Hello community, and welcome back to our second volume of Inside Made in China. For those of you who are new to this series, it is all about how things are “Made in China”. We’re curating series posts to tour you around online to local factories in Dongguan, where sits our new Chaihuo x.factory Dongguan. We regard it as an interface for the global maker community to the local manufacturing system, with the aim to open up the local manufacturing resources to the global maker community, lower the manufacturing barrier and help you to gain a better understanding of the local manufacturing ecosystem.
Last time, we toured you guys around to a woodworking factory, but this time we are very pleased to host the first offline factory tour with our one and only Mitch Altman and his Hacker Trip To China (HTTC) group.
On November 18th, the annual Hacker Trip to China (HTTC), organised by Mitch Altman, our friends from the maker community as well as the founder of Noisebridge once again came to the Silicon of Valley, Shenzhen. In the each of the past years, Mitch will take the members from HTTC group to different cities in China to learn about the local manufacturing ecosystem.
In order to explore to the root of manufacturing in depth, we have help tailor two factory tour routes for the HTTC group, traveling with 15 makers from different countries visited numerous factories between Shenzhen and Dongguan. From the seeing the heart of making ‘Open Source hardware’ to Large-scale injection moulding to electronic devices and other aspects to see the fascinating manufacturing ecosystem of the South of China.
Seeed Studio: Agile Manufacturing Center
How Open Source Hardware modules are manufactured
The most frequently used or even the living heart of the makers’ project is the open source hardware modules. So, for our HTTC group to understand the Open Source hardware modules in-depth, Seeed’s AMC has undoubtedly become the first stop of this factory high tour.
Zhang Peng, the Engineering Manager of Seeed has hosted our visit, who introduced the complete cycle of manufacturing Open Source hardware modules from schematics design, PCBA production, quality control and inspections, packaging and to the final warehousing, giving us an insight into modules that we used in daily basis. Further, AMC’s other production line named Cell0 drew attentions to the HTTC group. Cell0 is the production line that undertakes Seeed’s Fusion Prototyping service online, where it focus on small batch production of PCBA, CNC processing and 3D printing proofing to provide agile manufacturing service for global makers.
From the initial module users behind the desk to witnessing the products’ cycle from designing to packaging is a whole new experience for some of us!
Behind the scenes: CNC machining, Mold opening process and integrated molding
Strongd Molding is a typical large-scale manufacturing representative, with over 6 years of history, mainly focusing on CNC and molding production. Its strength is arge-scale production for plastic mold and CNC hand model, and has cooperated with ZTE, Skyworth and other large enterprises. The entire factory is located in a science and technology park, Baoan District, Shenzhen.
With Strongd Molding’s President Wade and Business Manager Tony’s host, we visited some of the key manufacturing processes including plastic mold opening, injection molding, surface treatment, painting, assembly, and etc.
HTTC fellas are extremely interested in the details of these manufacturing processes and they have asked tons of questions.
HTTC makers are always particularly curious about PCB manufacturing, so we thought it might be a good shot to arrange an another PCB manufacturing factory on the route to treat our makers to witness how their self-designed PCBs are made.
After visiting factories in technology-related fields, we have also arranged more of a traditional factory to see – ADA Footwear. Compared to large automatic machines running as the main scenery in tech factories, the prototyping relys more on the experienced workers.
During the tour, Ms. Chen from ADA Footwear introduced us complete steps for the shoe prototyping from graphic design to material selection to the product production.
Hoverboard’s manufacturing Center
Pushp Bajaj, a member of the HTTC group, who is also a big fan of unicycle introduced the Kingsong unicycle of different sizes and function to us. With the development of technology, it showcased a new way of traveling with the use of the hoverboard and balancing skills.
The Precision CNC structures
Since ordinary CNC cannot grind certain specified angles, HTTC fellas are surprised to witness the different precision requirements of the molds manufactured by CNC Electro-discharge machining. Mr. Jiang, the Business Manager of Hecheng, also introduced us to the headlights they had made for Toyota.
The future of the Maker: Large electronic equipment manufacturers
The four-floor large-scale processing workshop and production lines in Aineng SMT gave most of us a buzz, where this could be the future of our makers. Felipe, a Brazilian test engineer from Aineng gave us a detailed walkthrough of different manufacturing production line.
→Final Stop: Chaihuo x.factory Dongguan←
After a whole day of busy factories high touring, we invited everyone to join a small party at the Chaihuo x.factory Dongguan as our final stop of the trip, allowing each of us to share what we experienced throughout the day as well as learning more about how us would help makers to connect with the manufacturing resources here in Dongguan.
This factory HI (Hardware Innovation) tour is a customised service provided by Chaihuo x.factory Dongguan and so if you have any factory visiting inquiries or you want to make use of innovation and manufacturing resources gathered by the x.factory community to transform your project from 0 to 1, Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org