Manufacturing Global takes a closer look at Ericsson’s research collaboration consortium for 5G in manufacturing…
While it can be said that the manufacturing industry has gone through several disruptive changes over the years, Industry 4.0 is one like no other.
The adoption of digital technologies is blurring the line between the physical and digital world. It has become clear that there is a strong need for digital transformation in order to achieve the next level of efficiency, connectivity and flexibility needed in manufacturing to weather modern day disruptions, risks, and fluctuating demands. 5G SMART believes that 5G will be a key enabler for manufacturers to make this vision a reality.
“Today [the] smart manufacturing sector is undergoing a digital transformation addressing the challenge of reducing manual processes and [increasing] efficiency. 5G is foreseen as [a] key enabler for the future manufacturing ecosystem termed Industry 4.0,” says 5G SMART.
Understanding Industry 4.0 and 5G role in the transformation
With the fourth industrial revolution underway, its core objectives are to make “highly efficient, connected and flexible factories-of-the-future.”
In order for manufacturers to achieve this vision of improving production efficiency with more customisable products, production lines need a higher level of integration and dynamic flexibility, while continuing to deliver safety and quality.
“For this, future manufacturing systems will require the implementation of a reliable communication system capable of handling several orders of magnitude the number of resources, diverse [types] of information and reaction times,” says 5G SMART.
“The integration of 5G technologies in the manufacturing ecosystem has great potential to accelerate the ongoing digital transformation of the manufacturing industry at all levels, i.e. large industries and SMEs. […] The ongoing transformation targets disruptive changes in the shop-floor automation, product design and life cycle as well as the business relationship among different involved stakeholders.”
5G adoption challenges to overcome
While 5G offers many benefits to manufacturers there will be challenges to overcome along the way:
- Clarifying roles and interdependencies as new business relationships emerge
- Integrating 5G into current manufacturing processes
- Identifying effective use cases of 5G
- Validating 5G’s performance against required KPIs
“Understanding the value that 5G can bring to the manufacturing industry is the ultimate challenge to make digital transformation a reality by letting the different [stakeholders] embrace their roles and maximise the value created in the new manufacturing ecosystem,” says 5G SMART.
5G SMART’s core focus, partners and trials
Focused on exploring how 5G can create value for the manufacturing industry, 5G SMART aims to investigate novel use cases, business roles and business models for providing 5G connectivity to the manufacturing industry.
Partners of the consortium
Ericsson, ABB AB, Budapesti Muszaki es Gazdasagtudomanyi Egyetem, Cumucore, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Lund University, Artis Marposs, Marposs, Orange, Bosch, T-Systems, u-blox, and Universitat Politècnica de València.
5G SMART trials
5G SMART is conducting three industrial field trials to demonstrate, validate, and evaluate the potential and value of 5G for smart manufacturing in real manufacturing environments.
Not only is 5G SMART trialing the most advanced 5G integrated applications (digital twins, industrial robotics and machine vision based remote operations), but the consortium is also undertaking “the first ever evaluation of ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC), channel measurements and co-existence between public and private industrial networks in real manufacturing environments easing the integration of 5G.”
To accelerate the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing industry, 5G SMART is also exploring the roles of mobile network operations and new business models, developing future 5G standards for the manufacturing sector.