Communications & Networks
Nokia, Omron and NTT Docomo to trial 5G for manufacturing plants
September 11, 2019 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
September 11, 2019 – Nokia, NTT DOCOMO and OMRON have partnered to conduct joint field trials using 5G at their plants and other production sites.
Nokia will provide the enabling 5G technology, OMRON will supply the factory automation equipment, and NTT DOCOMO, a Japanese telecom, will run the 5G trial.
The trial follows the increasing demand for wireless communications at manufacturing sites driven by the need for stable connectivity between IoT devices. As background noise from machines and the movement of people have the potential to interfere with wireless communications, the trial will aim to verify the reliability and stability of 5G technology deployed by conducting radio wave measurements and transmission experiments.
During the trial, Nokia, DOCOMO and OMRON will establish the feasibility of the concept of a layout-free production line with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
As product cycles become shorter due to fast-changing consumer demands, manufacturing sites are under increasing pressure to rearrange production lines at short notice. By taking advantage of 5G’s high speed, large capacity, low latency and ability to connect multiple devices, the trial will see AMRs automatically conveying components to the exact spot where they are required based on communication with production line equipment.
The trial will also leverage 5G connectivity for real-time coaching using AI/IoT. Machine operators will be monitored using cameras, with an AI-based system providing feedback on their performance based on an analysis of their movements. This will help improve the training of technicians by detecting and analyzing the differences of motion between more skilled and less skilled personnel.
“This trial will allow us to address some of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers today,” says John Harrington, president and CEO, Nokia Japan. “Whilst consumers will experience faster, more immediate mobile communications, it is manufacturers that are set to benefit the most from 5G. The stable, lower-latency and higher throughput wireless connections that come with 5G allow them to truly embrace the Internet of Things. Production lines will be more flexible and adaptable, and productivity on the factory floor can be more easily improved. We are dedicated to helping manufacturers enable this Industry 4.0 vision.”