LG plans ‘smart,’ AI-powered plant in South Korea that will boast capacity 50%

LG Electronics is building a 600 billion won ($525 million) factory in South Korea equipped with artificial intelligence and “internet of things” technology.

The structure, with a floor space of 336,000 sq. meters, is to be completed in 2023 to replace an adjacent existing factory in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, the appliance and device manufacturer announced Wednesday.

The plans call for a single system to efficiently manage all the steps from parts procurement and production to quality inspection and product shipment. Artificial intelligence will automatically control the manufacturing process from production planning to operation of equipment, cutting time between each step, LG said.

The existing factory produces refrigerators, ovens and other kitchen systems across six different buildings. A simple expansion of it would not be enough to beat the growing competition from China, LG has determined, so it will build a new plant and install new production lines. Output capacity will increase to 3 million units a year in 2023 from 2 million at present. Production capabilities will be gradually shifted to the new site starting in 2021.

“The smart factory will become the flagship base for high-end appliances ready to serve the global market,” said an LG executive. The plant will also feature green technologies such as a photovoltaic solar system and rechargeable batteries for reduced emissions.

LG Electronics is the world’s fourth-largest producer of both refrigerators and washing machines, commanding respective market shares of 6.7% and 7.9%, according to British research company Euromonitor International.

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