McKinsey: Five ways 5G can revolutionise manufacturing
Cloud control of machines - For years, factory automation has required programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that were physically installed on the machines they controlled and hard-wired into computer networks to ensure precise, reliable control under extreme conditions. If 5G consistently meets its performance promises, the PLC could be virtualised in the cloud, enabling machines to be controlled wirelessly and in real time at a fraction of the current cost.
Augmented reality - Factory workers are used to performing complex maintenance and control tasks that are often guided by standard operating procedures in paper manuals, videos or even augmented reality. But instructions streamed over 4G networks can be unreliable due to bandwidth constraints and fail to deliver the required level of quality without stuttering. 5G promises to not only stream high-quality instructions on the shop floor, but also stutter-free augmented reality that can help guide people, step by step, through each individual motion they need to make.
Perceptive AI eyes on the factory floor - Cameras are already common in modern factories to monitor processes and security. However, their issue is limited to focused applications and regularly requires workers to monitor video feeds. 5G will allow the streaming of data in real time to the cloud and the use of live video analytics. For example, if a security camera observes a disturbance, it can identify if there is immediate threat or danger and dispatch a drone or alter a worker to investigate.
High speed decisioning - The best-run factories rely on vast data pools to make decisions, with inevitable delays as data is collected, cleaned and analysed. 5G accelerates the decision-cycle time and allows large amounts of data to be ingested, processed and actioned in near real time. In several heavy industries, manufacturers have been able to sell excess energy back to the grid when machines aren’t running and prices are favourable.
Shop floor IoT - The introduction of sensors to multiple machines means factories are creating more data than ever before. Transmission through wired networks is expensive to scale and WiFi networks can quickly get congested. 5G has the ability to support high connection density with tens of thousands of endpoints, thereby truly enabling the use of industrial data at scale.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.