Smart Machines & Factories
The importance of 5G in industrial automation
Published:  14 June, 2019

A recent demonstration showing 5G Digital Twin technology by Ericsson and Comau at Hannover Messe, underlines the importance of 5G in industrial automation use. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Ericsson and Comau have shown the Digital Twin enabled by 5G connectivity at the recent Hannover Messe. This project, which is currently being tested, represents a further step in the long-lasting partnership between Ericsson and Comau aimed at developing new use cases and solutions for Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing, thanks to the potential offered by the fifth-generation mobile technology.

Comau and Ericsson showed the digitised version of an assembly line in an automotive plant. Using special glasses for Virtual Reality applications, visitors were immersed in the line and can “move” within it, monitoring the key parameters of the processes and of the machines, such as vibrations, temperature, pressures and absorptions. A Virtual Reality digital dashboard, which can be used with a standard tablet, identify situations that could create slowdowns or interruptions in the process by providing instructions to tackle the problem effectively.

5G connectivity

The features of 5G connectivity allow it to collect a stable, continuous and massive flow of data in real-time that is vital for automation processes. Thanks to 5G low latency, the Digital Twin shows information related to the real robot in the form of visual outputs, which make it possible to understand how the robot activity will evolve in the cell. Not only from the data analysis is it possible to foresee faults and malfunctions and identify which components must be repaired or replaced, but also it is able to suggest which actions to take to operate effectively. 5G becomes the enabling technology for every analytics and digital intelligence remote activity on all assets of the production system.

The pilot project presented in Hannover is claimed to be the result of continuous development, combined with the commitment to research and innovation by Comau and Ericsson, to enable the digital transformation process in manufacturing.

Maurizio Cremonini, Comau head of marketing and digital initiatives Platform, commented: “Comau's new digitally interconnected equipment delivers real-time production data where and when it is needed, helping reduce downtime while improving overall quality.

Digitised analytics

Digitised analytics provide customers with a wealth of information regarding production flows and throughput – information that is made available locally and remotely. 5G is an enabling driver for the digital transformation within the Industry 4.0 environment, specifically for low latency, bandwidth and plug & play connectivity of factory equipment. The demo showcased with Ericsson shows how a digital twin can work in a production line.”, points our

Magnus Frodigh, head of research for Ericsson, added “Bandwidth and low latency, main features of the new 5G technology, are the crucial factors that will allow to accelerate the digitisation and automation processes, enabling cutting-edge use cases in Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. The demo we are presenting with Comau shows how 5G deployment in the industrial environment will allow to increase productivity, reducing costs.”