Ericsson and Audi are stepping up their 5G collaboration by testing Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) capabilities for factory automation at the car manufacturer’s P-Labs facility in Germany.
Smart factories of the future with automated production systems featuring robots and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) will be driven in large part by 5G connectivity.
Standardized protocols for automation communications – PROFINET and PROFIsafe – demand very low latency and strict latency bounds with required guarantee levels to avoid triggering safety stops in the system. 5G URLLC capabilities meets these high demands with greater mobility, flexibility, efficiency and safety in the production lines.
At Audi’s P-Labs in Gaimersheim, Germany, Ericsson’s 5G system is already live in a real factory environment. Now, plans are underway to introduce 5G URLLC capabilities to the existing system for more advanced factory automation and personnel safety use cases.
Ericsson and Audi have successfully tested the 5G URLLC capabilities at Ericsson’s factory lab in Sweden and the next step is to bring these capabilities to Audi P-Labs in Germany. Replacing wires in automated factories, 5G URLLC increases flexibility in the production and assembly process while also reducing personnel safety risks.
Henning Löser, Head of Production Lab, Audi, says “As part of our project with Ericsson that was announced in 2018, we continue to test the possibilities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory. 5G connects all the dots in our production environment, resulting in tremendous flexibility improvements, enhanced connectivity and a complete reimagining of what safe human-robot collaboration can look like.”
Marie Hogan, Head of Mobile Broadband & IoT, Ericsson, says: “5G URLLC will provide wireless connectivity that meets the performance demands of industrial automation. The door has been opened, and advanced use cases and Critical IoT applications are now possible with the benefits of greater flexibility, mobility, and efficiency for production automation. Cutting the cables is the real game changer in enabling Industry 4.0.”
Ericsson and Audi first announced their collaboration to pioneer 5G for automotive manufacturing in August 2018. Since then, the partners have made concrete strides to address complex use cases that could never be solved before in flexible production and industry automation, as well as a complete reimagining of what safe human-robot collaboration can look like.