HONOR recently unveiled its proprietary technology behind the making of the high-end HONOR Magic 4 Pro smartphone. HONOR gave us and several other members of the media a closer look at its HONOR Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park in Shenzhen. During the interview, HONOR revealed its manufacturing capabilities and showed how it offers cutting-edge innovation.
Before you start, you might want to know more about the devices we’re going to talk about in this article. The HONOR Magic 4 and Magic 4 Pro were announced at MWC 2022. The Magic 4 Pro comes with some industry-first innovations such as 100W HONOR Wireless Supercharge technology which can wirelessly charge the device to 50% in only 15 minutes.
The opening of the HONOR Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park was an important milestone for the company, and HONOR CEO George Zhao said:
“The opening of the HONOR Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park last year was an important milestone in our success in integrating our R&D capabilities into our manufacturing processes. The consolidation allows us to better exploit our expertise in both areas, […] “In addition to bolstering our manufacturing capabilities, the smart manufacturing facility houses world-class production, testing and quality control equipment that ensures our premium products meet the high expectations of our customers.”
R&D and Manufacturing
The HONOR Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park opened in September 2021, and it is the company’s first self-funded factory. The factory is equipped with “state-of-the-art” manufacturing and testing facilities, and it has all the tools, materials and other equipment needed to assemble the smartphones. The company also shared that 20% of its staff are assigned to work in R&D (Research and Development) to develop new technologies and equipment to manufacture devices.
The park is highly automated and digitized. Fun fact, HONOR shared that 75% of its production line is automated and fully self-contained to minimize the risk of human error. Moreover, more than 40% of automated production equipment is developed by HONOR itself. The company also said it has no plans to get rid of human workers. HONOR wants to “seek the most suitable combination with automated and human workers for the best quality”.
Regarding the numbers, HONOR did not reveal the number of people working in its fleet, but shared that 20% of employees are assigned to the R&D department and each production line has 24 people assigned to the production of smartphones.
The park is also home to several labs where HONOR runs more than 200 reliability tests on the HONOR Magic 4 Pro to ensure it meets high industry standards and HONOR’s strict expectations. Reliability testing includes friction testing, short-distance drop testing, durability testing, crushing and gentle pressure testing, high temperature, humidity, water testing and many more. others.
We also had the opportunity to ask HONOR directly how long it takes to manufacture a single HONOR Magic 4 Pro smartphone. HONOR revealed that there are more than 100 steps in the manufacturing process to produce a single unit, using the highly automated production line. On average, it takes about two days to complete a device.
Making the HONOR Magic 4 Pro also comes with a wide variety of challenges, and it’s not as simple as putting a device in the oven and taking it out two days later as a finished product. HONOR broke down the main culprits into three technical challenges.
- “The first is the multi-camera fusion photography test equipment that we need to develop for all focal ranges. The second is the AI privacy call function that requires high-precision editing. The other is for the Quad-Curved LTPO 3D display assembly.
- For instance. for multi-camera fusion technology, we need to make sure to provide the best imaging quality. That’s why we doubled the test equipment so we could calibrate two of the cameras and we can calibrate them 100%. Second, we have developed our automated testing system and technology to ensure results are consistent.
- Third, our test system can collect more than 300 kinds of parameters on the go using big data analysis. Then we can identify any deviations in real time and provide an alert, to ensure that the whole process is more accurate so consumers ultimately have the best experience with the image.
Sustainable and environmentally friendly materials
HONOR shared that it is aware of its carbon footprint and uses environmentally friendly materials to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The company said it was “always exploring new possibilities using new materials”.
- “For example, we use environmentally friendly packaging materials to ensure they are lightweight. They are small in size and they are environmentally friendly by using recyclable resources. For all Magic 3 and 4 packaging material, we have chosen to use sugarcane as the raw material for the tray, replacing conventional plastic trays, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Our chargers and cables use paper films instead of plastic films, which is not used by most of our competitors.
- And for all packaging material and manuals, we use soy ink to print, instead of traditional non-renewable petroleum-based ink, and we’ve reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 80 tons. .
Assembling the screen is also a difficult process, and it is one of the most expensive components of a modern smartphone. HONOR uses six-axis robotic arms and multiple high-precision cameras to mount the panel with a precision range of ±0.075mm, which produces products with a low manufacturing tolerance of 0.1mm.
What is the AI Privacy Appeal?
When listening to a phone call, the sound travels in all directions, making it impossible to have a private conversation when you are in public in a closed environment, such as an elevator, small room, or restaurant. This is where the AI Privacy Call comes in. It allows users to enable the feature, allowing the sound to focus on the owner’s ear in one direction. This reduces sound leakage, making it difficult for others nearby to listen in on calls and hear the person on the other end.
How it works?
To develop AI Privacy Call, HONOR created a dual-sound smart unit, which includes a bone conduction component using piezoelectric ceramics mounted directly on the screen. Due to the fragile display, it requires extreme precision, because even a small error could cost the whole panel, which is not cheap, to begin with. HONOR tells us that the R&D team completed the challenge in about three months. He created high-precision automated mounting equipment to mount the tool precisely and precisely. It uses optimized computer software and algorithms to achieve 0.01mm accuracy and 99.99% efficiency.
Computational ultra-fusion photography
HONOR also took more time to talk about the triple camera setup, including the Ultra-Fusion computational photography technology. The technology consists of using all the camera sensors simultaneously, merging the images to improve the final result. This allows the smaller sensor to capture more data, resulting in a higher quality image. It also prevents companies like HONOR from using larger sensors, which saves space for other essential components.
The new technology forced HONOR to double down on its camera calibration equipment. The new system offers many additional benefits, such as improved calibration and testing procedures. It uses improved artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver more detailed images throughout the supported focal range.
HONOR Magic 4 Pro
HONOR Magic 4 Pro is the company’s latest flagship smartphone. It comes with all the high-end specs, including Snapdragon 8 Gen1, 50MP triple camera, and 100W wired and wireless charging.