2020.3.12 - AIPAK

Early of 2020, a novel coronavirus infection epidemic has touched the hearts of millions of people,it is a war epidemic without smoke.Masks have been special purchases for the Spring Festival,and mask making machine is undoubtedly the starting point of this year's automation industry.

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                Non Woven Face Mask Making Machine-Photo Credits:Khandhala Enterprise

These two days, more and more news in Wechat shows that the manufacturers of mask stopped receiving orders, including many manufacturers in Dongguan.

Looking back, in the “great leap forward” of mask production, the automation industry is terribly busy, increasing the business of mask machine production. The demand and sales information about face masks in the Wechat is one after another. Overnight, both automatic enterprises seem to have started to produce face masks.

Some people think that the production of masks under the epidemic situation shows us the future of intelligent manufacturing, which is what intelligent manufacturing should look like; others say that the epidemic situation is like a mirror reflecting a "villain" who disrupts the market.

The market is still frenzied, but it will eventually become rational and calm. Who can see their own advantages rationally as soon as possible, and do what they can, who may be able to grasp the next turning point of rising against the trend.

Then why the mask making machine has become the starting point of this year's automation industry?

  • Price chaos

The production of mask making machine, to a large extent, is the behavior caused by the "bottom-up natural production order" of the market. It is encouraged and guided by the government, connected by value, adjusted by price, and driven by profit.

According to the industrial and commercial registration change information on Tianyan inspection, from January 1 to February 7 this year, more than 3000 enterprises in the country added "masks, protective clothing, disinfectants, thermometers, medical devices" and other businesses. Including Sinopec, BYD, Shanghai GM Wuling, Foxconn and other large companies, as well as related textile products, health products manufacturers red beans, three guns, daddy baby, etc.

The mask production lines of various regions and companies have been put into production in an emergency, which has brought about a rise in demand for key raw materials. The supply of upstream parts is tight, and the price rises accordingly. The production price of emergency goods transfer is even higher.

According to the hightech robot, ultrasonic power supply, transducer and welding head are called the three major parts of mask making machine. Due to the shortage of piezoelectric ceramics, the price of transducer has increased accordingly; the price of some ultrasonic welding parts is even seven times higher than usual, and the price of aluminum profiles has also increased substantially.

According to the insiders, according to the different production speed (one-to-one / one- to-two) and type (semi-automatic / full-automatic), the original price of the mask machine varies from 100000 to 300000.

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The survey shows, the highest stock price was 1.2 million a few days ago, and it is almost impossible to have one now, and the used machine on the market is basically out of stock. In half a month, the price of the mask machine is close to one million, with a 25 day delivery period of 450000. Most manufacturers have a delivery period of about 6-8 weeks, and the price of 60 day delivery has been raised to about 400000. The price of full-automatic mask machine is about 300000 yuan when it is scheduled to be delivered 80 days later.

On February 20, there was a real online joke: 300000 don't buy, 400000 wait and see, 500000 start asking for price, and 600000 should be snapped up in a few days.

What's hateful is that there are a lot of second dealers who take advantage of the time to make money. They are called "villains" in Jianghu. They sell some equipments from unknown sources with other family's propaganda maps, and the price is still very high. Even some suppliers boast about the delivery time even if they haven't found them.

However, most of the mask making manufacturers are really forced to do so. After all, the rising tide is also a normal market behavior. At this time, the rational manufacturers will choose to "accept once earned", and serve the existing customers well.

  • Jam in the supply chain

How short is the supply chain that leads to the price skyrocketing?

For example, the polypropylene raw materials used for the non-woven fabric of face mask may come from Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co., Ltd. in Zhejiang Province,these raw materials are processed into melt blown non-woven fabric in Shandong Province, and the intermediate products are transported to Henan Province. The nose beam strip, ear sling and adhesive are introduced to the local and other parts of the country to finally make the face mask. In fact, this is a standard modular product.

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Further considering the production equipment, the mask machine involves material processing, electrical control, pneumatic components and other "secondary raw materials", such as gear, sprocket, synchronous pulley, ultrasonic controller, transducer, digital control circuit, etc. Henan's equipment is likely to come from Dongguan, Guangdong, where mask machines are manufactured. It is likely to purchase ultrasonic welding equipment from Suzhou, automatic packaging equipment from Shanghai, and relevant disinfection equipment and raw materials from other places.

