5G in industrial production
Opportunities and limitations
Industry 4.0, smart factories, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – these are the key words that describe the future of industrial manufacturing. If production facilities and logistics want to master the challenges of the digital age, then they need to establish the right IT environment, relevant interfaces, data transfer and processing as well as comprehensive connectivity. The new 5G communications standard can open up new perspectives for this. This umlaut white paper details how 5G can create real added value for production companies and create the factories of the future. The aim is completely digitalised and interconnected factory and production networks for greater flexibility, efficiency and autonomy.
Thanks to the properties of new technologies – adapted cell sizes, low latency times, high data rates and increased security – industrial 5G networks are able to offer the connectivity required for the networking and automation of production. However, a 5G campus network comes at a high cost for industrial companies and requires specific competencies. Because of this, a decision is based on various factors – the extent of the digitalisation of production and the IT structure already in use, the number of plant goods/units/assets that need to be connected and the digitalisation strategy and the company’s dependence on real-time.
The white paper, presented in a web tool, analyses the application of Industry 4.0 technologies and trends as well as their communication and connectivity requirements. It investigates how 5G can create benefits for production compared to other telecommunication standards – using both current and future usage case studies.
The white paper is structured around two main focuses. In one, the telecommunication technologies WiFi 4/5, WiFi 6, 4G and 5G are compared with each other. The technical details are considered, and from this the resulting properties and abilities as well as advantages and disadvantages of each of the technologies are shown.
The second focus of the paper defines Industry 4.0, describes mechanisms of the value added by new production technologies and trends. Different groups of usage case studies are classified by their value added mechanisms and degree of automation, and their respective connectivity requirements are shown. In order to make the value added by 5G networks visible, the connectivity requirements of the usage case studies have been abstracted, separated into different categories and the different telecommunications standards of WiFi, 4G and 5G have been compared to see how they fulfil them. In this way, the appropriate technologies for each of the usage case studies have been identified and their limiting factors have been demonstrated.
Many of the usage cases can be mapped and are implemented with WiFi connectivity. However, limitations increase with increasing complexity. This is because the connectivity requirements increase with increasing automation levels.
For usage cases that map Industry 4.0 in its entirety, 5G can turn production visions into reality.