Ericsson presents guide to Industry 4.0 transformation

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The latest Ericsson report guides manufacturers on how to overcome challenges such as falling productivity and growth, disruptions in supply chain and legacy wired assets, and details use cases to describe what it takes to thrive in Industry 4.0.

To accelerate the path to smart manufacturing, private cellular networks deliver fast, reliable, and secure connectivity required by manufacturers.

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According to the World Bank, manufacturing accounts for roughly 16% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), making it a critical sector of our global economy.

To stay ahead in this competitive landscape, the latest Ericsson report, “Connected Manufacturing: A guide to Industry 4.0 transformation with private cellular technology,” outlines how manufacturers can benefit from high-performance, secure, and reliable private cellular networks to accelerate intelligent manufacturing. With the current pandemic disrupting manufacturing operations and supply logistics, gearing up for Industry 4.0 is more prevalent than ever.

We worked with our Industry 4.0 partner, Hexagon, to research and identify the most relevant, mature examples of smart manufacturing. Based on real-world criteria and expert insights, the resulting five use cases describe how companies can rise above challenges, improve manufacturing efficiency, increase productivity, reduce maintenance, and realize returns on investment. Use cases deploying private cellular networks to enable smart manufacturing include:

Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for real-time production chain automation
Collaborative robots (Cobots) for more efficient operations
Augmented reality (AR) for efficient quality inspections
Asset condition monitoring for increased uptime
Digital twin for optimized operations

When analyzing these use cases, a baseline factory was applied: a mid-sized automotive supplier in Western Europe with USD 100 million in revenue, approximately 500 employees, and a gross profit of 10%. The report estimates the yearly steady-state net value would reach USD 6 million for the baseline factory in year five. All five use cases would pay for themselves in three to five years, and if deployed together, complete payback would be achieved in just two years.

The report also describes the main challenges manufacturers must overcome to remain competitive. Falling productivity and growth, supply chain disruption, recruiting the right talent, and the burden of legacy machinery and assets are some of the obstacles. Maintaining and reconfiguring wired fixed assets is also costly. As manufacturers upgrade their infrastructure, the need for data security and protection against cyber-attacks becomes a priority. Meeting customer expectations of rapid customization require that factories must be extremely flexible so that production can be adapted quickly.

Manufacturers are increasingly seeing the value of a private cellular network to make their business more agile and competitive. Ericsson’s Dedicated Networks can help – by providing a fit for purpose, high-performance, and agile private network, guaranteeing manufacturers the connectivity and security it needs.

Sachin Mathur, Head of Partnerships, Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, says, “Developed in partnership with Ericsson, this report reveals how connecting equipment and personnel within a modern factory environment can deliver increases in productivity and agility. These insights demonstrate the value of deploying a private cellular network and how low latency connectivity can help manufacturers overcome their challenges and support their transition to Industry 4.0 by connecting data from operations and quality.”

Thomas Norén, Head of Dedicated Networks, Ericsson, says, “This guide and use cases present a leap forward for smart manufacturing and the many opportunities and efficiencies to be gained. Ericsson is a solution partner that manufacturers can rely on for the fast, reliable, secure connectivity that only a 5G-ready private cellular network can provide.”