Whirlpool (China) Co., Ltd.
Manufacturing & Digital Plant
iFIX, Proficy Plant Applications
Proficy HMI / SCADA, Proficy Smart Factory - MES Solutions, Proficy Historian
Building a Digital Factory
Whirlpool (China) Co., Ltd. produces refrigerators, washing machines, kitchen appliances, and small appliances. Working with GE Digital, Whirlpool wanted to build its new dishwasher plant as the digitization benchmark of the company.
Meeting the needs of global consumers, this modern plant is 80% automated and includes stamping, parts manufacturing, final assembly, and intelligent warehouse.
Whirlpool China meets the needs of product quality and on-time delivery with an MES / automation / SCADA solution from GE Digital, developed and implemented on a tight four-month timeline by GE Digital’s Professional Services team.
The solution provides operations management, data traceability, collection of key information on components and processes, and automatic material system traceability.
- On-time project delivery, leveraging cloud MES for rapid deployment
- Manufacturing optimized for greatest efficiency and quality in a continuous flow design
- GE Digital solution supports on-time delivery to Whirlpool’s customers
- Modern Smart Factory as a model for other plants and leverages Industry 4.0 concepts
- Ability to expand the system to other Whirlpool plants
- Enterprise-wide visibility for improved decision making
- Integration across equipment for plant-wide monitoring and control, including 25 six-axis machines
- Quick response and tracking: The response time of all machining is less than 200ms. The response time is less than 500ms for any cloud functions shown on the on-site clients.
- Mass production: Support for one assembly line, three subassembly lines, and five automatic component lines. The current job rate reached 45s or 80 Jobs Per Hour (JPH), and the design rate is 35s or 103 JPH.
We chose GE mainly based on the concept of strong cooperation on both sides. Whirlpool has relatively mature experience in implementing MES systems globally, and GE is also a leader in global digital projects. Through our cooperation, the intelligence of the dishwasher factory is improved by leaps and bounds. This means we have built an intelligent factory.
Ray Zhang - Dishwasher Factory Manager, Whirlpool (China) Co., Ltd.
Digital Plant Requirements
Requirements of the project included:
- Hybrid cloud architecture
- Short project implementation schedule
- Data acquisition from 30+ different equipment vendors
- High demands for visualization
- Quick response to any equipment status changes
- Quick response to the web-based clients from cloud servers
Whirlpool’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solution
The new MES functionalities across Whirlpool manufacturing include:
- Tracking and genealogy
- Material management
- Quality management
- Electronic Standard Operating Procedures (eSOPs) across 50 stations
- BI reports and dashboard
- Label printing management
Cloud MES and Rapid Deployment
The solution applies the hybrid cloud architecture. Proficy Plant Applications in the cloud ensures the flexibility for the extension of the group company.
The cloud architecture supports the flexibility and low-cost extension to the whole Whirlpool China group. Additionally, cloud MES supported rapid deployment, allowing the team to meet the pressing project timeline of May to September.
System Integration and SCADA
GE Digital worked with Whirlpool to define the standard address form for data acquisition from the various equipment and finalize all data interfaces with surrounding systems via Restful interface. The iFIX HMI/SCADA is local and ensures stability for the on-prem data acquisition.
The iFIX HMI/SCADA connects with more than 300 machines/equipment with 2,000+ real-time points. Furthermore, the system integrates with 20+ surrounding systems with 50+ REST interfaces.
Visualization at Whirlpool
GE Digital provided the multiple forms of reports and dashboards to support the requirements for visualization. It covers reporting, eSOPs, quality dashboard, efficiency dashboard, production monitor center.
- 1 production monitor dashboard
- 5 equipment dashboards covering OEE, energy analysis and processing analysis
- 15+ production and quality dashboards
Partnering with GE Digital
GE Digital worked together with the Whirlpool business team to conduct an in-depth investigation and provide the solution using our discrete manufacturing industry experience and MES methodology.
The GE Digital Professional Services team helped Whirlpool formulate the equipment communication protocol between MES and PLCs to achieve the data acquisition and production control with various equipment.
The project team learned and reused the functionalities from previous projects to fulfill the requirement for rapid development and deployment in just four months.