Ericsson and Fraunhofer Institute collaborate on development of testing 5G communications technology to suit the Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0.
Whenever Industrie 4.0 is mentioned, the general assumption is that processing and evaluating large volumes of data are part of the equation. Although modern sensor systems can already collect extensive data within machines and equipment, in the majority of the cases, the analysis needed in order to optimise production is still decentralised and takes place in a delayed fashion. The switch to flexible, adaptive manufacturing processes therefore calls for fast, reliable and often wireless data transfer. The emerging 5G wireless standard is ideal for use in the production environment. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen and Ericsson, a Swedish wireless communications technology supplier plan to join forces to develop application scenarios for production and to test them in a real production environment.
5G for networked, adaptable production
With its ultra low latency of under one millisecond, high data rates of up to 10,000 megabits per second and the capability to run a multitude of devices simultaneously in a cell, 5G technology is particularly suitable for deployment in networked, adaptive production facilities with extensive measuring and control engineering. The reason for this is that running high-precision machine tools in complex production processes demands extremely high standards of communications, which must be stable and reliable. 5G technology will, for the first time, permit extensive use of wireless sensor connections for real time data analysis, ensuring adaptive control of production processes with short reaction times.
Ericsson has taken an important role in developing the 5G standard as well as 5G products. The first 5G New Radio (NR) specification was approved by the 5G Consortium which includes Ericsson at the “3GPP Plenary Meeting” held in December 2017 in Lisbon. In the “5G for Europe” initiative, Ericsson will focus on 5G research and innovation projects with partners from industry and science.
“Production and Industrie 4.0 are two key areas which stand to profit most from 5G technology”, declared Stefan Koetz, CEO Ericsson GmbH. “According to the latest edition of the Ericsson ‘The 5G Business Potential’ report, 5G-based digitisation is set to generate an additional revenue stream of approximately 11.5 billion Euro by 2026 for the ICT sector in Germany alone in these sectors – putting it in second place overall.”
At the Fraunhofer IPT 5G will be tested and developed further specifically for use in production. As part of the remit of the High Performance Centre for “Networked Adaptive Production”, the engineers in Aachen are planning extensive deployment of 5G technology for a diverse range of fields of application in which machines, production and communications systems as well as data bases are all interconnected.
The Initiative launched by the three Fraunhofer Institutes in Aachen will enable companies involved in developments at the High Performance Centre to manufacture sophisticated products either as single part or small batch orders more efficiently and more cost-effectively than was previously possible, by networking and digitalising their production.
The work carried out at the High Performance Centre and opportunities for companies to participate in the developments and preliminary examples of 5G deployment in production will be presented by Ericsson and the Fraunhofer IPT from 23 – 27 April 2018 at the Joint Fraunhofer booths, Halls 2 and 17 at the Hanover Fair.