Unlocking the potential of industrial digitalisation with 5G

Posted on 26 Jul 2021 by The Manufacturer

By utilising Ericsson 5G and IoT sensors, the Port of Livorno in Italy* is expected to realise annual cost savings of €2.5m, boost productivity by 25% and reduce its CO2 emissions by 8.2% per port terminal. The next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G will deliver significantly greater speeds, ultra-low latency and the capacity to handle huge increases in the number of connected devices — not to mention the removal of wires from the factory floor, allowing for increased production line flexibility.

To remain competitive, manufacturing firms have had to adapt over the years and tweak their operations to ensure they are as efficient, productive and profitable as possible, while at the same time improving overall product quality.   Advertisement

One of the ways manufacturers have strived to achieve the above has been through digital transformation, with an eye firmly on the ultimate goal of leveraging the benefits associated with Industry 4.0. 

5G is up to 100 times faster than 4G and has the potential to significantly reduce industrial carbon emissions

But many manufacturers’ digital transformation journeys haven’t always had the impetus they deserved and demanded. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, while it has caused significant disruption, has also presented numerous opportunities. Faced with adversity, many manufacturing firms had no choice but to accelerate their digital transformation aspirations. For many, this involved implementing digital communications, file transfer systems and cloud-based servers in place of local ones, all with the goal of facilitating seamless remote working. 

Having witnessed first-hand the many benefits of digitalising their operations, there is a good chance manufacturers will want to keep up the momentum and reap even more rewards. As firms look to capitalise further on the latest innovations and technologies, their focus will quickly turn to connectivity solutions and, in particular, 5G. 

Up to 100 times faster than 4G, with high reliability, ultra-low latency and increased security, 5G is a potential game changer for manufacturers that want to reap Industry 4.0 benefits. 

With 5G, manufacturers can take advantage of innovations such as autonomous/collaborative robots, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins and the Internet of Things (IoT) — all of which can boost competitiveness and propel firms into Industry 4.0. Indeed, a UK-based warehouse operator that adopts private cellular-enabled Industry 4.0 technologies could realise a 13% increase in gross profit margin and an operational cost saving of £156m over a 5-year period. 

Moreover, research shows that 5G has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions across industries. This will play an important role in helping the UK achieve its environmental targets, creating a greener future. 

According to the Exponential Climate Roadmap, digital technologies, including 5G, have the potential to directly reduce fossil fuel emissions by 15% by 2030. This revelation will help support greater sustainability in industries, including transport and logistics, buildings, manufacturing, mining, and food and agriculture.Advertisement

Ericsson-5G-digitilisation symposium. Image courtesy of Ericsson.

Some firms are already using 5G in anger (with fantastic results)

While many still think of 5G as an emerging technology — which is true to a certain extent — there are manufacturers that are already driving real value from it.  

Take Worcester Bosch, for example, best known for manufacturing domestic boilers.  

Using a 5G private network and mobile edge computing infrastructure provided by Ericsson and managed by BT, Worcester Bosch launched the UK’s first 5G factory. And they did this before the world had even heard of COVID-19. 

Worcester Bosch’s 5G factory, which is part of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed (W5G), uses 5G to run real-time machine sensors, allowing any potential problems on the production line to be addressed proactively before they happen. Furthermore, a network of collision detection sensors helps make the factory and its products significantly safer for both on-the-ground employees and consumers alike. 

What tangible results has Worcester Bosch realised from its 5G factory? Findings from the Worcester 5G project as a whole show that up to 2% efficiency gains can be possible through the adoption of 5G technology in manufacturing, equivalent to £2.6bn at the UK level. 

To help manufacturers make a more informed decision about adopting 5G, Ericsson has created The Smart Manufacturing Value Calculator. This insightful tool helps you figure out the return on investment you’ll get when you choose to make your manufacturing smarter. Advertisement

*The gateway to Tuscany

Interested in discovering how 5G can help your firm build a smart factory that’s ready for the future? Intrigued to find out more about the top challenges firms face when it comes to implementing 5G and associated technologies?

Join us at the Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium on 15th July 2021, where, among other excellent keynote presentations and panel discussions, you can join Ericsson’s Unlocking the Potential of Industrial Digitalisation With 5G discussion.  

Learn from Ericsson experts, your fellow delegates and share your perspective. Come away with deep insights and practical advice to invigorate your digitalisation strategy going forward. 

Register now: https://manufacturing-digitalisation.com/register-your-interest-for-2021/

The 5 most impactful use cases in smart manufacturing for digitilising operations

Used together, these innovations can pay for themselves in just two years: