China's ZTE partners with AIS and Suranaree University of Technology to facilitate implementation of 5G technology in Thai factories.

China's ZTE partners with AIS and Suranaree University of Technology to facilitate implementation of 5G technology in Thai factories.

China's ZTE Corporation has engaged in a partnership with Advanced Info Service Plc., one of Thailand's top wireless carriers and internet service providers, and Suranaree University of Technology in Nakhon Ratchasima province, to help industrial entrepreneurs deploy 5G technology in their production lines and turn their manufacturing plants into "Smart Factory".

Mr. Ling Zhi, Vice President for Global Marketing at ZTE Corporation – a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the mobile internet – asserted that ZTE was enthusiastic about expanding 5G "Intelligent Manufacturing" in Thailand.  He indicated that moving forward, the three partners were committed to helping Thailand's manufacturing industry develop towards a green, low-carbon, digital, and intelligent future.

The partnership will offer innovations to transform an ordinary factory into a "Smart Factory".  Said innovations include 5G Cloud AGV Autonomous Vehicles, 5G Patrol Robots, 5G AR Remote Guidance, VR Monitoring in real time, and 5G Robotic Arm.

Nakhon Ratchasima is a node that sits at an intersection between the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and the Northeastern Economic Corridor (NEEC), and the province currently hosts three major industrial estates.  Owing to this advantageous location, Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) has been serving the needs of the industrial sector with numerous curricula relating to digital technology; courses encompass AI, cloud, IoT, VR and AR technologies.  The university also offers training in the scope of 5G technology to businesses.  The partnership with ZTE and AIS is expected to provide SUT with equipment that enables the demonstration of a variety of use cases for 5G.  Industrial entrepreneurs looking to exploit 5G technology for efficiency improvement at their plans will be able to observe use cases at the university and determine how to best implement the technology in their factories.  Businesses may also discover opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce costs or increase manufacturing capacity.

The ZTE vice president Mr. Ling cited external analysis pointing to 5G technology contributing around 1.3 trillion USD to world GDP in the next 10 years. He added that ZTE uses the 5G technology to manufacture the 5G equipment that it sells.

Mr. Ling explained that with implementation of 5G in manufacturing, all the connections and the associated data give rise to a uniform data center where all the data can cross.  We can analyze electrical consumption.  And from the data we can find if something's wrong and then we can repair immediately and automatically.  We can also extend the lifecycle of the machines, normally which is very expensive.

This partnership centers on building a Smart Factory that addresses the various needs of the industrial sector. The factory makes use of AIS's 5G infrastructure operating on standalone (SA) configuration within the 2.6 GHz band, a middle-band spectrum with properties – namely reduced latency and full IoT support – that make it excellent for use case demonstrations.

Solutions that will be offered to factories are intended to address the functions of each part of the production line and enable the integration of these affairs via the 5G technology. The "5G Cloud AGV" automatic guided vehicle can map an area on its own and move autonomously, making it a vital tool to boost efficiency inside a factory, warehouse or on a production floor.  Facial recognition-enabled "5G Patrol Robots" perform the duties of a security guard by patrolling various areas and reporting suspicious activities.  The "5G Robotic Arm" has superior capabilities over its non-5G counterparts, being able to handle, inspect or select equipment as well as products of many sizes.  Meanwhile, "5G AR Remote Guidance" enables work, training and repair functions to be performed remotely and without requiring all the relevant parties to be physically present on site.  Finally, "5G VR Monitoring" provides a real-time quality assurance inspection tool for ensuring a uniform product standard from raw material to finished goods.

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