In the coming years, 5G will offer ten times higher data rates than 4G, will be able to serve a massively higher number of subscribers or IoT devices, will enable real-time transmission with latency times of up to 1ms or even less, and will reduce energy consumption per bit.
This will create entirely new possibilities for manufacturing industry and for making the Factory of the Future a reality. We've invested in the development of our own local 5G network, in order to develop and validate new use cases:
- Augmented reality: Using data goggles, our Hägglunds specialists in heavy-duty drives guide maintenance personnel from the service center in Sweden through diagnosis and troubleshooting at any location.
- IoT Gateway: IoT Gateway software uses sensors to network older machines without interfering with the existing cabling or control system. In the future, IoT Gateway will also support 5G, and thus integrate installed machines into wireless networking.
- 3D printing - closed loop edge control: With the 3D printer manufacturer BigRep, we've used 5G technologies to demonstrate that real-time control of complex 3D printing processes is possible wirelessly in an external server. The approach can detect and correct deviations of the actual process from the digital twin in real time, based on the the machine data, significantly reducing errors and increasing productivity to a level required for mass production.
- Quality assurance with artificial intelligence: Manufacturers are increasingly using industrial image processing and machine learning for quality assurance. The exchange of the large amounts of data required for this is wireless. Software programs already support quality assurance in other applications, such as tightening technology. They record each screw connection in the context of the component and the specifications, and check whether the correct torque has been applied.
- Wireless safety: With 5G, safety-critical tasks can be performed wirelessly in accordance with standards for the first time, without the need for permanently wired control units with emergency stop switches.
- Intelligent assembly and ActiveCockpit: Our ActiveAssist sends production data, including work instructions for each individual product, to people at the assembly stations; and ActiveCockpit, our interactive communication platform, monitors all controls and sensors on a line in real time. It immediately detects process deviations and errors and reports them to employees and/or other defined departments.
- Intralogistics: Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), such as our ActiveShuttle, orient themselves independently and make deliveries from a central store to an assembly point on the production line, coordinated by the merchandise management system. They exchange information with the IT systems and with each other, recognizing new obstacles, alerting other AGVs in the fleet in real time, and immediately calculating alternative routes.
In time, equipment optimized to take advantage of 5G will deliver even greater benefits. But 5G can also be retrofitted in existing factories, both as a private network and by subscription to public networks. Also, inside existing machines, the sensors can transmit their data via cable to 5G-capable gateways, which then transmit them wirelessly. We're already using this approach today to network machines installed with IoT Gateways.