10 Ways 5G Will Improve Manufacturing

While it may be slow in getting adopted, 5G connectivity aims to alter the factory floor with improved connectivity, AR, AI, IoT, and a wide range of supply chain advances.
  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Given that 5G is 100 times faster than 4G LTE or WiFi, it is likely to have a profound impact on manufacturing capabilities. 5G will make connections between devices and the cloud significantly faster. This can transform the notion of real-time.

    Gartner says smart factories will receive major Industry 4.0 improvements from 5G. While some smart factory use cases can be achieved with existing 4G, most require the low latency and high reliability offered by 5G.

    Manufacturers Will Spend Big on 5G

    According to business intelligence company, Raconteur, manufacturers will be the biggest beneficiary of 5G connectivity. Raconteur forecasts that manufacturing will be responsible for $4,687B in 5G spending between now and 2035, which constitutes the lion’s share of the $13.2 trillion in 5G spending over the next 15 years. The transformation is not going to be easy, and many analysts following manufacturing believe that the ubiquitous use of 5G technology in manufacturing is years away.

    Forrester Research reports that the 5G option will become more appealing as standards evolve and technologies become available. So far, only the initial set of 5G features is available. There are few devices on the market, and public 5G cellular networks are just starting to appear.

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Collecting Data

    5G will allow manufacturers to collect data instantly. Networks will be able to exchange more information at a quicker speed. This can increase throughput and decrease downtime by increasing data analysis. (Image source: Bosch Rexroth)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Devices at the Edge

    5G will allow manufacturers to connect devices down to the plant operation level, delivering information and collecting information in real-time. The result will be robust networking, improved visual recognition, and deep learning. (Image source: MOXA)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Connecting the Supply Chain

    5G will allow manufacturers to connect more directly and more robustly to its supply chain, from suppliers through customers. While some of this is in place, the ability to actually connect to partner systems will be greatly enhanced. (Image source: CBInsights)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Improve Robot Motion Control

    If you want flexibly and mobility in robots, cables are a burden. Cellular connectivity is the best choice because it offers standardized technology within global ecosystem. While 4G works in many cases, 5G will support the most demanding use, which can include cloud robotics in cases where the cloud’s processing is relevant for the immediate motion of the robot. (Image source: Daincube)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Automakers Like 5G

    Audi is testing 5G for robot motion control. BMW Brilliance Automotive in China moving to enable full 5G wireless coverage at all of its plants. The goal: improved efficiencies and enhanced quality in the manufacturing process. (Image source: Qualcomm)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    Germany Gets 5G

    According to Forrester Research, most of the large manufacturers in Germany are working on 5G. They’re building private 5G network infrastructure and connecting all the machinery in their factories. Forrester expects manufacturers in other developed countries to soon follow. (Image source: Bosch)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks

    PLCs in the Cloud

    According to McKinsey, the PLC could be virtualized in the cloud with 5G. This would enable machines to be controlled wirelessly in real time at a fraction of the current cost. (Image source: Siemens)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks, AI, PLCs

    Augmented Reality

    McKinsey notes that 5G can deliver on the promise of augmented reality for factory personnel. 5G will enable the streaming of high-quality instructions on the shop floor without the stutter of 4G streaming. This improved augmented reality can guide workers, step by step, through each individual motion they need to make to complete a task. This will allow shop-floor personnel to undertake advanced tasks without waiting for specialist engineers. (Image source: Fraunhofer FOKUS)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks, AI, PLCs

    AI Eyes on the Factory Floor

    Cameras on the factory floor monitor processes and security. Their use is limited to focused applications, and workers are often required to monitor video feeds. McKinsey notes that 5G will allow the streaming of data in real time to the cloud, and the use of live video analytics in ways beyond the capability of 4G and WiFi. (Image source: Autodesk)

  • 5G, manufacturing, Industry 4.0, augmented reality, IoT, robotics, supply chains, connectivity, wireless networks, AI, PLCs

    Real-time Data Will Result in Better Decisions

    Effective factories rely on vast data pools to make decisions. That can be hampered by delays as data is collected, cleaned, and analyzed. 5G will speed up the decision-cycle time, allowing massive amounts of data to be ingested, processed, and actioned in near real time. The result will be improved decisions. (Image source: Intel)

 

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News . Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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