Ericsson: 5G for Manufacturing
Ericsson is one of the leading providers in Information and Communication Technology to service providers. They utilise the latest state-of-the-art technology and services that are easy to use, adopt and scale to ensure their customers are fully connected always.
Ericsson is at the forefront of 5G technology and have recently achieved its 100th 5G commercial agreement contract with service providers across the globe. Spanning across 5 continents, the contract consists of 58 publicly announced contracts and 56 live 5G networks. The contract includes Radio Access Network (RAN) and Core network developments, enabled by products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System and Ericsson Cloud Core network portfolios.
Since 2018, swedish service provider Ericsson and luxury automobile manufacturers Audi have been testing the possiblity of 5G technology for application in smart factories, in Audi’s Production Lab. The technology supports factory automation over a wireless network achieving 5G Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC).
In January 2020, the partnership successfully tested the 5G URLLC capabilities with real-life automation application at Ericsson’s Factory Lab in Kista, Sweden. The demo showcased a robot similar to those used in Audi’s factories today, but fully optimising 5G technology. The arm robot is capable of building a steering wheel and in the demo video, it shows the highly-precised robot placing and removing the airbag.
The technology is highly reliable and if a factory worker reaches into the robot’s work area, it will be detected and instantly stopped meaning that workers can never be harmed by the robots. This sort of intelligent machine would not be capable of running using traditional Wi-Fi or even previous versions of mobile networks and now these systems can be wireless through the optimisation of 5G.
Manufacturing with 5G technologies opens up a plethora of opportunities to automate and streamline the production of products. 5G provides the exact characteristics essential for manufacturing. Low latency and high reliability are necessary for supporting critical applications. High bandwidth and connection density make for secure connectivity, All of these characteristics make for essential features needed as part of the future of manufacturing.
Manufacturing companies currently rely on wired network connections for these features, however 5G allows for higher frequency, lower cost and shorter lead times for factory layout changes and altercations.