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smart manufacturing - a more connected industry

Manufacturing a more connected industry


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The manufacturing sector is facing significant challenges impacting operations and growth, including a shortage of skilled labor, rising costs, global supply chain disruptions and cybersecurity threats. To overcome these barriers, manufacturers are investing in Industry 4.0 with advancements such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital twins.

Making manufacturing smarter: connecting machines, people and data

In today's rapidly changing manufacturing landscape, adaptability is no longer an option. By 2030, smart manufacturing will host an impressive USD 4.7 billion wireless modules with a cumulative value over USD 1 trillion.

The power of private cellular networks allows manufacturers to establish a seamless and secure connectivity foundation, enhancing productivity, streamlining efficiency and lowering operating costs while prioritizing the safety and availability of critical assets.

At Ericsson, we're enabling the factory of the future — today.

Ericsson’s cellular technology is empowering manufacturers to:

Create agility

by operating with more flexible factory layouts

Advance operations

by allowing efficiency-boosting technologies like AR and Autonomous Mobile Robots

Unlock intelligence

by transforming data into actionable insights that raise productivity and sustainability

Are your smart manufacturing programs leading the pack? Find out.

Take our free Smart Manufacturing Maturity Assessment to analyze and benchmark your smart manufacturing maturity and readiness against your peers. Then dive into our recommendations to help you grow in your smart manufacturing capabilities and maximize your return on investments.

Learn more

Why are 5G private networks essential for autonomous things?

Download this joint IndustryWeek/Ericsson report to understand how autonomous things, such as drones, robots and other intelligent machines, are crucially important in the factory environment. Learn valuable insights about the advanced connectivity required for their operation and how they enhance productivity and increase efficiency to forge a smarter manufacturing future.

Download paper

Connected manufacturing: A guide to Industry 4.0 transformation with private cellular technology

Ericsson and Hexagon examined five different smart manufacturing use cases that will enable manufacturers to conduct their operations more efficiently: autonomous mobile robots (AMR), collaborative robots, digital twins, augmented reality and asset condition monitoring. Based on the Connected Manufacturing report, the value calculator will show you the tangible cost savings of adopting cellular technology in your facility.


Value calculator
Enabling smarter warehouses for your smart factory

In this podcast, SME Media senior editor Steve Plumb talks with Per Treven, director of business development-manufacturing for Ericsson, about the importance of warehouse digitalization as part of your smart factory strategy.

Listen now

Create agility

Creating more flexible factories floors

There are many challenges facing the manufacturing industry. A major hurdle is that enacting design changes in the production line is often difficult and time consuming. Factory layouts need to be more flexible to meet customer expectations of faster delivery and more customized products.

With many factories having wired connectivity, these fixed assets make it difficult to reconfigure the facility, whether to make custom products or shift to a new product line.

But now, private wireless cellular networks are making the factory floor into much more agile environments.

Use cases

Getting flexible with layouts

Cellular-equipped factory layouts can be reconfigured instantly to adapt to changing requirements and products. That means manufacturers can meet customer demand of more customized products. This is vital, as a 2018 study from Protolabs revealed that 86% of consumers say customization appeals to them.

AMRs: workhorse of smart factories

Autonomous Mobile Robots offer many benefits, such as freeing up forklift operators to do other factory tasks, and improving worker safety since robots can easily maneuver through hazardous environments. Plus, they handle materials much more accurately, so can eliminate up to 30% of typical scrap.

Advance operations

The new building blocks of productivity

By automating operations, manufacturers can forge a more efficient production process that dramatically increases yields, improves product quality, and reduces waste.

This level of automation requires robust wireless connectivity. And private networks are supplying the reliability and security needed to realize connected manufacturing.

These smarter factories offer productivity-boosting technologies such as robotic assistance, rich visualization tools, and augmented reality.

In addition to the financial benefit, smarter manufacturing creates a substantial triple bottom line improvement - with an increase in safety for workers, plus a kinder environmental impact through reduced scrap and emissions.

Use cases

The digital twin is born

By creating a digital replica of physical assets, digital twins let manufacturers streamline the production environment without physically changing anything. Manufacturers can produce useable insights for both process and factory, letting them plan for future states with “what-if” scenarios, while giving them the full control to implement change.

Cobots rising, quality rising

Collaborative robots, or cobots, work side by side with operators to conduct both manufacturing tasks and quality inspections. Using cobots means factories can inspect every product part - not just samples - and in less time, so can help raise overall product quality.

Reality check: inspections with AR

Another benefit of augmented reality within a manufacturing environment is the impact on quality inspections. It provides human inspectors with visualizations that increase accuracy and reduce time spent checking, and uses real-time hazard and maintenance sensing to ensure product quality remains high.

