Fraunhofer IPT Partners Ericsson to Use 5G Technology in the Manufacturing Sector

Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) and Ericsson are working together to explore use cases for 5G in the manufacturing environment. Both companies have joined forces to develop application scenarios for production and to test them in a real production environment.

Whenever Industrie 4.0 (IIoT) is mentioned, the general assumption is that processing and evaluating large volumes of data are part of the equation. Although modern sensor systems can already collect extensive data within machines and equipment, in the majority of the cases, the analysis needed in order to optimize production is still decentralized and takes place later. The switch to flexible, adaptive manufacturing processes therefore calls for fast, reliable wireless data transfer.

5G – Robust, Reliable, and Fast Enough for Networked, Adaptive Production

With its ultra low latency of less than one millisecond, high data rates of up to 10,000 megabits per second and the capability to run a multitude of devices simultaneously in a cell, 5G technology is particularly suitable for deployment in networked, adaptive production facilities with extensive measuring and control engineering. The reason for this is that running high-precision machine tools in complex production processes demands extremely high standards of communications, which must be stable and reliable. 5G technology will, for the first time, permit extensive use of wireless sensor connections for real time data analysis, ensuring adaptive control of production processes with short reaction times.

Ericsson has taken a leading role in developing the 5G standard as well as 5G products. The first 5G New Radio (NR) specification was approved by the 5G Consortium which includes Ericsson at the “3GPP Plenary Meeting” held in December 2017 in Lisbon. In the “5G for Europe” Program, Ericsson is focusing on 5G research and innovation projects with partners from industry and science. Production and Industrie 4.0 are two key areas which stand to profit most from 5G technology. According to the latest edition of the Ericsson ‘The 5G Business Potential’ report, 5G-based digitization, is set to generate an additional revenue stream of approximately 11.5 billion Euro in 2026 for the ICT sector in Germany alone in these sectors – putting it in second place overall.

At the Fraunhofer IPT 5G will be tested and developed further specifically for use in production. As part of the remit of the High Performance Center for “Networked Adaptive Production”, the engineers in Aachen are planning extensive deployment of 5G technology for a diverse range of fields of application in which machines, production and communications systems as well as data bases are all interconnected.

The Initiative launched by the three Fraunhofer Institutes in Aachen will enable companies involved in developments at the High Performance Center to manufacture sophisticated products either as single part or small batch orders more efficiently and more cost-effectively than was previously possible, by networking and digitalizing their production.

The work carried out at the High Performance Center and opportunities for companies to participate in the developments and preliminary examples of 5G deployment in production will be presented by Ericsson and the Fraunhofer IPT from 23 – 27 April 2018 at the Joint Fraunhofer booths at the Hanover Fair.