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Jul 28, 2022

In today’s ever-changing technological world, it has been a norm that communications and network technologies keep evolving faster than ever before. Every new generation of smartphones and computers encourage innovations in this variable field. Like every other revolutionising technology in the past, 5G is also a game changer. With the help of 5G, there will be endless opportunities for industries to grow and implement various currently developing technologies nicely.

In April 2018, South Korea was the first country to roll out 5G networking services to a wide customer range. The speed of 5G networks in South Korea peaks up to 902.7 Mbps depending upon carriers, network providers, and geographical locations. Since then, the emergence of 5G is widespread.

In fact, smart factory, also known as Industry 4.0, will shift from conventional technologies to a set of highly advanced and connected technologies. Here, 5G will create Industry 4.0 models possible, as suggested by experts and scientists. As such, Industry 4.0 will rely on communications and information technologies to create and manage cost-efficient large-scale businesses.

Application benefits of 5G

High speed work remotely: Devices with 5G connectivity will have high-speed networks and data transmission rates, resulting in superfast work from remote locations. Using such networks, employees can work efficiently and rapidly without any barriers.

Useful IoT adoption: Internet of Things (IoT) is a system consisting of software and mechanical hardware used to transfer data over a network without requiring human interference. Using IoT, businesses can plan to create an entire business IoT ecosystem. IoT generates a lot of data and allows transmitting this data in real-time so that it can be used by the organisation. For this, there must be high-speed uninterrupted connections using 5G technology. We can create a solution for this and IoT can be used efficiently.

Lightning-fast data speed: The most anticipated benefit of 5G networks over the current technologies is the data speeds that they will offer. Most 5G service providers promise data speeds around 300-400 Mbps. At its maximum capacity, a 5G network can deliver speeds up to 10 Gbps, which is around 100 times faster than a currently running widespread 4G network. Nowadays, a huge amount of data is generated by companies in their operational activities and such data can be tackled for use by 5G networks easily.

Supply chain improvisations: 5G technology in manufacturing will improve the supply chain of industries greatly. As 5G enables to connect up to one million devices in one sq km range, it will be useful for coordinating all the automated processes in a supply chain. Processes, such as order placement and delivery schedules, can be programmed to be entirely automated. Such processes to work efficiently need to gather real-time data and have to transmit data at extremely high speeds. So, the 5G network can help this. Using 5G technology, manufacturing procedures are getting smarter day by day enabling advanced communication between interconnected devices resulting in the overall improvement of supply chain and production processes.

Crucial technologies for Industry 4.0

After having known the benefits of 5G technology in the manufacturing sector, now it’s time to look at the technologies which will be helpful in creating the Industry 4.0 model. Autonomous robots: Using this, robots will be able to work with each other in a cooperative manner. Robots used here can be equipped with greater performance abilities at a cost-effective price. These smart robots can also work alongside humans by adapting to the organisation’s environment.

Simulation: Simulation technologies will be used to get an insight into the real-time data and modelling the product virtually. Simulation technologies will help organisations to test their products prior to launch in a real-time environment. This will benefit the organisation to make changes prior to the implementation of the production of the product.

Internet of Things: Using IoT in the Industry 4.0 model will allow devices to communicate with each other over networks remotely using unified controllers as and when required. It will also support quick and efficient real-time decision making.

Cybersecurity: While the Industry 4.0 model relies mostly on information technology and communication networks, it is very important to create and deploy efficient cybersecurity measures to avoid any awful circumstances. Data generated through IoT and other devices should be stored, managed and extracted in such a way that there are no loopholes for the data to be tweaked. Any fault or loose end in cybersecurity can create unfavourable circumstances for the company.

Cloud computing: Industry 4.0 will be implemented mostly by large scale factories and manufacturing units; these will be the units that will be generating a large amount of data just from their operational activities. So, to cater to these large and ever-increasing storage demands, it is important and necessary for companies to move towards cloud storage and computing services. Cloud computing and storage services prove to be cost-effective in the long run.

Augmented reality: Augmented reality based systems can help workers know where to find the products in the warehouse and mapping necessary product configuration becomes easier. They can be used for training new interns and employees about how a product can be manufactured with correct steps and order.

Big Data & analytics: In the Industry 4.0 model, large amounts of data will be generated from operating activities using the technologies, collecting such data. Doing a meaningful evaluation of the data generated is a must to streamline activities of an organisation. Analysis of the data generated should be done to predict future changes and corrective measures, which can be then taken to increase the efficiency of the systems.

Implementing 5G in manufacturing

Following are some implementations possible through the usage 5G networks in manufacturing:

Smart logistics: In the Industry 4.0 model, it is proposed that the internal transportation systems and logistics systems inside a workplace, like a factory, should be entirely automated. Robots should be used for transporting products from one part of the plant to another. Driverless transportation vehicles can be used for the timely delivery of products. All the interconnected robots and DTV require high-speed data transmission for communicating with each other & 5G networks in manufacturing setups help to achieve this.

Smart maintenance: Smart maintenance refers to the planning of Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) in such ways that it rounds the downtime to the lowest possible. Data analysis plays an important role while planning out such MROs. While carrying out maintenance operations smart devices, such as tablets and connected cameras, can be used to instruct remotely or to supervise the work.

Smart control for plants: Smart control systems for plants can be created using sensors and IoT. Every machinery in the plant should be connected to a central controller system to make smart control systems work efficiently. These central control systems can then be automated using different procedures to work without human intervention.

Virtual manufacturing: Virtual manufacturing refers to the usage of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in production processes and research & development stages to know the real-time outcomes of the product the organisation is working on. Using virtual reality technology can help industries save so much money that might get wasted during the research & development stage.

Robots: Using robots is very beneficial because it will result in faster production. Organisations will require fewer spaces to operate. Risks regarding workplace accidents can be reduced greatly as robots work as they are programmed. There will be lesser chances of stoppage in production due to no conflicts arising.

Some implementations are possible only with the foundation and rise of 5G networks. Using these, along with 5G technology together in industries and manufacturing will take us to a completely functioning Industry 4.0 model.

Addressing manufacturing use cases

In an ever-evolving environment, telecom operators need the best technologies to assist their business requirement. The onset of 5G will improve many existing use cases and prepare new use cases that cannot be satisfied by existing technologies. This, in turn, needs evolving the network to convey high reliability and low latency that are key to addressing manufacturing use cases.

The enhanced network evolution highlights the following developments:

  • 5G NR – A new radio interface/access that extends far beyond those of past generations of mobile communication. Capabilities incorporates ultra-high reliability, very high data rates everywhere, very low latency, massive system capacity, and availability, very low energy consumption and device cost, and energy-efficient networks.

  • Network slicing – This helps operators to give dedicated virtual networks with consumer-particular functionality

  • Distributed cloud – This helps setting up workloads closer to the edge for better QoS, for example latency

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) & real-time Machine Learning – Analytics will be significant in creating self-optimised networks so as to secure SLA fulfilment for services

Going forward

The time to act is at present. We do not need to wait to begin testing new business models, catch emerging chances like IoT, and create extra revenue streams. LTE-based technologies for example, CAT-M1/NB-IoT help massive IoT use cases already in current networks. By rethinking and experimenting what role to take, operators will eventually secure the benefits of 5G.

Courtesy: Truventor AI & Robotics

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