Ericsson: a new generation of smart manufacturing
“The fourth in...
Manufacturing Global takes a closer look at Ericsson’s three smart factories for next generation innovation for smart manufacturing.
“The fourth industrial revolution has arrived, and it will transform manufacturing as we know it” - Ericsson.
Enabled by advanced wireless communication and industrial internet of things (IoT), the manufacturing industry is merging its operations information and communication technology with the help of industry 4.0.
In order to achieve this the sector is working to harness 5G to deliver low latency, high bandwidth and reliable communication to optimise its smart factories.
Ericsson is striving to accelerate the introduction of this next generation of smart manufacturing with its three factories in Sweden, Estonia and China, by developing and implementing the first 5G and industrial IoT systems within a real manufacturing environment for rapid maturity of these technologies.
The 5G factory
Located in Sweden Ericsson’s ‘5G factory’ is described as the perfect place for engineers and innovators to shape the future of manufacturing.
At this factory Ericsson not only produces test beds for 5G and ships them around the world, Ericsson’s 5G factory is also the ideal environment to trial new 5G and industrial IoT innovations in a real life production environment.
Within the factory, Ericsson has been trialing precise localisation technology, using low-power tags to transmit real-time location data to the cloud. This technology can enable true digital twins for traceability of inventory, reduction in loss of assets and improving end-to-end visibility.
The digital factory
In Estonia Ericsson’s digital factory is one of the region's largest employers. At the core of Estonia lies the spirit of technological innovation, which resonates within Ericsson’s digital factory.
As a result of an innovation driven workforce Ericsson’s production capabilities is empowered by a workforce looking to foster and introduce smart manufacturing technologies.
These technologies include cutting edge augmented reality troubleshooting solutions. By harnessing cellular connectivity almost every asset within the factory can be connected to manage and solve operational challenges.
The IoT factory
Ericsson’s third factory in China, harnesses the generated data from connecting the entire warehousing system with industrial IoT and NB IoT, to improve efficiency by tracking the use of tools, dispatching services and maintenance.
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IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.