With the benefits of cellular in the industrial sector established, and new connectivity technologies emerging, 5G will certainly be leveraged in manufacturing in a host of different ways.
It has been estimated that 5G could unlock $740 billion in value for manufacturing by 2030. That value is going to be realized in a multitude of ways. Because of the capacity of 5G – high speed, low latency, massive bandwidth – many technological channels will be opened or, at the very least, enhanced. Freeing factories from fixed networks by providing the same amount of bandwidth without the cost of development and infrastructure is another outlet for manufacturing to flourish under the new 5G network.
Manufacturing won’t need to be as centralized in the future, and Manufacturing-as-a-Service is even likely to become a subset of the industry, as requirements for building a manufacturing infrastructure will be a lighter lift.
The advancement and adoption of 5G can be a turnkey for many new technologies, including:
A digital twin is just as it sounds – a digital or virtual representation of an actual product or asset. It’s an exact replica, just in digital form. This technology innovation has been around since 2002, so it’s not a new consideration for manufacturers. But other technological advancements have made digital twins much more attainable – namely, IoT. The ability to create digital twins comes down to the collection of data and IoT is one of the best aggregators of data.
The more data collected; the better computational model can be built. The digital twin then serves as a test subject, whether it’s rolling out a prototype and testing various scenarios against it or simulating manufacturing with a production line. Or it can serve as an early warning beacon for predictive maintenance. Either way, it is a low-risk enhancement to smart manufacturing. Edge computing is what makes digital twins possible, which is why it is now a more realistic option for factories. The speed and low latency of 5G help bring computing closer to operations than sending data to a data center, cloud, or hybrid, and back, which creates both time lag and cost constraints.
5G is anticipated to enhance robotics on the manufacturing floor. Currently, robotics is used by collecting data via sensors and then communicating through specialized software to perform actions. But to reach full potential, and for robotics to communicate with each other and fully automate the process, faster computing and data communication is necessary, both through 5G and edge computing.
With the ability to communicate in near real-time through low latency, as well as the reliability and bandwidth to support so much data processing, robotics will become a more viable option across this vertical. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Artificial intelligence and machine learning will both piggyback off IoT and enhance IoT-enabled solutions. Robotics, predictive maintenance, digital twins – so many of the technological advancements bandied about when discussing Industry 4.0 are going to be reliant on data-trained algorithms. AI and machine learning are incredibly data-hungry, and the more quality data fed, the better the results. IoT pairs perfectly by collecting quality data through sensors, and powerful connectivity can support the wealth of connected devices.
Machine Vision for Plant Management
Using cameras as sensors, machine vision is going to be another technological advancement enabled by 5G. For manufacturing, using machine vision for plant management will be a prominent application. Product inspection, quality control, reading barcodes, and improving employee safety are several of the ways machine learning can benefit the industrial sector. The latency and bandwidth for this automated operation is what will be supported by 5G. Images and data transferred through this solution can be done quickly and at scale by leveraging the latest network generation.
With new technological advancements coming to market and on the horizon, it is important to hear from the industry on where these trends are headed and how to prepare, including who the major players are in the market. KORE expert Jason Dietrich will join the panel, “Who is Reshaping the Industry 4.0 Ecosystem?” on November 7 from 12:20 to 1 p.m. ET to give insight and details into the 5G era of Industrial IoT.
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