In the world of manufacturing, the use of connected technology is already well underway.
Advanced machines, autonomous vehicles and robots are connected to the cloud, allowing organisations to use data analytics to manage them, the production process and other activities across the factory floor. This saves both time and money.
With 5G, we can bring even greater automation, flexibility, and speed to these operations. When this is paired with a mobile private network (MPN), business customers get added control and enhanced security as business data is kept off of public networks.
Intelligence at the heart
For the Vitoria-Gasteiz Campus of the Basque Technology Park in Spain, our 5G MPN service brings ultra-fast broadband to employees and customers. Guaranteeing service levels with high speeds and minimum latency in an uninterrupted and reliable way, while maintaining high levels of security through exclusive and controlled access.
Multiple devices can also connect across the business park without any loss in service. This is a key requirement given the high number of machines used in the industrial environment and the 169 companies housed in the park.
The park has established itself as a knowledge transfer centre for both public and private organisations, and so the solution will support technological research and testing of all the capabilities of a 5G mobile private network, taking full advantage of the park’s offerings and promotion of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics.
It is the first commercial deployment of MPN with a 5G Standalone core, meaning it does not rely on 4G network controls, but solely uses a 5G core network. Therefore, benefitting from even greater speeds, reliability, and security.
For advanced applications, such as autonomous vehicles, precision robotics and automated factories, this is vital. For example, an autonomous crane moving heavy machinery around a dock could cause serious damage should it lose connection mid-task.
Boosting innovation for our business customers in Ireland
Working with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), we’re helping Irish manufacturers experiment with these types of networks and adopt innovative industrial technologies.
A government-funded research and technology organisation, with research labs and industrial pilot lines in its advanced manufacturing centre in Mullingar, IMR offers collaboration in four thematic areas – digitisation, robotics and automation, design for manufacturing, and sustainable manufacturing.
Using our 5G, with mobile private network and edge computing capabilities, we are helping IMR keep data processing and computing closer to its site, delivering better security, and keeping all its assets intelligently connected.
For example, its shop floor assets are now always connected, providing real-time monitoring and insights. This prevents failures and reduces unplanned downtime.
Experimenting with new technology
Through this partnership, we now have a platform for the development of a wide variety of 5G use cases. With our guidance, Irish Manufacturing Research customers can leverage this new environment and develop their own 5G solutions, proving their concepts before making any investment decisions.
Our 5G tele-robotics solution is one example. It means IMR can 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.
Gaining more visibility was just the first step. Our Mixed Reality solution also helped IMR introduce the concept of guided maintenance tasks and quality checks, accompanied by training, which can support new employees to perform new tasks with confidence.
It also makes knowledge transfer easier between employees.
For example, working with Ford in the UK, we sped up its move to electric vehicles by providing instant access to experts off-site to ensure best practice and to reskill its workforce.
Mixed Reality allows on-demand replay and, if needed, Ford’s engineering team have the option to seek real-time instructions from specialists via headsets such as Microsoft HoloLens, for help diagnosing and fixing problems.
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