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Powering the Grid with 5G Connectivity

May 28, 2020
Industry leaders collaborate to demonstrate 5G capabilities in industrial settings with a private network deployment.

As more 5G deployments become realities, it will be the numerous private network deployments that ultimately serve as the business cases for the wireless technology’s potential, especially for today’s more progressive manufacturers and industrial environments.

Using the 5G-ready Ericsson Industry Connect, ABB Power Grids is integrating more digital solutions into its transformer factory in Ludvika, Sweden to increase productivity and performance. The project represents the first in Sweden to commercially use the latest version of the Ericsson Industry Connect 5G-ready network in a fully operating manufacturing site.

The project is taking part leveraging a phased approach. As an initial step, the Ludvika factory is connecting essential tools such as cordless screwdrivers as part of its digitalization process. Further on, handheld computers will also be connected in order to improve connectivity quality and efficiency compared to their current solution.  

Erik Josefsson, head of advanced industries at Ericsson, tells IndustryWeek, “The factory hopes to benefit from 5G by having a dedicated shop floor wireless network that is secure and stable enough to connect live production machines without being limited to cabling,” he says. “The key benefits are increasing efficiency by getting data from machines and tools which before was not possible or too challenging and attracting as well as retaining talent by having the latest technical infrastructure that future proofs production.”

The project is a collaboration between communications service provider Telia, system integrator AFRY (formerly ÅF Pöyry), ABB Power Grids and Ericsson. The collaboration shows how ecosystem partners come together to enable digital transformation for smart manufacturing. The partners have deployed, integrated and managed the 5G-ready dedicated cellular network to enable flexible, efficient and improved production quality.

"We are reviewing remote management of different processes to improve security, efficiency, and quality aspects. Another example is the optimization and remote monitoring of our drying facilities, which operates 24/7 and requires monitoring," says Tobias Hansson, Site manager, ABB Power Grids in Ludvika and Senior Vice President, Power Transformers in Europe at ABB. "It is important to continue to be a pioneer. For more than a century, ABB has delivered innovations that have changed the world.  I think that it is vital that we invest in new technology to develop our business."

According to Magnus Leonhardt, Innovation and Business Director, Telia Sweden, "With a dedicated network, ABB Power Grids now have access to a robust and secure infrastructure to support critical data streams between different systems in a connected factory. It is also an innovation platform to test new technologies with partners. We are now discussing how to connect more of the production in the factory to accelerate the company’s digital transformation."

The continued deployment of LTE and 5G are create new possibilities for industrial. By deploying a dedicated network in a fully operational factory, ABB Power Grids have access to a fast, robust, and secure network solution which is required for secure data intelligence. With this deployment, the Ericsson Industry 4.0 ecosystem is rapidly expanding with over 30 official device partners, nine application partners and seven system integrators to date. The global partnership between Ericsson and ABB extends across research, business and factory connectivity.

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Technology Editor

As a highly experienced journalist, Peter Fretty regularly covers advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.

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