Riding on the current Industry 4.0 wave, the health foods contract developer and manufacturer will be investing on technologies such as AI and Internet of Things (IoT) in its Ma’anshan factory located in Anhui.
With it, the company expects to double its production capacity for some of the health foods.
For instance, it plans to hit an annual production capacity of 5bn gummies, over 150m bags of functional drinks and jellies by the end of next year.
The company started producing gummies in that factory in Oct 2018, followed by functional drinks in March this year.
Currently, the annual production capacity is 2.4bn gummies and 80m bags of functional drinks.
“The smart factory will significantly reduce the labour cost, improve the production efficiency, improve the quality, and shorten the manufacturing lead time, thus bringing about significant reduction of cost,” CSO Yang Rui said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.
On the other hand, it has started to manufacture powder products only three months ago. The expected annual production capacity is 34m bottles of powder.
Moving on, the plan is to build more powder lines to produce different volumes of powder. These include 40g bottled nutritional shake mix and bags of powder that weigh from 1g to 30g.
“What this technology also enables is enhanced deliverability for smaller production runs for partners – which something many nutra CDMOs would be unable to accommodate.
“It means we can better adapt and flexibly support smaller volumes of products and deliver them expeditiously to customers – or alternatively quickly scale up,” Yang added.
Automation and “intelligentisation”
Other technologies, such as automatic online detection, diagnosis and analysis of product quality will be utilised at the factory as well.
In terms of raw materials supply, the factory will be using smart technology to record production management, warehousing and logistics, as well as real-time product information.
The company said such measures will improve the level of product quality, promote safe production and green development.
“The intelligent factory can improve the overall production efficiency, reduce the manufacturing cost and realize the production mode of ‘lean, standardization, automation, digitization and intelligentisation’,” said Yang.