Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Hong Chiang Technology is a specialist in automated restaurant equipment development and manufacture. The company serves domestic food and beverage chains, and its main products include food delivery carts, rotating sushi systems, hot pots, other types of food delivery bar counters and commercial display counters.
Hong Chiang Technology Industry Co. (Hong Chiang) specializes in automated restaurant equipment development and manufacturing for the food and beverage industry. Its main products include food delivery carts, rotating sushi systems, hot pots and other types of food service bar counters, as well as commercial display counters. Depending on the customer’s site specifications or requirements, the company develops customized subsystems for automated food delivery using electromagnetic suspension tracks.
To enhance its market competitiveness, Hong Chiang developed the Shinkansen line of food delivery systems, named for Japan’s shinkansen bullet trains. These innovative trains bring express delivery to the table, and can deliver sushi orders (or any other dish) directly to customers on conveyors and automatically return to the kitchen. The trains incorporate Bluetooth and infrared technologies as well as wireless charging. The precise delivery is fast, and offers restaurant owners the benefits of higher table turnover and lower wait staff costs, and they eliminate the accidents and mistakes of manual delivery. Shinkansen food delivery systems include an upper rail, drive mechanism, drive motor, lower belt conveyor, pallet and a visually appealing model vehicle that “pulls” the train.
Hong Chiang uses Solid Edge® software from Siemens Digital Industries Software to design its products more efficiently. “Industry 4.0 requires automated production,” says Donny Lo, general manager, Hong Chiang. “Dining and beverage equipment development will also follow this step by making improvements. Our previous design software could not meet the requirements for developing more complex designs. But after evaluation, we decided to adopt Solid Edge.
Donny said a major reason Hong Chiang selected Solid Edge over competing computer-aided design (CAD) software was because of its synchronous modeling capability. “Compared with other types of advanced CAD software, with Solid Edge our designers can stretch structures in the assembly, so it is very convenient,” says Donny. “The price point is favorable and all the capabilities we need are included in this solution, so we do not need to purchase other software solutions.”
Hong Chiang originally envisioned a design approach that directly inputs the 2D site drawing of a customer’s store, using the layout to place 3D models of food delivery system components, and modifying dimensions based on site conditions and moving lines, then producing design draw-ings. After actual use, designers discovered that modifying designs could be more efficient with a 3D part model library.
Since 2017, Hong Chiang has built a sizable 3D parts library. Through modeling trials, Hong Chiang’s primary goal is to make 3D design faster than 2D.
While familiarizing themselves with Solid Edge, the Hong Chiang design team mastered more capabilities of the software, including many time-saving tools. One major boost in efficiency is synchronous modeling. “To change a part now, we do not need to search through the part modeling history,” says Deng Honghui, design engineer, Hong Chiang. “Instead, we can directly modify the part using synchronous technology. This alone saves one-third of the time.”
Deng also mentioned that Solid Edge supports plug-in rendering software and can produce photorealistic renderings of the Shinkansen model vehicles, which is convenient and efficient. In addition, designs can be animated for customer presentations.
“Now, a user only needs to pull the bill of materials from the engineering drawings in Solid Edge to calculate the total material usage of the design,” says Meng Jie, design engineer, Hong Chiang. “The benefit is that it saves a lot of time spent on manual calculation while significantly reducing errors.”
Short delivery times are common for Hong Chiang. The company is typically asked to customize all of the models of a rotary sushi or Shinkansen system, assemble them in a new store, test the system and enable the customer to open the store for business in 20 to 30 days.
"No two rotary sushi systems are identical,” says Donny. “They must make the most efficient food delivery arrangement based on the store’s seating layout (single-seat or multi-seat tables), moving line design, and the locations of desktop faucets and pallets. Solid Edge enables us to quickly handle design changes and assist customers in a timely fashion.”
The model vehicles that pull the trains to deliver food orders to customers are electromechanical configurations, but are also intended to be aesthetically designed. Donny personally handles the aesthetics.
Solid Edge helps Hong Chiang to quickly implement customers’ design requests. With the advanced freeform modeling tools of Solid Edge the company has significantly reduced the time required to modify the Shinkansen model vehicle, which formerly required four to five days.
Because restaurant users are highly dependent on automated food delivery systems, when a failure occurs, the business grinds to a halt. As a result, Hong Chiang commits to a two-hour response time to repair failures and minimize the loss of business from system down time. To service the chain sushi restaurants in all major cities, Hong Chiang stations maintenance workers nearby to provide timely maintenance and repair services. In addition to Taiwan, Shinkansen food delivery system users can be found in the U.S., Dubai, Hong Kong, Italy and Thailand.
In addition to normal temperature food delivery systems, Hong Chiang has also developed a new-generation food preservation system by adding smart technologies to the automated food delivery system. Several Hong Chiang customers have adopted this system since its introduction.
This system controls food freshness within 2 to 4 degrees Celsius, and displays the temperature through the radio frequency identification (RFID) sensor for plates exceeding the default temperature. The system automatically notifies store personnel to remove the food to avoid contamination or customer illness. This automated control system not only ensures food freshness, but also enables stores to control the steps of food preparation and delivery, and to more efficiently determine food usage.
The freshness preservation system is the first Hong Chiang product that integrates software and hardware, and reflects a transformation of traditional manufacturing using software technology to improve the value of products. Donny calls this trend Dining and Beverage 4.0, where the customer arrives at the store, orders food, and then the kitchen prepares the food and delivers it to the customer − all under computer control.“
For a Shinkansen system, foods can be delivered within three minutes after being ordered and a group of customers can usually finish dining and leave in 20 minutes,” Donny says. “In other words, the more efficient the food delivery is, the higher the table turnover rate will be. The kitchen is transformed into a production line and delivers foods 100 percent in accordance with orders. What’s more, store operators also can determine from data which dishes sell best at select times during business hours.
”Through its deep understanding of the latest dining industry trends, Hong Chiang can fully control its product development pace. Donny estimates that after design engineers become fully comfortable with Solid Edge’s basic functions, the company will introduce surface design tools and other advanced applications to take further advantage of the software’s capabilities.