Like most industries manufacturing has faced some unprecedented challenges over the last two years, from Brexit related border chaos to supply chain disruption, and of course the global pandemic. Therefore, in order to remain competitive, manufacturing firms have had to adapt and tweak their operations to ensure they are as efficient, productive and profitable as possible, while at the same time improving overall product quality – key to that of course is the journey towards digitalisation.
Exactly what the smart factory of the future will look like is still up for debate, however, what is certain is that emerging technologies will be at the forefront of an industry that is on the cusp of a dynamic shift. The adversity faced during the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the journey towards digitalisation for many manufactures and has involved implementing digital communications, file transfer systems and cloud-based servers. Therefore, connectivity solutions, and in particular 5G, will be crucial.
5G within a manufacturing environment offers high reliability, ultra-low latency and increased security, so is a potential game changer for manufacturers to make innovations such as autonomous/collaborative robots, AR, AI, digital twins and the IoT a reality. Furthermore, 5G has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions across industries. According to some, digital technologies, including 5G, could directly reduce fossil fuel emissions by 15% by 2030.
In a recent webinar, 5G and Manufacturing: Productivity & Efficiency, The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), in partnership with The Manufacturer, gathered manufacturers and key service providers to discuss the current landscape of 5G within manufacturing; the investment being made in technology by manufacturers and exactly how 5G can help meet the challenges of today.
Nicole Ballantyne, KTN, UK5G, comments: “5G networks provide unparalleled opportunities for manufacturers to adopt Industry 4.0 through the application of innovative technologies to drive transformational improvements across the whole value chain, bringing inclusive growth that benefits business, individuals in society as a whole.
The Made Smarter review identified growth opportunities of 1.5% to 3% per annum, and work underway with the Worcester 5G Testbed is already proving productivity gains of over 2% with more to come. The UK5G Manufacturing Working Group seeks to explore how the unique characteristics of 5G can be exploited to the benefit of high growth areas in manufacturing.”