How 5G is the catalyst for Industrial Automation growth.

A study by TFI Research showed that Industry 4.0 will be responsible for 21 million 5G IoT units in 2030, mostly in manufacturing applications. Automation is one of the most innovative manufacturing trends as it offers a high level of productivity. 5G technologies have the potential to take this even further by reducing production costs and time, while also increasing quality control. 5G will make the Internet-of Things (IoT) a reality for many industries including industrial automation and manufacturing. This new technology supports millions of devices at ultrafast speeds and has the potential to take industrial automation and smart manufacturing to a whole new level. Connectivity is key to industry 4.0, allowing data to flow between the factory floor, edge computing devices and the cloud. Below are the benefits that would accelerate the change of pace in Industrial automation:

  • Factories and manufacturers can save a huge amount of money every year by using fewer production lines and keeping less inventory on hand.
  • Flexibility, versatility, productivity, and resource efficiency will all substantially increase.
  • Predictive maintenance is a technique that enables machines and machine parts to be serviced or replaced just in time.
  • IoT, 5G, AI and big data analytics technologies enable zero touch factory operations.
  • Warehousing and supply-chain efficiency has increased drastically.

With access to 5G technology, enterprises can now rely on mission-critical industrial operations that affect safety and security.

5G would enable Industry 4.0 Integration

Industry 4.0 refers to the integration of the Internet of Things (IOT) and other digital technologies in industrial manufacturing. This allows for seamless communication and coordination between different levels of the automation process, from individual machines to entire factories.

Industrial automation employs control systems to manage various tasks, often with cutting-edge technologies such as IoT sensors, AI vision cameras and autonomous mobile robots. 5G has the potential to revolutionize industrial automation by powering the networking capabilities of its various elements. Low-latency wireless communications will make it easier to monitor machines in real-time, giving industry leaders more information and better control of their facilities.

The incredible speed of 5G technology will allow for significant advancements in fields like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. By wearing AI and VR headsets, factory technicians and engineers can get a detailed view of equipment to find components easily, streamline repair processes & instructions, and improve safety. These devices provide a virtual environment for technicians handle potentially hazardous parts without being in danger themselves.

5G networks offer up to five times faster latency rates, making it ideal for supporting industry 4.0 business models.

Predictive Maintenance and Device Lifecycle Management

Automated systems are a big investment, and unplanned repairs can make them even pricier. Not only does it cost money to fix the machinery but manufactures also suffer losses from not being able to use the machines during downtime. Manufacturers use predictive maintenance to keep their factory equipment and other assets in safe, working condition. Real-time machine health data is collected by wireless sensors and sent to cloud-based analytics applications across the network. Many industrial machines are now equipped with industrial IOT (IIoT) sensors. These sensors help to monitor equipment status and can send out alerts if a problem is detected or if the equipment is due for routine maintenance. 5G not only provides high data speeds and reliable connectivity, but also allows for more sensors to be deployed to various assets. This in turn provides richer data than ever before. In addition, the low-latency network environment supports innovative vibration and motion sensors.

Move to Wireless Connectivity

For years, people in the industry have hoped for wireless industrial automation, but until now, it’s only been a dream. With 5G becoming more prevalent, this goal is quickly becoming a reality.

Various industrial Ethernet systems exist to facilitate communication with machinery and enable real-time robotic equipment control. A downside of these types of systems is that they necessitate wired connection between machines. This wiring must run through dangerous areas and be connected to moving parts, which heightens the potential for failure and need for repairs. Furthermore, the production line has a set configuration that cannot be quickly rearranged to make better use of equipment or respond to change in demand.

Using 5G technology to replace current wired local-area networks in factories is an immediate opportunity. Services like LTE and Wi-Fi can offer some of the same capabilities, but private LTE networks usually have an edge in performance. However, even private LTE networks don’t always support the Layer 1-2 performance (scheduling, latency, jitter, redundancy) that’s necessary for applications that are very demanding. With digital transformation being a current reality in Industry 4.0, the establishment of 5G standards and private 5G spectrum is giving factories bigger opportunities to explore private 5G networks. 5G outperforms all other technologies in meeting these time-critical requirements, as observed during extensive testing. Many companies are already seeing the benefits of deploying private 5G networks within their plants, including increased performance, determinism, low latency, and reliability.

Data Analytics and Edge Computing

5G network has high-bandwidth, low-latency which is perfect for data Analytics and edge computing. Edge computing and 5G connectivity are two technologies that are closely linked together. They have the potential to significantly improve application performance and real-time data processing.

5G’s support for massive connectivity among various types of devices (sensors/gateways/controllers), combined with distributed compute architectures, allows for the understanding and translation of big data-at-rest and data-in-motion into real-time insights with actionable intelligence. 5G must support ultra-fast data transfers to the cloud, real-time analytics at the edge, and persistency of data at extremely low latencies to take real-time actions.

The random, unorganized data captured by the devices in the field or factory is converted into useful information by smart edge devices that communicate over a reliable infrastructure. The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-based models and analytics can help identify trends and patterns in data that can be used to make predictions about future failures. By working together, 5G and mobile edge computing can provide a comprehensive solution. While 5G is incredibly fast, processing data closer to the end device with mobile edge computing can help reduce data traffic and latency. Additionally, 5G network enable remote maintenance. The analyzed information then helps support informed decision making for predictive maintenance, safety, security, and business optimization.

To sum up, the implementation of 5G opens a world of possibilities for industrial organizations, allowing them to push the boundaries of what is possible and deliver exceptional value to employees and customers. The greater the number of devices that are interconnected, and the higher people’s expectations are for speedy data transmission, the closer industrial enterprises will need to locate the data source to the end user. Having interconnected edge data centers gives businesses direct access to cloud on-ramps and a community of carriers and network providers, allowing the enterprises to closely match the speed at which processing demands are constantly increasing.

With 5G becoming the norm, ultra-low latency is now a requirement for businesses. To be ahead of the curve, enterprises should begin by processing data closer to the user and implementing a flexible system that offers excellent connectivity.

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