Industry 4.0: 5G Accelerates Smart Factory Innovation

By Emily Cook
Industry 4.0 adopts the use of 5G technology to improve automation in manufacturing factories...

Smart factories utilise new technologies in order to create a cohesive ecosystem, adopting automation to impact operations, process, enterprise and supply chain. Often referred to as Industry 4.0, these smart factories optimise data management and artificial intelligence and stay connected with 5G. 

Optimising 5G

5G offers a much greater bandwidth and speed than any previous networks, and is therefore a catalyst to the new industrial revolution. Taking advantage of data, 5G has lower latency and allows for data to travel between 2 points at a much faster rate. 5G could potentially replace fixed, wired connections meaning that the manufacturing process can reach a higher level and speed of innovation. 

5G is a highly reliable network, meaning shorter start-to-finish times for “factory floor production reconfiguration, layout changes, and alterations” says Ericsson. One of the leading providers in the Information and Communication Technology sector. 

Smart Factory

Ericsson believes that manufacturing is one of the most important sectors for innovation and the industry digitization of 5G technology. In their recent study, The 5G Business Potential, the expected market in 2026 will be USD 113 billion, meaning a 7% growth from current service revenue forecasts. 

The latest technology is very advanced and is an enormous breakthrough for the manufacturing industry, allowing them to lower manual labour, speed up automation and produce lower costs. 

“Our fast and secure 5G connectivity enables the smart factory with agile operations and flexible production, utilizing industrial solutions such as automated warehouses, automated assembly, packing, product handling and autonomous carts,” says Erik Simonsson, head of the Ericsson USA 5G Smart Factory. 

The Connected Screwdriver

Ericsson has partnered with China Mobile to create what they’ve called the ‘Connected Screwdriver’, enabling automation by applying IoT Technology. The world’s first IoT-based trial took place in Nanjing, at Ericsson’s radio product manufacturing site.

The introduction of the connected screwdriver has completely made the need for handwritten logs and manual procedures redundant. There are approximately 1000 high-precision screwdrivers in the factory, fitted with real-time motion sensors. The sensors collect data and send them over the company’s cloud and back-end systems which optimises automation to produce intelligent calculations. This system cuts back the need for manual work by 50% and replaces it with automated solutions using data and 5G

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