How 5G Will Revolutionize Manufacturing
published : 24 Jun 2022 at 15:04
Edison Xu, Board Director of Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. says 5G is poised to take productivity to the next level.
5G solves connectivity issues and creates more scenarios where cloud computing and artificial intelligence can be applied to manufacturing, bringing new possibilities to the industry.
The Digital Economy and Society (MDES) Ministry has unveiled a 5G technology alliance aimed at transforming 5G showcases into real use cases with a target of rolling out 10 of them this year. The alliance was established to build an affiliate network of 5G tech parties, including telecom operators, vendors and corporate users, to drive the 5G ecosystem.
There are 20 current development projects related to 5G use cases under the alliance which was initiated in April this year.
Mr Chaiwut, Minister of Digital Economy and Society was speaking on June 23 on the sidelines of Thailand 5G Summit 2022: "Innovation plays a pivotal role in increasing digital applications in various sectors,” he said. “5G tech is a key infrastructure component for the country's future economic and social transformation."
Smart manufacturing today and in the future
Global manufacturing has entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Digital, network, and intelligent technologies will revolutionize production equipment and processes as well as product supply. To become part of this revolution, manufacturing powerhouses have launched plans to upgrade the manufacturing industry. Some examples are the US's Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, Thailand’s 4.0 strategy in which it aims to become the ASEAN Digital Hub, Germany’s Industry 4.0 strategy, and China's Made in China 2025 plan. All aim to use advanced ICT to empower manufacturing and enhance industry's core capabilities. Thailand, for example has made progress in implementing Digital Thailand which can be described by various prioritized projects and initiatives aiming at enhancing the value-based economy and advancing digital infrastructures in order to become the digital hub of ASEAN.
The application of 5G to R&D and design systems, production control systems, and service management systems will revolutionize the production processes of vertical industries covering R&D and design, production, and management services. This will transform manufacturing into a more intelligent, flexible, service-oriented, and premium industry.
5G impacts on manufacturing
5G is estimated to add close to $740 billion to manufacturing GDP in 2030
The assumptions and analysis were informed by interviews with manufacturing and telecoms industry representatives and a survey of over 100 manufacturers worldwide to validate the benefits of 5G.
5G has the potential to grow global manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 4%, or just under $740 billion, by 2030. This forecast is driven by new use cases and improvements in existing applications that 5G uniquely brings compared to other technologies, and how these improvements will impact productivity.
5G has unique capabilities that allow it to play a significant role in using machine, plant, product and environment data more effectively. For the manufacturing industry, the five most important advantages stemming from 5G are:
1. The currently best wireless connection technology innovated redefined full-connected industry internet.
2. Ensuring connections are ultra-reliable deterministic and secure to avoid loss of data.
3. Reduce latency to ultra-low levels of below 15 milliseconds so that data is captured real-time.
4. Provide ultra-high bandwidth for each connection related machine vision with high resolution video service.
5. Bring new function beyond connection such as 5G position, 5G_LAN etc.
Benefits of 5G for the manufacturing industry
There are two ways 5G benefits the manufacturing industry: improving industry access to connectivity and enabling new use cases and applications.
Improving industry access to connectivity
Factories have historically used fixed networks (Ethernet) to connect, which take a significant amount of time and cost to deploy. It has also meant that manufacturers in markets without developed fixed infrastructure have not been able to advance their manufacturing processes as quickly.
5G provides an alternative to traditional networking because it has the capacity to carry as much bandwidth as fixed networks at high enough speeds. This is particularly beneficial for those manufacturers in countries with limited fixed infrastructure but relatively mature mobile network infrastructure. They will now be able to use 5G fixed wireless access and access broadband without the need to install cables. This will allow manufacturers who have been slower to progress in digitalization to leap-frog to Industry 4.0.
New use cases and applications
5G’s unique capabilities will unlock applications that have not previously existed, or at least not to the same degree. Interviews with industry representatives highlight that the most important advantages 5G brings are: device density and data volume linked to the capacity and bandwidth capabilities, ultra-reliability and security and low latency.
5G increases the data volumes manufacturers have available to them on their production facility by multiplying the number of devices that can be connected and the amount of data that can be carried through the network. This means going from collecting one or two variables on a piece of equipment to monitoring dozens of indicators. A plant operator can thus view the status of machines, processes and systems to a more granular degree and identify problems accurately.
5G is more reliable and secure, particularly compared to Wi-Fi. For manufacturers to be comfortable with using data to automatically control their processes and systems, they need to make sure that data is accurate and collected reliably, plus that it cannot be accessed by third parties.
Finally, low latency is a key factor in using 5G to enable new use cases, where data is not only used to monitor assets, but trigger real-time actions. Mission critical applications that are core to industrial processes have extremely low latency requirements of ten milliseconds or less.
5G’s unique capabilities enable new and improved use cases
China is widely seen as the leader in deploying powerful 5G networks on-premises in a vast industry scenario that aims to automate labour-intensive or dangerous industry processes and boost productivity.
These scenarios include 5G coal mines that remotely operate drilling machinery, so-called smart factories that automate production and quality control, and seaports that count and process cargo containers via web-connected cameras.
Unlike consumer-oriented networks that cover cities and towns, these 5G private networks contain customized hardware and software to serve specific enterprise scenarios. It is isolated from the public network and can be adapted to specific requirements to handle more complex tasks and processes.
In smart manufacturing, remote control enabled by 5G and cloud has changed how people work.
For auto manufacturing in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), by adopting the advantages of 5G high bandwidth, low latency, and mobility, remote operation in the auto part companies can improve the working environment and efficiency. In the past, operators had to control equipment while sitting inside a small control room, a dangerous and unappealing job that made recruitment difficult. With 5G and cloud computing, operators can control equipment in the comfort of an air-conditioned room. One operator can control several bridge cranes, watching them via HD video, greatly reducing the manufacturer's labour costs.
At Laem Chabang Sea port in Thailand, the success of the remote control for RTG (rubber tyre gantry crane) through 5G high bandwidth and ultra-stable low latency feather has been verified. This brings both social and economic values to the port, not only releasing 80% high risk onsite personnel but also improving RTG utilization and efficiency. Yard EV autonomous Trucks are enabled unmanned controlled by dispatch centre by 5G connection to release Labels. Trucks could not only operate during the day but also at night.
In the mining industry, high risk and poor environments make it much harder to recruit new stuff. Also high oil waste due to lack of technical real-time tracing and intelligent dispatch makes product prices less competitive. But technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity, cloud computing, and big data analytics are playing a role, driving and popularizing joystick-based work models, bringing more and more miners into the office. By introducing technologies such as cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and digital twin, the coal mining industry is digitalizing and tooling existing safety production procedures and practices, and gradually replicating them to the entire industry. Nowadays, autonomous EV trucks with 5G + smart platform replacing diesel trucks have been taken into account by Thai cement and power companies.
Perhaps in future, miners will not have to work underground. They will wear suits and ties and operate mining equipment while drinking coffee.
Huawei, as a world-class ICT-leading company, not only provides a variety of emerging technologies to help manufacturers modernize at any stage of the manufacturing lifecycle but also brings China’s TOP partners in different industries such as Siasun, Yutong, Watyous and ChinaSofti to gear up for the Thailand Future E2E Manufacturing Matching Industry 4.0.