Top 10 digital factories: Ericsson
With more and m...
Following its recent entry in our Top 10 digital factories, we look at how Ericsson is driving lean manufacturing and smart production.
With more and more intelligent devices being moved into the cloud, in order to increase performance, cost efficiencies and flexibility, the requirements for advanced manufacturing calls for a fast, stable, secure and simple connectivity solution.
“Digital transformation of an industrial environment is only as strong as its underlying foundation, which is why choosing a secure, reliable cellular connectivity standard is essential,” says Ericsson.
“When you automate manufacturing, a dedicated 4G/5G network offers a smart, secure, wireless connectivity solution. By eliminating costly cabling, it enables easy reconfiguration of production lines for an agile factory.”
Flexible manufacturing allows organisations to meet customer demands, with the added benefit of cellular security for its data, device integrity and an open platform for applications and services.
“A private cellular network in the factory is the first step towards exploiting the value, efficiencies and gains of Industry 4.0 concepts and use cases,” adds Ericsson.
Image source: Ericsson
Improving the way connected devices connect
“One thing is certain: smart factories bring a new and complex set of requirements,” states Ericsson.
With an increasing number of automated devices, autonomous robots and autonomous guided vehicles on the floor, as well as the evolution of adaptive production to optimise workflow and efficiency, the need for reliable connectivity continues to increase.
“Cabling is a barrier to creating agile processes; installing new cables or moving existing ones is both expensive and time consuming. Removing the cables enables flexibility and can shave days or even weeks off of the time it takes to reconfigure a production line.”
As a result organisations face constraints when it comes to their connectivity solutions including: keeping machinery in a fixed spot or incur expensive cabling costs and extensive downtime to move them, working around dead spots in a wireless network, working within bandwidth constraints, latency fluctuations, finding security workarounds such as having a separate network for external suppliers to keep the corporate network secure and having a limited number of devices that can be on the network before reliability is compromised.
Ericsson Industry Connect
In order to help manufacturers combat these challenges ahead of them as the adoption of industry 4.0 continues to grow, Ericsson has developed a private cellular network - Ericsson Industry Connect - which is specifically designed for the industrial environment.
The network enables high device density, predictable latency and reliable coverage throughout the factory. “We’re moving from proof of concept to the reality of dozens of workers using connected devices all at once in bustling factory areas. The network must be able to handle this surge of demand without hesitation or bottlenecks,” says Ericsson.
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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.