Revitalizing mask production

In the midst of the corona pandemic, Siemens employees quickly succeeded in reviving a production line for respiratory masks of the manufacturer of medical devices Chengdu Wenjianlikang Medical Supplies Co., Ltd. Also thanks to the support of Siemens, eight Chineses OEM are now able to produce mask production equipment with a capacity of 58 million masks daily.

Siemens has provided motion control products (Simatic S7-1200/S7-200 SMART, Sinamics V90PN, Sinamics G120C) to eight mask equipment manufacturers in China in a short time. These customers can cover the entire mask production chain.

 

Siemens factories in Nanjing and Yangzhou made it happen to deliver the first batch of products for the pilot machine of Ningbo PIA Automation, originally an OEM in the automotive component assembling branch, within one week. In parallel, GMC China also fully support other OEM customers who are manufacturing mask production machines like Nanjing PRIDE, and Shenzhen PYW. After the delivery has been completed the mask production equipment will help to reach a capacity up 58 million pieces per day.

On the afternoon of February 6, Ze Yu Li, a Technical Sales Support Engineer from Siemens, received a call from the General Manager of Region West of Siemens Digital Industries Sales. “Chengdu Wenjianlikang Medical Supplies, producer of medical supplies in Chengdu, needs our help urgently,” he says. “Wenjianlikang needs to replace the control system for its face mask production line so that it can expand production capacity.”

Mask production with too low capacity

Li immediately got in touch with the technical experts from Wenjianlikang to find out exactly what was needed. Then he called his team members. Together with Chen Gang, Sun Xi, and Yan Jian, he headed to the factory, which was 30 kilometers away. It took less than two hours for Li and his colleagues to determine that the mask production line had been operation for seven years and the control system was no longer working properly. Wenjianlikang was producing fewer than 10,000 face masks daily.  

Controller recreated

Because there was no adequate documentation, the team had to work laboriously to analyze the controllers in great detail. Thanks to the extensive experience and the tremendous expertise, the colleagues managed to recreate the wiring diagram from scratch relatively quickly. “In just two hours, we were able to complete the evaluation of the equipment,” Li says. “18 engineers from our team contributed their ideas in our WeChat working group throughout the night. We were not alone in this battle”, Li says.

Ready to deliver in just one hour

On the same day, at 8 pm, the team concluded that Siemens SMART Controllers and HMI were the products needed to revitalize the production line. But where to get the products? Li sought help from the distributor sales team that managed 15 local distributors in Chengdu.

 

The distributors worked quickly, and soon the Sichuan Provincial Machinery Research and Design Institute (SMI) responded with the following message: “We can deliver the products to the factory!”

 

And, even though extremely stringent virus prevention and control measures were in place at SMI (for example, access to the compound had to be approved in advance), they were able to get the products ready for delivery to the factory within just one hour.

Production increased to 50,000 protective masks

At 10:30 pm, work started on the cabling and commissioning. For Li, as the technical expert, it went without question that his team would be there through the night for support. By 8 am the next morning, all tests had been performed. Programming of the SPS started at 9 am, and pilot production was underway by 8 pm. 

 

The next day, February 8, at 8 am, the newly installed production line was running at full speed. Wenjianlikang’s production of masks increased to 50,000 pieces a day. “When my colleagues and I saw the boxes filled with face masks, all ready for delivery, we were not only very happy but also very proud,” Li says.

April 2020

 

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