Ericsson’s 5G smart factory recognised as global lighthouse
Recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a global front runner in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas has been identified as such for its deployment of next generation technology.
Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory is the first for the company to receive this recognition, the benefits the factory has experienced from adopting Industry 4.0 technology include:
- 120 per cent improved output per employee and 65 per cent reduction in manual material handling using connected robots
- 24 per cent reduction in energy consumption and a 75 per cent reduction in indoor water usage with integrated environmental systems
- Being powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity
“Running fully automated factories using the latest technologies is part of our strategy for a more resilient and sustainable global supply chain. It shows our commitment to continue working close to our customers, ultimately enabling us to reduce emissions. This World Economic Forum designation highlights the transformative impact of 5G technology in general – and on our factories in particular – to benefit business and society at large,” commented Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson.
“This is a time of unparalleled industry transformation. The future belongs to those companies willing to embrace disruption and capture new opportunities. Today’s disruptions, despite their challenges, are a powerful invitation to re-envision growth. The lighthouses are illuminating the future of manufacturing and the future of the industry,” added Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Advanced Manufacturing and Production, World Economic Forum.
Investments made by Ericsson into its 5G Smart Factory
Investing in next generation supply chains to create a customisable, sustainable and end-to-end connected supply chain around the world, Ericssion has invested over US$100mn in its first US 5G Smart Factory.
In addition to these investments, Ericsson is fast-tracking next generation smart manufacturing at its factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.
When it comes to sustainability, Ericsson supports the Paris Agreement which it believes can be achieved by harnessing digital technologies such as 5G and IoT to reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent by 2030.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.