Huawei and China Unicom drive 5G-Advanced production line

Huawei and China Unicom have deployed a commercial 5G-Advanced production line with Exquisite Automotive Systems for car manufacturer Great Wall Motor

The ‘factory of the future’ has become a reality for Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor with the deployment of a cutting-edge 5G-Advanced production line.

Powered by Huawei and China Unicom, the flexible production line features ultra-high reliability and ultra-low latency, and eliminates the need for wires.

Traditional factories rely on wired networks but these can be a point of failure – for robot arms, and other moving equipment – which cause an average of 60 hours of downtime a year.

Compared to wired networks, the 5G-Advanced (also known as 5.5G) solution facilitates easier network deployment and can better support flexible manufacturing. 

5G-Advanced networks also increase efficiency by integrating data collection (IT) and industrial control (OT) functions, which would have been separate in wired networks.

The system was deployed by the Baoding Automation Technology Branch of Exquisite Automotive Systems (EA) at Great Wall Motor's factory in Baoding, Hebei province. 

EA is a subsidiary of Great Wall Motor (GWM), has an annual turnover of more than CNY2 billion (US$280 million), and is responsible for the development of intelligent equipment and the design and integration of automated production lines for GWM. 

“Digitalisation is a must for the transformation and upgrade of manufacturing enterprises,” said Yuan Zhanjiang, Deputy General Manager of EA's Industry Intelligence Department.

“5G-Advanced features ultra-high reliability, low latency, and easy deployment. These features have been verified in EA's 5G-Advanced industrial Internet lab, and will soon start supporting our commercial production lines. 

“We will seize the opportunity presented by enterprise transformation and upgrade, and leverage digital technologies to continually improve our smart manufacturing capabilities, and contribute to the transformation and upgrade of GWM and the wider manufacturing industry.”

Industrial digital transformation is widely recognised as a new driver of economic growth. Digital operation capabilities have become imperative for manufacturing enterprises, while the adoption of flexible smart manufacturing continues to gather momentum. In line with this trend, China Unicom is accelerating the construction of digital infrastructure and deepening integrated innovation in digital technologies. 

Yuan Zhanjiang, Deputy General Manager of EA's Industry Intelligence Department

5G-Advanced driving digital manufacturing

“We are working with all industry partners to build a 5G-powered industrial Internet that will help enterprises address pain points during their transformations, and ultimately facilitate upgrades to smart manufacturing," said Fan Ji'an, Chief Big Data Scientist of China Unicom.

“Powered by 5G-Advanced, industrial applications are moving from auxiliary production to core production systems. We are seeing more typical 5G-Advanced applications appear in key scenarios, further driving the manufacturing industry to go digital.” 

Industry is actively promoting the development of 5G-Advanced as it recognises the opportunities provided by the technology. This next-generation of connectivity opens doors to applications and use cases that were simply not possible with 5G.

During the Global Mobile Broadband Forum held in the UAE, 13 global operators (including China Unicom) jointly launched the first wave of 5G-Advanced networks, marking the transition of 5G-Advanced from technical verification to commercial deployment. 

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