Cellular technologies for Industry 4.0 – Ericsson, Fraunhofer IPT and GF at IMTS | Ericsson Research Blog

Ericsson Research Blog

Research, insights and technology reflections

Cellular technologies for Industry 4.0 – Ericsson, Fraunhofer IPT and GF at IMTS

The Industrial Manufacturing Show takes place September 10-15 in Chicago. For 90 years, IMTS has been the premier manufacturing technology show in the northern hemisphere with 2000+ exhibitors and over 100 000 visitors. Ericsson will join Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IP and Georg Fischer Machining Solutions to present our joint collaboration on adaptive manufacturing, where production of engine components is optimized in real time.

This is the first time the 5G manufacturing application will be showcased on US soil.

The use case we demonstrate is production of Blade-Integrated-Disks, BLISK.


When milling components at high speeds, like with BLISK, excessive vibrations can occur resulting in irreparable surface defects. Before, production could not be monitored or adjusted during milling, given the hazardous process with water and quick motions. Controlling components only once production is done can lead to defective products, sunk costs and rework of up to 25%.

To reduce errors in production, real-time monitoring of vibration data is necessary as well as quick reaction times to control milling heads. To adjust parameters before irrevocable damage is done, sensor data and cutting control must all happen in under one millisecond.

Wired, or unlicensed solutions like wireless LAN, have not been able to meet the use case’s demands, but our research has shown that 5G and cellular wireless can deliver with its ultra-low latency and high reliability. With 5G enabled process monitoring, manufacturers can save resources, while offering shorter lead-times and returning higher yield.

Due to high-value components, complex production and high safety regulations and standards, the aeronautic industry has been identified as a potential early adopter of 5G networks. Other sectors in manufacturing are sure to follow as industries switch to more data-driven and flexible manufacturing.

The aim of Fraunhofer IPT, GF and Ericsson is now to further develop the wireless sensor and connections for real time data analysis, ensuring adaptive control of production processes with extremely short reaction times.

Another benefit of continuous monitoring is that production and sensor data is stored for each product, creating digital twins for better quality design, accurate documentation and analytics. If defects arise, the data can pinpoint where the fault originated and the production can be optimized.

This technology, thanks to its interoperability and limitless capabilities, is the perfect fit for our current analytics-based in-process development. As such, it is a great enabler of our digitalization road map, says Benoit Defrasne, Head of Marketing and Product Management Milling at GF Machining Solutions.

Industry 4.0 will rely on increasingly fast, secure, and often wireless, data transfers to optimize operations, increase automation and mitigate risk in manufacturing environments. The potential fields of applications and use cases for 5G in manufacturing are numerous. The technology will be especially suitable for use cases needing mobility, like with AGVs and high speed warehouse assembly.

“The International Center for Networked Adaptive Production (ICNAP) in Aachen will gather partners from the ICT and manufacturing industries to address all relevant questions in the context of digitalization of production. 5G is currently one of the major topics for the ICNAP,” says Niels König, Manager of the Production Metrology Department and Coordinator of 5G activities at the Fraunhofer IPT.

Manufacturers selected communication standard determines the type of application, the quality of the data and whether or not machines, sensors, robots can be securely managed and interconnected through one network.

“Cellular networks like 4G/LTE and the evolution to 5G provide one simple, secure and smart wireless solution for critical and massive IIoT, handling growing network, data and application demands of Industry 4.0,” says Erik Josefsson, Head of Advanced Industries, Ericsson.

The three partners will showcase their latest collaboration for real-time, adaptive manufacturing at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), September 10th to 15th, 2018, in Chicago at the Fraunhofer booth #121815 in the East Building and the GF Machining Solutions booth 338754 in the South Hall.

Find out more on how 5G and cellular technologies can support digitalization and address challenges and opportunities in different industries:

Partner profiles

Fraunhofer IPT

The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany, brings together many years of knowledge and experience from all fields of production technology. In the areas of process technology, production machines, production quality and metrology as well as technology management, Fraunhofer IPT offers its customers applied research and development for a networked, adaptive production. The institute’s range of services is orientated towards the individual tasks and challenges within certain industries, technologies and product areas, including automotive and supply, energy, life sciences, aviation, mechanical and plant engineering, optics, precision and micro technology as well as tool and mold making. The Fraunhofer IPT currently employs a staff of approx. 460, working on projects in 9,000 m² facilities, 5,000 m² of which are used as laboratories and machining workshops. As a close partner of the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation CMI in Boston (MA) Fraunhofer IPT also enables long-term technology transfer between European and American industries.

GF Machining Solutions

GF Machining Solutions is the world’s leading provider of machines, diverse technical solutions and services not only to the tool and mold making industry but also to manufacturers of precision components. The portfolio ranges from electrical discharge machines, high-speed and high-performance Milling machines—including clamping and palletization systems, 3D Laser surface texturing machines and Spindles—to solutions for Tooling and Automation, services, spare parts, expendable parts, consumables and Digitalization solutions. GF Machining Solutions is a globally acting Division of the Georg Fischer Group (Switzerland) and maintains a presence on 50 sites worldwide within its own organization. Its 3’255 employees generated sales of CHF 992 million in 2017.

Ida Elisabeth Sørlie

Ida Elisabeth Sørlie is a business development & marketing manager in the Business Area emerging business. Her current focus is on Ericsson’s Smart Wireless Manufacturing offering, introducing cellular connectivity in Industry 4.0.

Ida Elisabeth Sørlie