Unlock intelligence

Data-driven means efficiency-driven

As operations become more digitalized and data-driven, manufacturers will be able to use this data to optimize production while decreasing their expenses.

Ericsson’s connectivity empowers manufacturers to capture, collect, and evaluate a mountain of data that can unlock actionable insights.

These insights can be used to make more informed decisions, make the workplace safer, train employees better, and increase sustainability.

Use case

Best asset for maintenance

Asset condition monitoring allows predictive maintenance, which uses data collected by sensors to reveal exactly when maintenance is needed. This intelligent tracking of machines reduces factory downtime and enables a more sustainable use of machinery by expanding their lifespan.

Featured content

Unlocking the Smart Factory: Why 5G Private Networks are Essential for Autonomous Things

Smart manufacturing is here, and new technologies such as autonomous things are accelerating the journey for many businesses. Read this blog to learn how 5G private networks are essential for these technologies, offering manufacturers the security and capacity to enhance efficiency, safety and ROI. 

How are manufacturers gaining a competitive edge with private 5G networks?

Download this report by IndustryWeek/Ericsson to understand how manufacturers are using private 5G networks. Learn valuable insights from the field about how they are enhancing productivity and delivering more productive outcomes within the adoption process. 

Smart Factory inspections with private 5G

Smart Factory inspections with private 5G, using robotic dogs, exemplifies the transformative potential of smart factories.

Do you know where you are in your smart manufacturing journey?

As business leaders strive to become competitive and resilient, they recognize a need for digital transformation. Assess your smart manufacturing maturity through a short survey which analyzes and benchmarks your progress. Then dive into recommendations to grow in your smart manufacturing capabilities and maximize ROI.

How is cellular connectivity achieving smart manufacturers’ goals?

Download this report by IndustryWeek/Ericsson to understand how manufacturers are considering and adopting private 5G cellular networks within their infrastructures.

Digitalize your manufacturing process

Private cellular networks – and 5G in particular – will play a critical role in enabling smart manufacturing and allowing the industry to overcome key challenges. We have looked at what can drive payback quickly, whilst future proofing operations.

How 5G-Driven and Computer Vision Solutions are Transforming Manufacturing

A joint discussion between Hitachi Astemo, AWS and Ericsson

Why manufacturers continue to explore and adopt private cellular networks

A recent study conducted by Endeavor Business Intelligence and IndustryWeek on behalf of Ericsson probed the current understanding and use of private 5G cellular networks in manufacturing.

Case summary: Making manufacturing smarter through seamless connectivity

How manufacturers across the globe are deploying 4G/5G wireless private networks as part of the industry's digital transformation

Video | Ericsson at Automate: Demystifying 5G’s role in manufacturing

Understand how digitalization is occurring with manufacturers today and what is the value.

Future of Enterprises #3 – Time to rethink resilience

This report explores what resilience means, strategies enterprises use today and ways to build resilience against future disruptive events.

USA 5G Smart Factory expansion: Ensuring supply chain resilience and accelerating new product development

Ericsson announces an exciting expansion at Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas to add new product introduction to the facility. Read on to find out why that’s so exciting.

Case | Smart manufacturing with CBRS

How can Industry 4.0 increase efficiency without compromising safety? Ericsson’s 5G-powered Smart Factory in Texas is exploring dozens of new use cases to revolutionize production using Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) technology. Discover the flexibility CBRS-based wireless enables, and how it can help you reach your manufacturing goals.

Case | Production goes wireless for efficiency and sustainability

The key to smart manufacturing is wireless connectivity that enables mobility for connected devices, agility in operations, and an ever-increasing level of device density.

Ericsson USA 5G Smart Factory

At the Ericsson USA 5G smart factory, we assemble the equipment that will power 5G networks across the U.S. The factory is a full scale operation realizing the potential of 5G with Industry 4.0 to enable intelligent automation and leverage real time data across operations.

Report | The rise of the smarter, swifter, safer production employee

Automation and worker safety are top of mind for manufacturer’s driving digital transformation initiatives. Read our report to learn how production tools will contribute to the transformation of manufacturing.

Blog post | 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. 

Report | How to improve ROI for Industry 4.0 use cases

No factory can risk being left behind in the transition to smart manufacturing. If a factory fails to innovate its product and production process, it risks incurring a Cost of Inaction (COI), which is the cost of the lost opportunity.

Watch the on-demand webinar entitled "How Manufacturers Can Strategically Empower the Next Generation Workforce."

Explore how manufacturers are adopting new work methodologies to address skill and competency gaps in the workforce.

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