Weihua Heavy Machinery Co., Ltd is a renowned enterprise in the crane machinery industry. Weihua Group has now developed into one of the most competitive enterprise groups with huge production and sales volume, comprehensive product range, and strong brand influence in China’s crane machinery industry.
Continuous innovation and enhancement of brand influence
Established in 1988, Weihua Heavy Machinery Co., Ltd has now developed into one of the most competitive enterprise groups with huge production and sales volume, comprehensive product range, and strong brand influence in China’s crane machinery industry after more than 30 years of development, and has been awarded with more than 500 honorary titles such as “China’s Top 100 Machinery Enterprises”, “China’s Top 500 Private Enterprises”, “China’s Top Quality Standard”, “China’s National Quality Award of the Machinery Industry”, and “China’s Champion of Manufacturing Sectors”. It ranks first in the China in terms of production and sales of industrial cranes, and is one of the two largest world suppliers of industrial crane equipment, with customers in 129 countries and regions around the world.
According to NIU Li, CIO of Weihua Group, the company has formed two major business sectors: one is the manufacturing of cranes, mining machinery, port machinery, truck cranes, reduction drives and other similar equipment; the other is construction projects such as housing construction, municipal engineering, steel structure, anti-corrosion construction and project contracting.
Road to intelligent manufacturing for the crane equipment industry
As one of the eight categories of special equipment, crane equipment has always valued the safety of using. In recent years, Weihua Group has taken intelligent manufacturing as the focus point, to fully improve the quality of crane equipment and make progresses in intelligent productions and services.
Mr. NIU Li has pointed out several pain points the crane industry is facing.
“First, it is the high risk of operation; crane belong to special equipment, and can pose serious dangers, but in the traditional way, large cranes are mostly difficult to inspect, maintain and repair. The equipment status and the customer using behaviors are not transparent, so that the equipment health conditions cannot be predicted. For example, gantry cranes for port or mining operations can lift several hundreds of tons of stuff, which can be quite dangerous.
Second, equipment downtime can cause a number of losses. Cranes are commonly used in ports, metallurgy, nuclear power and other large-scale projects. They work in harsh environments such as those with high temperature, high humidity and high corrosion, which brings about high requirements for the parts used in the equipment. The deterioration of parts can seriously affect the operational performance of large equipment, while the lack of necessary monitoring means and the unexpected failure of equipment will greatly reduce production efficiency, and even cause production lines to stop operating, resulting in huge losses.
Third, it is the low efficiency and high cost for maintenance. In the traditional way to maintain and repair cranes, professional engineers are dispatched to some harsh environments where our cranes operate. Even so, the equipment failures are hard to inspect and the efficiency is low.”
Build an Industrial IoT Platform of the crane and logistics equipment industry with ROOTCLOUD
According to the statistics of the China Heavy Machinery Industry Association, China’s annual output of bridge gantry cranes has reached 2.9 million tons, worth 36 billion yuan. Since crane equipment has high value per unit, a long life cycle, and huge market demand, its aftermarket is greatly worth exploring, including equipment maintenance and repair.
NIU Li points out, “The Industrial IoT platform provides integrated solutions to manage and maintain crane equipment, to track and optimize equipment operating status in real time, and to improve safety, maintenance efficiency, and overall equipment stability, which meets the demands of the market and also drives our enterprise towards upgrading transformation and sustainable development.”
In 2018, Weihua Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with ROOTCLOUD to build an “Industrial IoT Platform for the crane and logistics equipment industry”. NIU Li said that currently, the platform has been basically completed and enhanced towards the direction of deep data mining and analysis. The platform has connected thousands of sets of crane equipment that cover 29 provincial administrative regions in China, serving 121 enterprises in 13 industries such as electromechanical and petrochemical industries. The platform can monitor equipment operating status in real time, including gear position, voltage, current, and working environments. The system can automatically trigger service work orders for faults based on the immediate data and abnormality detection model of the equipment, and the after-sales service engineers can obtain the accurate solutions to handle faults.
NIU Li stressed that crane equipment has been intelligentized by the Industrial IoT Platform. The technologies have been applied to the fully automated roller cranes for metallurgy, the fully automated cranes for steel pipe conveyance, intelligent multifunctional roasting cranes, etc.
IIoT promotes intelligent manufacturing
At present, a new round of technological revolution marked by intelligence is moving forward, speeding up the integration of information technologies in industrial sectors. In the age of informatization, intelligent manufacturing is ushering in a new chapter of industrial revolution with IIoT as the key infrastructure.
In NIU Li’s view, the Industrial IoT Platform will become a new dynamic to promote transformation and healthy development of the enterprise. “In the future, Weihua Group and ROOTCLOUD will conduct more in-depth researches and analyses. Our cooperation will have two focuses. One focus is ‘collection’, that is, to collect equipment and data so that more types of cranes can be connected to the platform with low cost and high stability; the other focus is ‘mining’, that is, the mining of data value after data collection to analyze industry mechanisms, which will bring more value to the users and the enterprise and promote the development of industrial Internet and the Industrial IoT Platform for the crane and logistics equipment industry.”