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The world's first cellular IoT-based Smart Factory

Factory automation with the latest cellular IoT technology improves efficiency and results. Combining cellular IoT and Industry 4.0, the Nanjing located Ericsson Panda factory is continuously exploring ways to optimize manufacturing processes. Recently celebrating its 1,000th cellular IoT device the factory sees great results. The first year provided a 50% return on investment, while breakeven is projected to be reached in less than two years.

Smart Factory

By automating and streamlining production, maintenance, and with immersed data analysis, Ericsson Panda now sees savings in both CAPEX and OPEX. Savings come from increased efficiency, fewer human errors, increased reliability, nearly zero downtime, and improved service life for tools and equipment.

To optimize tool maintenance, increase uptime of critical assets, as well as keeping track of goods and equipment, the factory used narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M/Cat-M1 in the factory. Now, more than half of the factory’s 1,000 high-precision screwdrivers has been connected, workstations wirelessly communicate with a smarter Andon system, steel pallets are geo-tracked, and fire extinguishers are equipped with liberation sensors. These measures not only streamline operations –they contribute to an increasingly safe work environment.


Challenge

Critical equipment with expensive downtime, requiring routine calibration and lubrication based on manually tracked utilization times. Manual and cost-intensive maintenance procedure performed periodically and documented in hand-written logs. Communications and inventory were not automated.


Solution

NB-IoT and LTE-M/Cat-M1 were implemented for secure communication with low-cost and simplified devices, like ADI motion sensors. Data collected from tools and equipment is analyzed in a secure cloud environment, optimizing maintenance, usage, and location of critical equipment.


Result

Early on, a significant reduction in maintenance material costs was visible, and manual maintenance work costs have been cut in half, saving US$10,000 annually.

The first year showed a 50 % return on investment, and breakeven is projected within two years.

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