Reliable wireless connectivity to accelerate Industry 4.0

Dedicated cellular networks are now opening the door for manufacturers looking to unlock the potential of the Internet of Things on factory and warehouse floors. They need look no further than Ericsson Industry Connect.

A worker using a tablet in a warehouse
Zia Syed

CTO & Head of Product Engineering, Advanced Industries

Ericsson today introduced Ericsson Industry Connect, an easy-to-use cellular connectivity solution to accelerate Industry 4.0 digital transformation. Industry Connect enables communication service providers to offer dedicated cellular networks at factories and warehouses starting with 4G/LTE, with a clear path to 5G.

Industry Connect has advanced cellular connectivity in its DNA, setting it apart from conventional connectivity solutions. It is capable of wirelessly linking more devices than before, of managing connected devices and machines more securely than before, and of interconnecting everything to be able to orchestrate intelligent collaboration and adaptive production better than before. This contributes to productivity and agility gains.

The offering strengthens Ericsson’s private networks and IoT portfolios by making 4G and 5G technologies accessible to new industrial markets.

Why industries need advanced connectivity

Most industries are facing constant pressure – to improve product quality, boost productivity, stay competitive and remain profitable. Continuing to drive rationalization within industry is resulting, at best, in marginal gains. Industry 4.0 offers tremendous opportunities for industry. Connected factories alone can generate up to $3.7 trillion a year in value by 2025, representing the single largest opportunity for economic gain among industries.

It is clear there is much at stake.

Global management consultants McKinsey & Company refer to Industry 4.0 as ‘lean’s next level’ or ‘digitally enabled lean’ manufacturing. A WEF-McKinsey report, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Beacons of Technology and Innovation in Manufacturing”, suggests that next-gen manufacturing is already yielding results. The report details productivity, agility and customization gains based on use cases from so-called ‘lighthouse factories’, a select group of manufacturing sites that are illuminating the way forward to leaner manufacturing. The improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs) are telling:

—     Up to 200% increase in factory output

—     Up to 160% increase in productivity

—     Up to 90% reduction in quality control costs, inventory, lead time, time to market and lot size

—     Up to 70% less time spent on production line changeovers

—     Up to 50% increase in energy efficiency

Industry Connect implementation at a factory or warehouse

 

Driving digital transformation across industrial environments

Ericsson Industry Connect simplifies industrial digital transformation using a dedicated cellular network to connect smart machines and complex IoT applications into a single, seamless and unified whole. Because the dedicated network is based on licensed spectrum, it is not subject to the congestion experienced using wireless technologies over unlicensed spectrum. This means that applications that demand higher bandwidth and lower latency get just that – without those pesky dead spots that disrupt production.

With industrial-grade wireless connectivity, opportunities abound. From tracking low-cost, energy-efficient devices across the warehouse floor to immersive step-by-step instruction using augmented reality. From collaborative robotics for automated operations to remote control for autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) through toimplementing new production lines or changeovers in existing ones without expensive, time-consuming re-cabling.

Industrial IoT made easy

Ericsson Industry Connect makes it easy for industrial enterprises to increase agility, productivity, safety and security across the industrial work floor.

Become more agile. When machines are no longer tied to a location, it is quicker, easier and less costly to retool production lines to meet changing customer requirements, whether reconfiguring a production line or changing up the warehouse layout to cope with a peak season rush.

Become more productive. The more connected devices, the higher the improvements in productivity. Industry Connect makes it possible to increase uptime and asset utilization because better connectivity enables predictive maintenance to help minimize machine breakdowns. It also enhances product quality due to advanced process monitoring, product inspection and expert real-time remote assistance, when required.

Ensure safety and security. Advanced connectivity makes the workplace safer by connecting environmental sensors and by enabling collision avoidance for connected machines and vehicles. And because digital trust is key, it also ensures higher data security. Industry Connect uses LTE protocols to encrypt data end-to-end and keeps data on-premise unless it is authorized to be shared.

Be prepared. Many wireless use cases in the factory or warehouse can be addressed with 4G (LTE). Because Ericsson Industry Connect is currently based on 4G with a path to 5G, enterprises can start today and move to 5G when the time is right.

While Ericsson is building 5G and laying the digital foundations of a more connected world, Industry Connect is laying those same foundations in industrial facilities, making it possible to connect more devices and machines and making leaner manufacturing possible.

Understand the benefits of cellular connectivity as the foundation of Industry 4.0.

Understand the benefits of cellular connectivity as the foundation of Industry 4.0.

 

Standardized connectivity package that’s easy to install and use

There’s a lot to like about Ericsson Industry Connect. It’s a standardized package that comes with everything you need to introduce a dedicated wireless network to your facility. It’s easy to set up and easy to deploy because it is ready to use out of the box.

It’s also easy to manage through the cloud. An intuitive, user-friendly portal provides an overview of all connected sites, network equipment and devices. The portal also makes it easy to manage users, devices and data analytics and to monitor key performance indicators.

What’s more, Industry Connect has a compact footprint. The base package takes fits nicely into an existing IT shelf, and eight radio dots hang from the ceiling for seamless and secure coverage of a 6000-square-meter factory or warehouse floor. Expansion packages are available to cover additional space.

Innovative by design

Industry Connect started at Ericsson Silicon Valley. With a design thinking mindset, we built a customer-centric solution that is familiar and intuitive for users in industrial environments. The team worked closely with manufacturing and distribution professionals to understand their challenges and to build a solution that would meet their needs.

We expect that Industry Connect will be an engine for innovation for Industry 4.0 visionaries developing next-generation factory and warehouse technology.

Curious? Keep reading about Ericsson Industry Connect.

Come and see us Hannover Messe, Ericsson Booth, Hall 8, D28-D32.

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Zia Syed
Zia Syed is the Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Engineering for Advanced Industries at Ericsson. Based out of Silicon Valley California, Zia leads a global team that is creating wireless connectivity solutions for industries. Entrepreneur at heart, Zia is a full stack technologist with an extensive background in building distributed systems.
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