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The largest Chinese producer of SUV and Pick-Up Truck commissioned to Cannon a complex seat foaming plant.

Great Wall Motors Company (GWM), head-quartered in Baoding, is the China’s largest sport utility vehicle (SUV) and pick-up truck producer. In 2016 they set a historical sales record of 1,074,471 cars worldwide, increased by 26% compared to 2015.
Great Wall, that was the first private Chinese auto manufacturer to become a public company, sells passenger cars, trucks under the Great Wall brand and SUVs under the HAVAL and WAY brands. In May 2017, the company officially launched its first electric new energy vehicle, Great Wall C30EV.

A major project for Xushui

GWM manufactures their top-selling SUV model, the Haval H6, in the production plant located in the Xushui province.
All the foam seats and backs are manufactured internally, using among other equipment a complete foaming line manufactured by Shinnon, the China based manufacturing centre of Cannon. When the rising success of the H6 model called for a larger output of seats, GWM launched an international bid for a complete, highly sophisticated, new foaming plant. Demanding specifications characterised this offer: in particular, those related with a centralised type of production control, able to concentrate in a single point of command all the functions of the plant: foaming equipment (dosing machines, mixing heads and robots), polymerisation moulds, mould carriers, turntable.

The client’s requirements included:

  • user-friendly programming system for the simultaneous use of different chemical formulations
  • easy definition of the pouring patterns in the different moulds
  • complete production statistics with easy traceability of each foamed part
  • complete management of alarms and of the relevant causes
  • complete integration of the whole plant with the central information system of the factory
  • a very tight delivery schedule

A Special Response for a complex situation

Cannon Far East – which is in charge of the whole Chinese market for Cannon, through the activity of three local Marketing & Technical Centres in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, plus the Shinnon factory in Zhongshan, Huangpu county, Guandong province – managed to coordinate a well-planned delivery program between the manufacturing resources available in Italy and China. Cannon Far East secured this major contract against a fierce competition.

The scope of supply includes:

  • a conveyor carousel with 28 presses, fitted with 14 thermo-regulators for the mould temperature control, designed to run continuously at a speed above 10 m/sec,
  • one complex high-pressure dosing unit, able to meter three Polyols and one Isocyanate, stored in 500-lt tanks,
  • one 4-component Cannon AX24 mixing head, able to vary on the fly, between two subsequent shots, the composition of chemicals dispensed in a mould, to ensure multi-hardness capability to this foaming plant,
  • one robot, for the fast and precise displacement of the mixing head over a variety of moulds,
  • four extra presses, to be kept in stand-by off-line for easy mould changing operations,
  • the complete, centralised electronic control for the whole plant,
  • the whole safety system for carousel and foaming area,
  • the extraction hoods for fumes above the open-moulds zone.

How to help a customer in need

When the manufacture of the equipment began, in Italy and China, things got complicated by a sudden need to expand promptly the seat’s production capacity, due to successful sales of the H6 model and to the need of producing cushions for the new WEY brand SUV, a more luxury brand than HAVAL.

An emergency plan was put in operation, to provide

  • an extra lot of 8 presses
  • one high-pressure dosing unit as the first one (to be connected to the existing set of storage tanks)
  • a second 4-component Cannon AX24 mixing head
  • a second robot for the head

A State-of-Art operation control system

From the raw materials storage farm to the high-pressure dosing units, to the mixing heads and the head-carrying robots, to each individual mould and press, all functions are kept under strict monitoring in many of the functions thanks to a control specialized system provided by Cannon Automata, the electronic controls specialists of the Group.
The programming system for the teaching of the head-carrying robot has been based on the latest Cannon Automata development, using a touch screen to “tap” easily the individual waypoints of the new pouring pattern, adding extra functions (head open, close, formulation changes etc.) where and when needed, directly from a command line on the screen. This method eliminates robot’s joysticks and programming consoles, allows for faster teaching using non skilled operators, it’s easy to modify in case of needs and improves the overall productivity of the plant.

A Race Against Time

The delivery of the equipment, considering the complication deriving from the second lot of supply, was performed rapidly by Cannon Afros in Italy and by Shinnon in China. The first lot was ready by July 2017, and the second one month later. Once again, the cooperation worked in favour of the client’s needs.