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NEC and NEC Platforms introduce a production planning system for ICT equipment utilizing quantum computing technology at four NEC Platforms business sites

- 15% improvement in capacity utilization rate and 90% reduction in labor hours required for drafting production plans-

Tokyo, January 20, 2023 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) and NEC Platforms, Ltd., which manufactures much of the ICT equipment sold by NEC, will introduce a production planning system that utilizes quantum computing technology. From April of this year, the system will be introduced in the surface-mount-technology process (SMT process) for mounting electronic components on printed circuit boards at four NEC Platforms business sites in Japan (*).

This system is expected to improve the capacity utilization rate of production facilities by 15%, and reduce labor hours required for making production plans, which takes one to two hours every day, by 90%, thereby contributing to improved productivity and operational efficiency.

NEC Platforms manufactures as many as 30 products per day in a single SMT line. When a product is changed, it is necessary to "changeover" a set of several hundred different components and manufacturing conditions. Since the changeover is carried out by stopping the line, in order to maintain high productivity for orders that differ from day to day, it is necessary to shorten the time required for the changeover process and to improve the capacity utilization rate by producing goods in an efficient order.

However, when considering the production order of several SMT lines, it is necessary to consider a variety of points, such as minimizing the overlap in the changeover time between lines. Consequently, it takes a great deal of time to create a production plan, and there is a limited number of people who can formulate these plans efficiently.

Accordingly, NEC and NEC Platforms conducted tests in 2019 utilizing the NEC Vector Annealing Service, which provides ultra-high-speed processing of large-scale combination problems with quantum computing technologies.

As a results of the testing, it was possible to create a production plan equivalent to or higher than that of skilled workers in a few seconds. Now, a full-scale introduction of the system has been implemented in the SMT lines of four manufacturing sites.

By introducing this system and improving productivity, the companies will be able to respond quickly to diversifying needs in addition to improving operational efficiency.

Going forward, NEC will promote the use of quantum computing in order to further improve productivity at manufacturing sites and contribute to solving social issues.

NEC Platforms aims to introduce the system into its Thailand-based plant, which has an SMT line similar to the four business sites in Japan, and to expand into various processes and operations throughout the supply chain to maximize productivity and optimize inventory.


  • *
    Fukushima Plant, Shiroishi / Yonezawa Plant, Otsuki Plant and Kakegawa Plant
About NEC’s Quantum Computing Initiatives

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