The customer and the challenge
Paving the way for Industry 4.0
Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) is a government-funded research and technology organisation with research labs and industrial pilot lines in their advanced manufacturing centre in Mullingar, Ireland. They provide a portfolio of research, training, and consultancy services. Working together with leading global and Irish brands, IMR helps Irish-based manufacturers adopt Industry 4.0 technologies. Their research and development program offers collaboration in four thematic areas –digitisation, robotics and automation, design for manufacturing, and sustainable manufacturing.
Making Irish manufacturers stand out
IMR’s mission is to unleash the potential of Industry 4.0 and make Ireland a global leader in advanced manufacturing. As a leading manufacturing research and technology organisation, IMR works to demystify and derisk new and emerging technologies. They deliver high-impact collaborative research and services to enable advanced manufacturing for a broad range of clients across Ireland’s manufacturing network. The adoption of the latest Industry 4.0 technologies will open new doors for manufacturers to further innovation and job creation within the industry. In collaboration with leading technology providers, IMR has created the largest cross-sector manufacturing network in Ireland to help member companies transform their businesses. Members and their customers can also use IMR’s advanced manufacturing centre to experiment and prove their concepts before making any investment decisions.
Shaping advanced manufacturing with 5G
IMR has partnered with Vodafone Business to deliver a 5G Mobile Private Network and Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) environment unique in Europe. The close coupling of MPN and MEC brought data processing and computing to the very edge of IMR’s 5G network to keep all their assets intelligently connected. This combined solution enabled the development of low-latency dependent applications, such as telerobotics and AI computer vision inspection. Through this partnership, Vodafone and IMR now have a platform for the development of a wide variety of 5G use cases. With our guidance, customers can now leverage this environment and develop their own 5G use cases.
How we helped them
It all starts with your network
Vodafone Business 5G connectivity and Edge Computing have provided IMR with the communications backbone to re-imagine the layout of their advanced manufacturing research centre and go beyond their limits. Low latency, high bandwidth and high reliability are key to supporting critical applications on the manufacturing floor and secure ubiquitous connectivity over a licenced spectrum. These manufacturing requirements used to rely on fixed-line networks but 5G wireless technology provides a more flexible, lower-cost option. Pilot lines are no longer tied to locations dependent on the availability of wired connectivity to carry out demos and optimise production processes. Thanks to the introduction of MEC, per-station compute and processing can now be consolidated in the local edge cloud delivered over the 5G network.
Get the most out of your assets
We’re working closely with IMR and our ecosystem of partners to develop a range of solutions based on the close coupling of 5G and MEC. We ensure to keep IMR’s shop floor assets connected to provide real-time monitoring and insights, which prevent failures and reduce unplanned downtime. Vodafone’s Visual Inspection solution allows IMR’s members to explore the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in automating defect detection and enhancing quality control. Our AI-based visual inspection system can scan thousands of objects per minute and is able to monitor object details which are imperceptible to the human eye. Visual Inspection produces large amounts of unstructured video data which needs to be transported and processed immediately to provide near-real-time feedback to a production line.
Take control of your workflow with 5G
Gaining more visibility was just the first step. Vodafone’s Mixed Reality solution helped IMR introduce the concept of guided maintenance tasks, quality checks and asset operation, accompanied by trainings to demonstrate how new employees get support to perform new tasks with confidence. Mixed Reality can also make knowledge transfer more efficient and simpler if an experienced employee decides to retire or leave the organisation. IMR has also developed a 5G telerobotics solution to demonstrate real-time control over operational processes. They can now enjoy the benefits of remote operation even in hazardous environments as blended control enables superhuman levels of precision to ease the burden on robot operators.