May 6, 2021

5G SMART: ‘manufacturing a more connected industry’ with 5G

Georgia Wilson
3 min
5G SMART logo | Smart Manufacturing | Technology | Connectivity | Digital Factory | Connected Factory | Factory of the Future
Manufacturing Global takes a closer look at Ericsson's research collaboration consortium for 5G in manufacturing...

While it can be said that the manufacturing industry has gone through several disruptive changes over the years, Industry 4.0 is one like no other. 

The adoption of digital technologies is blurring the line between the physical and digital world. It has become clear that there is a strong need for digital transformation in order to achieve the next level of efficiency, connectivity and flexibility needed in manufacturing to weather modern day disruptions, risks, and fluctuating demands. 5G SMART believes that 5G will be a key enabler for manufacturers to make this vision a reality.

“Today [the] smart manufacturing sector is undergoing a digital transformation addressing the challenge of reducing manual processes and [increasing] efficiency. 5G is foreseen as [a] key enabler for the future manufacturing ecosystem termed Industry 4.0,” says 5G SMART. 

Understanding Industry 4.0 and 5G role in the transformation

With the fourth industrial revolution underway, its core objectives are to make “highly efficient, connected and flexible factories-of-the-future.” 

In order for manufacturers to achieve this vision of improving production efficiency with more customisable products, production lines need a higher level of integration and dynamic flexibility, while continuing to deliver safety and quality. 

“For this, future manufacturing systems will require the implementation of a reliable communication system capable of handling several orders of magnitude the number of resources, diverse [types] of information and reaction times,” says 5G SMART.

“The integration of 5G technologies in the manufacturing ecosystem has great potential to accelerate the ongoing digital transformation of the manufacturing industry at all levels, i.e. large industries and SMEs. [...] The ongoing transformation targets disruptive changes in the shop-floor automation, product design and life cycle as well as the business relationship among different involved stakeholders.”

5G adoption challenges to overcome

While 5G offers many benefits to manufacturers there will be challenges to overcome along the way:

  • Clarifying roles and interdependencies as new business relationships emerge
  • Integrating 5G into current manufacturing processes
  • Identifying effective use cases of 5G 
  • Validating 5G’s performance against required KPIs

“Understanding the value that 5G can bring to the manufacturing industry is the ultimate challenge to make digital transformation a reality by letting the different [stakeholders] embrace their roles and maximise the value created in the new manufacturing ecosystem,” says 5G SMART.

 5G SMART’s core focus, partners and trials

Focused on exploring how 5G can create value for the manufacturing industry, 5G SMART aims to investigate novel use cases, business roles and business models for providing 5G connectivity to the manufacturing industry.

Partners of the consortium

Ericsson, ABB AB, Budapesti Muszaki es Gazdasagtudomanyi Egyetem, Cumucore, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Lund University, Artis Marposs, Marposs, Orange, Bosch, T-Systems, u-blox, and Universitat Politècnica de València.

5G SMART trials

5G SMART is conducting three industrial field trials to demonstrate, validate, and evaluate the potential and value of 5G for smart manufacturing in real manufacturing environments. 

Not only is 5G SMART trialing the most advanced 5G integrated applications (digital twins, industrial robotics and machine vision based remote operations), but the consortium is also undertaking “the first ever evaluation of ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC), channel measurements and co-existence between public and private industrial networks in real manufacturing environments easing the integration of 5G.”

To accelerate the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing industry, 5G SMART is also exploring the roles of mobile network operations and new business models, developing future 5G standards for the manufacturing sector.

For more information on 5G SMART, click here.

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May 10, 2021

Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Sustainable Manufacturing | Gigafactory | Electric Vehicles | EVs | Tesla | Smart Manufacturing | Automotive Manufacturing | Technology
A brief timeline of Tesla’s Gigafactory construction progress over the years, furthering its efforts in sustainable energy and electric vehicles...

Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy

Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too. 

"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "

Tesla Gigafactories

In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).  

By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."

2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction

Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.

2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening

Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year. 

2017: Giga New York begins production

Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.

2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time

In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.

2019: Giga Berlin begins construction

Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.

2020: Giga Texas begins construction

The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.

2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction

Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.

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