Ericsson and Orange Belgium are working with the manufacturer to support intelligent manufacturing via 4G and 5G in future.
The Atlas Copco Airpower factory in Wilrijk, Belgium (pictured), is reportedly one of the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturing sites for portable and stationary compressors.
At the facility, compressors are designed, developed, and produced for distribution around the world. With 20,000 m² at the Airpower facility site, Ericsson Dedicated Networks delivers easy wireless connectivity to support and improve remote management and productivity.
The dedicated network provides stable connectivity, which allows autonomous guided vehicles to be controlled wirelessly with cameras and environmental monitoring sensors across the factory.
Portable tools, fixed tools, and machinery can also be connected to the network to improve production.
"This technology gives us the possibility to connect our machines wirelessly instead of the traditional way with cables. The really exciting use cases will come when we can make use of low latency.
“The case that wraps it all together for us is, of course, security. We can all do this in a secure environment. I think that the factory of the future will be a lot more autonomous, automated and intelligent,” said Wouter Ceulemans, President of the Airtec division, Atlas Copco.
Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise Officer, Orange Belgium, added, “Orange Belgium guarantees secure mobile connectivity for the industry.
Manufacturers require this for their critical business. They need full availability of the system, 24/7. Also, they want to have data protection and data integrity, and our network enables this.
“So together with the partners, we rolled out a mobile network. We brought our mobile connectivity know how, which means the spectrum and our expertise in devices.”
“5G is about industries. That’s why we are here deploying Industry Connect as a dedicated network on site,” said Erik Josefsson, Head of Advanced Industries at Ericsson.
A recent report from ABI Research forecasts that the smart manufacturing market will grow to $1 trillion (€920 billion) by 2030. Smart manufacturing connection revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21% from 2018 to 2030, reaching $35 billion by 2030 – wireless connections will contribute 72% of the total.
An Ericsson statement noted that there is a growing trend in industries to transition to 5G-ready, dedicated networks for intelligent manufacturing. Most recently, ABB Power Grids in Ludvika, Sweden, connected cordless screwdrivers in it manufacturing site. Scania, Europe’s largest manufacturer of trucks and buses, has piloted projects at it Smart Factory Lab to explore how 5G technology can be introduced in their production.