5G partnerships for smart-factories from Deutsche Telekom

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5G partnerships for smart-factories from Deutsche Telekom

EK Automation, Konica Minolta and Endress+Hauser join the 5G-industry-partnership in which Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have already teamed. With its campus networks, Telekom offers an infrastructure for smart-factories of tomorrow.

The Deutsche Telekom counts on integrating existing technologies into the 5G infrastructure to meet the needs of varying business models and requirements from different industries. Typical application areas for these technologies are production or logistics:
Automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) already support logistics processes on company premises today. They are now connected to the local IT system via a campus network. This improves the mobile connection compared to WiFi. The use of edge solutions increases the computing power of the AGVs.

5G partnerships for smart-factories from Deutsche Telekom

An Edge Cloud shifts complex computing processes from a remote data center to a computer on the factory premises, accelerating data-processing and allowing vehicles to react to obstacles in real time. Many industries already use augmented reality glasses – especially when service personnel maintain machines and support the back office via video call. This requires high data rates and stable and fast connections with short reaction times which 5G offers.
Industrial measurement technology provides valuable information for optimizing production and operational processes. In a campus network, this data is reliably transmitted and processed in the shortest possible time.

Our development of a complete 5G ecosystem for industry will accelerate the pace of digitization in industry. This will strengthen Germany’s position in global competition,

emphasizes Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology and Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

We enjoy working with renowned and experienced partners. More and more industries are being added. In this way, our offering is becoming increasingly complete.

Each of the partners contributes with specific know-how from the field of Industry 4.0. EK Automation GmbH, which has been manufacturing automated guided vehicle systems since 1980, joined the Telekom partners in July. Together with the Telekom incubator Hubraum, the company equipped transport robots with 3D cameras this summer. For the first time, the technicians integrated a 3D obstacle detection with dynamic route planning into the Edge Cloud. The transport robot sends the 3D camera images to the cloud for analysis almost in real time via 5G. This enabled the vehicle to immediately avoid obstacles placed in the roadway.

The new 5G mobile communications standard with data rates of more than one gigabit per second opens up new possibilities for us. For example, we can coordinate many transport robots in this way,

explains Jan Drömer. The CIO of EK Automation went on to say:

We will jointly push the use of AGVs for efficient production.

Optical systems expert Konica Minolta is further developing its AIRe Lens. This lightweight augmented reality glasses helps technicians to assemble machines, showing step-by-step instructions on the display. A camera is integrated in the glasses to be able to show the situation to an expert at a remote location. In the future, AIRe Lens will deliver data directly via Telekom’s 5G network.

“In combination with Telekom’s network, AIRe Lens enables us to offer our customers a wearable AR solution,” says Ikuo Nakagawa. The Senior Executive Officer, Digital Workplace Business Unit, Konica Minolta, Inc. explains:

The AR glasses help our customers to make their production processes more efficient. At the same time, it increases the speed and quality of manufacturing.

Endress+Hauser is an expert in measurement and automation technology. They are now equipping sensors with mobile radio modules. With 5G, measuring devices can transmit a wealth of process and device data in parallel and in real time. These can be evaluated in cloud applications for predictive plant maintenance.

In addition to the actual measured values, our instruments have long recorded a wealth of information from the process and about the sensor. So far, however, this data has hardly been used,

says Matthias Altendorf. The CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group adds:

The 5G campus networks open a second signal path that is independent of the control system. This enables us to link value chains more closely across company boundaries and make industrial processes more efficient.

Further partners are already preparing to join Telekom’s campus networks. In the medium term, the company wants to be able to respond to the special needs of all industries.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Endress+Hauser

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