Photo : A visitor stands in front of a washing machine at the booth of Haier at IMMCologne, Germany, Jan. 16, 2019. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- In the west of the Deccan Plateau in Indian hinterland sits a city named Pune. It looks "quiet and unassuming" compared with Mumbai, a key port city in the Maharashtra state, under which Pune is adminstrated. Yet driving over one hour eastward from Pune, you will be greeted by a dynamic industrial park. Outside the park, a luxuriant Ashoka tree has witnessed the huge changes over the past decade.
Pishinu, who is in his fifties, is most qualified to tell you these changes. Back in 2007 when the senior R&D manager came here, it was only a small factory covering 36,000 square meters, only capable of producing refrigerator of one type. Since then, he has grown together with the factory, like the Ashoka tree, and experienced the changes brought by intelligence.
The most substantive changes happened in 2017.
Promoted by the Belt and Road Initiative, Haier (Pune) Industrial Park was put into operation on November 16, 2017. Supported by the industrial internet platform "COSMOPlat", the park was upgraded and transformed. Currently, it includes five internet-based factories of refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, water heater, and color TV. COSMOPlat is an industrial internet platform based on big data, cloud computing, AI and other technologies. It links personnel, equipment, users and suppliers between connected factories in India and China, and realizes large-scale customization centering on user experience.
In the past, a refrigerator had to depart from Qingdao, China, pass by Taiwan Strait and the Strait of Malacca, and bypass Sri Lanka before it can finally arrive in Mumbai after one month. Now with the completion of the internet-based factories, an Indian consumer only needs to click a mouse if he or she wants to order a set of home appliances from the park.
Intelligent manufacturing has enabled higher efficiency. Meanwhile, production and R&D personnel in the park also pay attention to the livelihood needs of local people, and provide them with intelligent products and solutions that make their lives easier.
India is a land with scorching summer and heavy frog in some regions in winter. To clean the dust on air conditioning evaporator, people have to use toothbrush, duster cloth and other tools. Such a method of cleaning has led to several cases of injuries, which caught the attention of the R&D team.
In order to solve indoor pollution and provide a healthy and clean breathing environment for locals, the first COSMOPlat-based intelligent self-cleaning inverter air conditioner rolled off the assembly line in the internet-based factory on the very day when the park was put into operation. The air-conditioner uses innovative cold expansion technology and is capable of cleaning the dust and dirt on the evaporator in a fully automatic mode.
On that day, two teachers from a blind school in Pune were very excited for their school becoming the first user of the air conditioner. The machine has provided a comfortable, convenient working and learning environment for teachers and students.
Due to the unstable power supply in India, there are serious hidden dangers in the electrical circuits of some residential buildings. Electric shocks caused by the use of electric water heaters occurred from time to time. To cope with this problem, the R&D team came up with safe care electric water heater. With the safe care technology, when electric leakage happens, the voltage can be lowered immediately to avoid accidents.
Huang Decheng, product director of Haier's South Asia market, said, "Judging by appearance, there is no much difference between this heater and those of other brands. But this one is designed and produced specifically for India's electricity environment."
Intelligent products also bring intelligent user experience. In November 2018, Haier India opened the first smart home experience store in New Delhi, consisting of smart living room, smart kitchen, smart shower room, and smart bedroom. The experience store displays intelligent products and a future-oriented lifestyle in a visual manner. In this way, Indian users can experience a COSMOPlat-powered interconnected world, and enjoy a better life brought along by intelligent manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the park has also provided intelligent, informationalized services for locals. In order to enhance the efficiency of user services, the R&D team has developed a set of App system for user services. When a user calls the service hotline, the system will immediately locate nearby maintenance personnel and assign the maintenance task to them.
"In the past, it took at least three days for a user to purchase and install an air conditioner. Now, after the products are delivered to the doorstep of a user, generally they would be installed within one day," said Huang Decheng. Huang noted that the system has integrated Haier's whole network of maintenance and repair in India, thus realizing intelligent search and quick response. Meanwhile, its in-built user rating system can send back feedback of users in time, laying a data foundation for better services in the future.
While bringing a better life for consumers, intelligent manufacturing has also boosted local livelihood and employment.
During the past decade, hard-working Pishinu has bought a house and a car. With a stable income, he is capable of sending his two kids to private university. There are many other young Indians with dreams in the park, who work together with Chinese peers for a better future.
According to Song Yujun, general manager of Haier India, the upgrade from factory to industrial park has created more than 2,000 new jobs. Together with the original 1,300 workers, it has created more than 3,300 jobs in total.
Guided by the "Digital Silk Road", intelligent manufacturing is poised to change the lives of more people.
On September 7, 2018, Haier held a signing ceremony for its second industrial park investment project in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, India. The new park is located in the Greater Noida Industrial Corridor, Uttar Pradesh. With a planned investment of 286 million U.S. dollars, it covers a construction area of 280,000 square meters. Within the park, China and India will embrace more cooperation opportunities and create more intelligent products.
Looking into the future, Huang Decheng said, "Intelligent manufacturing is only a means and the final objective is to provide consumers with desirable products and services. India and China face different external environments in manufacturing, but still, intelligent manufacturing can be realized in India. What we pursue in India is to offer the best products and user-friendly services to local people."
Anand Kurse, professor of Management Studies Department of Indian Institute of Technology and director of Start-up Center, said, "To some extent, Chinese enterprises stationed in India have boosted intelligent manufacturing in the country. Haier's two industrial parks in India have become role models and been very helpful for India's manufacturing industry, which is still at initial stage. That is why we are using Haier as the target of our research in intelligent manufacturing."
Outside Haier (Pune) Industrial Park, the Ashoka tree was only half a meter high when it was planted in 2007 with the establishment of the park. Now it has taken deep roots, with lush foliage. Over the 10 years, it has witnessed the gradual changes of the park, the intelligence-based industrial revolution, and the ever-closer China-India trade cooperation. No one knows what new scenes it will see in the future. But there is one thing for sure: taking advantages of the "Digital Silk Road", like Haier, more enterprises will take roots in India, flourish and bear fruits on the hot land of South Asia. (Reporter/Zhang Ge, Zhang Yadong)