Ericsson will be building its first fully-automated smart factory in the US. The state-of-the-art factory will produce Advanced Antenna System radios to boost network capacity and coverage, including rural coverage, as well as 5G radios for urban areas, both necessary for rapid 5G deployments in North America. Advanced Antenna Systems radios enable large scale deployments in 4G and 5G mobile networks. Street Macro radios for urban use are radios with integrated RAN Compute baseband functionality that allows network densification in metropolitan areas, where no new rooftop sites are available.
The new smart factory complements Ericsson’s global supply chain, which ensures the company is working close to customers through its European, Asian and American operations, securing fast and agile deliveries to meet customer requirements. This builds on Ericsson’s previously announced strategic initiative is the U.S. market. Ericsson is also fast-tracking the launch of the next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing own factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.
The location of the factor will be announced on concluding discussions with state and local authorities. The company is committed to the factory being operational in early 2020. The smart factory will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment and will also advance Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability, including registration to pursue LEED Gold Certification.
Fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable agile operations and flexible production. This will be achieved through automated warehouses, connected logistics and automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts. The latest technology products created in the 5G factory will enable a faster rollout of commercial 5G across the region. To ensure the high quality of products, Ericsson runs its new product introduction** and early production in-house. Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G is built.
Ericsson plans to initially employ approximately 100 people at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a modular and flexible production setup to enable quick ramp up and rollout.
Ericsson began operations via a production partner for the first radios for the U.S. market produced at the end of 2018. The company also established a new R&D site – a software development center – in Austin, Texas. It is located close to the Austin ASIC Design Center, which opened in late 2017 and focuses on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations.