The Factory of the Future will need speed, intelligence and flexibility – and that’s exactly what 5G comms will deliver.
When 5G rolls out in the next year or two, we believe it will disrupt the way you manufacture. It may even change the way you build factories.
We’ve been putting that theory to the test. At the European Digital Summit in Tallinn last fall, we worked with Nokia to demonstrate how 5G mobile technology can be applied to manufacturing. We especially looked at the contribution it will make to the Factory of the Future – to the factory that you want to have.
Imagine the possibilities…
Here are some of the applications we expect to see coming your way. Some of them may even be implemented this year:
- Machine-to-machine interactivity will depend on 5G and will be an important element of increased distributed intelligence on the factory floor. Smart equipment will be able to communicate with other related parts of the process and improve your processes overall.
- Closed-loop control systems that need to work reliably and in real time can operate within their designated slice of the local 5G network, without creating any comms interference with other equipment you have nearby.
- Wireless sensors on process machinery will be able to monitor not just operating temperature but vibration and sound, triggering an alert if anything falls outside your set margins.
- Autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) are more viable with 5G. They’ll use cloud-based intelligence to deliver materials within your factory as and when they’re needed. They’ll even be able to synchronize with one another to share large loads.
- Augmented reality (AR) can bring greater insight to people in production. For instance, your workers can wear AR glasses, and will see real-time information layered on top of the equipment in front of them so they can check its status. If there’s a problem, their viewpoint could be streamed over 5G to a remote expert who can annotate the image, perhaps pointing to a meter that needs to be checked.
These possibilities are so exciting, it’s no wonder everyone is working together to make it happen. Here at Bosch Rexroth, we’re among many manufacturing equipment organizations, technology companies, telecoms providers, academia and national governments who see the potential of 5G – and who are collaborating to change the face of your future.
Advantages of 5G
- 5G is anything up to ten times faster than the speeds we have now
- It’s high-performance, it can work in real time, and it sets high reliability standards
- It’s set up to deliver the machine-type communication manufacturing needs
- Wireless connectivity reduces expense and physical maintenance, and also removes the trip hazards you can get with cabling
- Dedicated high-frequency wavebands reduce the chances of signal interference between systems
- 5G enables network slicing, which in turn makes it possible to build application-specific virtual networks
- It may arrive with an integrated localization solution that avoids the need for separate solutions
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