Customer stories

Making appliance manufacturing smarter

open this image in new window: Production Machinery Limited

Production Machinery Ltd (PML) is a supplier of “smart factory” solutions, primarily to the appliance manufacturing industry.

What do you do?

Production Machinery Ltd (PML) is a supplier of “smart factory” solutions, primarily to the appliance manufacturing industry. It’s part of the Haier Group, which includes Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

Since the company’s launch in 1985, PML’s focus has been on producing highly automated, special-purpose production line machinery for a range of industries. Recently the business has branched out to also offer a full range of factory solutions. These include plant layout, factory simulation, design-for-manufacture consulting, service, plant and production monitoring and management software, as well as the established production equipment.

How did you start?

The business had its genesis in Fisher & Paykel’s need for flexible manufacturing methods that would enable a single production line to build the entire range of any of its product categories. Unable to find a supplier able to achieve this during the 1970s, Fisher & Paykel had no option but to develop the technology and build the machinery itself.

In the early 1980s, the parent organisation established PML to share its expertise with other businesses, and has been designing and building machinery for manufacturers around the world ever since.

What’s different about PML?

PML describes itself as having strong strategic alignment with Industry 4.0 — the digital transformation of manufacturing technologies — and the Internet Plus visions and ideals to integrate the Internet with traditional industries.

Our strategy is to continually drive towards true smart factories.

John West, PML’s Industry 4.0 Technology Manager, says this alignment is demonstrated by the push to integrate these technologies into PML’s production equipment offerings. “Our strategy is to continually drive towards true smart factories — where it offers value to the customer,” he says.

“Callaghan Innovation has been a great partner by introducing us to New Zealand manufacturers that we can assist in the digital transformation of their businesses.”

Where are you going next?

“The next stage of our evolution is factory design. Instead of producing discrete equipment, we will work with manufacturing partners to produce total factory solutions,” says John. “Our parent company Haier has a philosophy of going from mass production to mass customisation; enabling every product to be made as a batch of one.”

The first of these new-direction products is PML’s manufacturing operations management software product called COSMOline. According to John, the software unlocks the full potential of production equipment by collecting, analysing and acting on efficiency, quality, maintenance and environmental data generated by the equipment. “It’s proving to be an exciting new addition to the business,” he says.

A Matter of Facts
Headquarters: Auckland
Staff: New Zealand:82 China:26
Markets: PML products are already installed in manufacturing facilities in New Zealand, China, the United States, Mexico, Italy and Thailand (both internally within the Haier Group and for external customers), and they are looking to expand into other countries.
Callaghan Innovation services

-Part of the Industry 4.0 International delegation to Hannover Messe in April 2017.
-Spillover effects as a subsidiary of Fisher & Paykel, which has received Growth and Student Experience grants.

Updated: 14 June 2022