Many twists and turns, involving dozens of large and small industrial chains, after hundreds of thousands of kilometers of logistics process, a small mask was born.

When your supply chain is not hard enough, the mask making machine can not be produced, and it is difficult to deliver on time. The head of the enterprise who has been immersed in the automation industry for many years said directly that the pressure on the delivery of the mask machine is 100 times higher than that of the general industrial equipment.

  • Class 1000 cleaning requirement

It is understood that the production of masks is not only a problem of equipment, but also a strict clean requirement on the production environment. Medical masks belong to the second category of medical devices, which can only be produced if they have the production qualification of medical devices. Although the country has opened green channel for the application in this special period, it is difficult for ordinary small factories to obtain the corresponding production qualification.

A mask production industry practitioner said that the main initial cost of mask production is dust-free sterile workshop and license. In general, the price of local enterprises is difficult to compete with the production place of Henan, Shandong and Jiangxi, where the production volume is larger and the cost of raw materials is lower. Therefore, local manufacturers all over the country have no orders, no orders, no money to earn, no production.

Without grade 10000 cleaning room, the mask can not be used directly. It needs to go through various disinfection procedures, such as disinfection with ethylene oxide and standing for 7 to half a month, to become a qualified and safe medical mask that can isolate the virus.mask making machine.jpg

Workers make masks at a factory in Zhangpu County, southeast China's Fujian Province. Photo Credits: Xinhua

It is obvious that the construction of new plants or the renovation of existing plants with clean technology can not meet the current time requirements.

Facing the epidemic, after the rapid launch of the full-automatic one-to-two mask making machine, tostar and Yuanrong intelligent have further designed a special clean shed for mask production in the near future, which can build a "mini" mask factory one day.

Combined with the rich experience of designing and implementing clean Engineering for large enterprises, the clean workshop can be remodeled, and a special clean shed for mask production can be designed. The standard modular assembly can meet the expansion demand, and the cleanliness can be upgraded to 10000. With a fully automatic one-to-two mask production line, the assembly can be completed in one day with only two people.

Therefore, in fact, there are many processes between "production" and "use" to reach the standard, and the clean room is one of the key links.

As for the above three reasons ,then how to release the "rolling torrent"?

According to industry estimates, 200 million masks are produced every day, and nearly 2000 standard mask making machines are needed to maintain normal production every day, added with the spare and inventory machines, the market capacity of masks is estimated to be about 3000 optimistically. If all the 500 enterprises in the Pearl River Delta claiming to be in operation, on average, there will be less than 10 orders for each of them.

But it's amazing that there are ten thousand masks in production! Although we need to consider the rate of grain production, foreign market factors, and future strategic reserve factors, is there really such a large demand? Some insiders predict that a third of the equipment will be idle before unpacking. I can't imagine how heroic the scene is.

On February 25, at the hearing of the U.S. Secretary of health, Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of health, responded: at present, the strategic reserve is only 30 million masks, but the demand of masks for medical staff is 300 million, so it needs to ask Congress for funds to purchase materials. Li Guangxin, general manager of Ehua Road, joked that it seems that the torrent of Chinese mask making machines has found an outlet.

After the epidemic, when the mask is no longer in short supply, how to go about the business line is to go back to the original industry and continue to work? Or take this as an opportunity to develop new application industries? Where is the core competitiveness? This is the problem that every robot and intelligent manufacturing enterprise should think rationally and calmly. "Do not do business" should be enough, good customer service is the right way. 

As I wind up,I would like to take the five insights of general manager of orange automation as the ending-mask making machine let me see what the intelligent manufacturing industry should look like.

1. National standardization, a set of drawings, convenient for mass production, deep integration of supply chain to achieve rapid delivery;

2. Cash transaction of the whole industry chain, objective benefits, healthy development of the industry, and happy fusion;

3. Treat your suppliers well. They decide how much you can produce and how large you can make;

4. Sell goods on Wechat, customers do not bargain, do not bid, do not compare three goods;

5. Buying a machine can not only earn money, but also make an entrepreneur with a sense of equipment responsibility.

What a painful insight! 

Again, in case you want to share your experiences or have any insights: 

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