant is taking full advantage of the new opportunities presented by the digital economy. In particular, they are leveraging F5G industrial optical network technology to deepen the integration of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), such as F5G, with the manufacturing sector. This serves to support the network-based, digital, and intelligent transformation of Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant's industrial campus.

Network-based: Advantages of Simplified, More Efficient F5G Industrial Optical Networks

For a traditional manufacturing production line, network data transmission usually requires Category 5e or Category 6 cables, and the transmission distance is capped at 100 meters. As information points are densely distributed along production lines, the reality is that one cabinet is required every 70 meters. Numerous cables weave their way from these cabinets to every point on the production line through cable trays. This complex web makes it difficult to locate faults and presents a steep challenge for construction and O&M. Note that any tiny network failure could incur immeasurable losses to a factory, or even create major safety hazards.

The deployment and adoption of F5G has delivered a brand-new experience to the Dongfeng Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park. In the workshops and equipment rooms on campus, huge network cabinets and complex cabling have disappeared. Standing instead are compact Fiber Distribution Terminals (FDTs), where a few optical fibers lie in perfect order. In the management center, a large screen clearly displays the working status of all the network devices and optical fibers on campus, enabling much more efficient network O&M. At Dongfeng Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park, next-generation network applications have been made a reality, including remote device monitoring, automatic data collection, high-definition video conferencing, smart canteens, smart parking lots, and IP-based public address systems.

"The smart upgrade of factories relies on a solid network foundation", said Wang Zhongliang, Director of the Digital Intelligent Technology Division at Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant. He pointed out that digital workshops and smart factories, as new forms of manufacturing, have become the new engine for manufacturing.

Traditional network architecture is limited by the transmission bandwidth and distance of copper cables. As a new ICT based on fiber connections, F5G is green, simplified, stable, reliable, and flexible, becoming an important infrastructure for smart factories and workshops as the world moves toward smart manufacturing.

On the backbone campus network, Huawei EA5800 series Optical Line Terminations (OLTs) carry Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) services. In workshops, industrial Optical Network Units (ONUs) are deployed to provide highly reliable access solutions for factory production and office work.

In a factory, many automated production devices need to be centrally controlled. This, however, poses high requirements on the bandwidth and reliability of the fixed network. This is where the F5G Passive Optical Network (PON) comes in, as it features high bandwidth, massive connections, and high reliability. In production, remote detection and precise control require F5G industrial optical networks, which deliver low latency and high bandwidth, to increase production efficiency and enhance refined management while still ensuring reliable data transmission.

"In addition, the centralized network management system and user-friendly interface reduce the time required to locate faults from hours to minutes, significantly improving efficiency," said Wang. He highlighted that the F5G industrial optical network uses a more flattened architecture instead of the traditional three-layer Ethernet architecture and supports one network for full coverage and visualized management, enabling efficient and intelligent O&M.

Digital: Laying a Solid Digital Foundation for the "1123N" Smart Campus Plan

To accelerate the transformation towards smart manufacturing, Dongfeng Motor Parts and Components Group (the parent company of Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant) proposed the "1123N" smart industrial campus plan in 2021. "1123N" refers to one data center, one monitoring center, two management platforms, three types of networks, and N application scenarios. The aim is to build a smart campus featuring fully digital operations, management, offices, and production.

It is in this context that F5G — the most important of the three types of networks in the architecture — was deployed.

Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant now uses the F5G industrial optical network to provide gigabit to the machine and has adopted advanced technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The industrial park is now able to manage all elements of production and management on campus, and to instantly monitor the production status in workshops, such as the personnel status, device running capacity, energy consumption, access control, and security. All this data is dynamically displayed on the intelligent campus platform in a visualized way to enable reasonable, centralized resource allocation.

"From production and office requirements to other service requirements, such as campus security, payment and consumption, and cultural activities — all services can be carried out over this invisible F5G industrial optical network." According to Wang, this network has helped the industrial park lay a solid foundation for the industrial Internet, pushing forward Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant's smart manufacturing and digital transformation, as well as its development towards a billion-dollar industrial base for component and equipment production.

Intelligent: All-Optical Networks Enable Faster Campus Upgrade

At Dongfeng Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park, smart campus applications are used in many scenarios, including production, office, security, and consumption. For example, taking advantage of the F5G industrial optical network, the intelligent O&M platform is able to centrally and instantly manage the operation parameters and energy consumption of factory devices in real time. In factory workshops, all data about the running status of production line devices can be collected, and remote maintenance based on Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) is available. At the canteen on campus, employees can use their mobile phones to complete smart payments by scanning the provided code, allowing them to enjoy a much better dining experience.

"With the intelligent O&M platform in place, our employees can easily check the running status of system devices on their computers or mobile phones at any time. This enables remote monitoring and intelligent control, and operations are no longer limited by time and space. It not only helps us reduce labor costs, but also increases O&M and management efficiency," said Li Jun, Director of the Security Division at Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant.

Building a smart campus is the result of technological development and necessary to upgrade campus management. Dongfeng Machine Tool Plant is forging its way along the road of innovation towards smart manufacturing. It is committed to developing digital, intelligent, and advanced Dongfeng equipment, and going fully digital.

Exploration of the future of smart campuses will continue to advance with time. Looking forward, Dongfeng Intelligent Equipment Industrial Park will lead the industrial chain upgrade in Shiyan and surrounding regions, so as to develop Shiyan into a national showcase of what an industrial base can be and enable the further high-quality development of the city.

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