Reshaping the factory of the future
Learn how one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of trucks and buses, Scania is driving the shift towards a sustainable transport system, creating a world of mobility that is better for business, society, and the environment. An essential part of this transition is taking place within the factories of Scania. At their Smart Factory Lab, Scania is exploring Industry 4.0 in general and how to use a private cellular network to potentially cut cables and streamline processes on the factory floor. The Lab has become a meeting place for different solution providers within smart manufacturing to jointly test their solutions in a real-life environment.
Scania is a world-leading provider of transportation solutions and is a major Swedish manufacturer of commercial vehicles, specifically, heavy trucks and buses. Their portfolio also includes product-related service offerings and industrial and marine engines. To streamline factory operations, Scania is currently testing cellular connectivity to connect devices that previously used cables or Wi-Fi for connection.
To leverage the early adoption of 4G/5G in their factories, Scania is quantifying the business benefits and opportunities of cellular technologies. They are paving the way for other industrial manufacturers to learn from this case, as many industries are faced with similar questions and issues on how to tackle the digital transformation of current and future factories.
More efficient and flexible production
In the lab, Scania is currently testing wireless cellular connectivity with Ericsson Industry Connect, a dedicated 5G ready private cellular network. Scania identified potential improvements in their production, such as:
- Streamlined networks as 4G/5G technology can address the full range of use cases from massive to critical. The transition from multiple networks (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.) to one network is seamless. There is less network hardware required to cover the same factory area compared to the existing wireless networks such as Wi-Fi.
- Cellular connectivity is reliable for applications such as sensor monitoring and communication with automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
- By removing cables for devices such as hand tools, flexible production increases, and many tasks are managed in the software instead of the hardware.
- Because cables are removed, factory floors are cleaner with more floor space.
- Maintenance costs are lower because cables do not need to be relocated, and there is less wear and tear on cables that move as part of their daily function.
- There are savings on hardware costs as hundreds of control boxes are removed as they are now virtualized and centralized.
- It is easy to add and remove sensors and equipment, resulting in greater flexibility to set-up efficient automation and logistics.
According to Hans Olofsson, Senior Advisor Global Industrial Development, Scania CV, high quality, fast, and secure connectivity in their industrial environment is now an absolute must for Scania. Ericsson Industry Connect has the potential to give them reliable wireless connectivity, which will enable flexibility for use on the factory floor. At Scania, they are driving the shift toward sustainable transport by continuously innovating their products and processes among them, the manufacturing processes.
A closer look at wireless connectivity for industrial manufacturers
In a recent analysis, Ericsson, together with Scania and Atlas Copco, outlined business scenarios in connecting power tools for tightening bolts in a smart factory. The analysis focused on power tools with electric cords or batteries (cordless). These tightening tools can be connected to a cellular network by deploying sensors onto the tools which can track location, status, and efficiency.
Some of the critical drivers for connecting tools include improved safety of the work environment, increased flexibility in production and a way to achieve sustainability goals due to savings in energy costs. The potential business benefits and economic impact of connecting tightening tools include 10-15% less energy consumption, savings on maintenance costs, less need for quality inspections, and fewer tool and installation costs—covering network deployment costs with a payback below three years.
Quantifying future factories
In a recent study, a report from ABI Research, describes the value of Industry 4.0 and why and how connectivity drives future profitability and growth. The report forecasts that the smart manufacturing market will grow to USD 1 trillion by 2030, with 4.3 billion wireless connections. There is a potential gross margin boost of 5% to 13% over five years for factories and warehouses that move to private cellular networks. With these numbers, combined with learnings from industrial manufacturers such as Scania, the potential to reshape the factory of the future looks promising.