Manufacturing is entering Industry 4.0, in which operational technology (OT), information technology (IT) and communications are merging into “cyber-physical systems.” It provides manufacturers with the opportunity to utilize advanced manufacturing and IT capabilities together throughout the product life cycle, thereby enabling more efficient and sustainable production processes.
While industries have automated many processes, secure wireless connectivity empowers IoT, making intelligent automation possible and simple on much larger scales. By creating a digital foundation, manufacturing will increase productivity and performance, and limit the level of unnecessary human intervention.
Efficient use of natural resources is important to Ericsson as a global company, and we use circular economy thinking and climate awareness to manage our environmental impacts. This includes understanding the effects of our company, products and services, as well as the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to reduce the environmental impacts of other sectors. To prove and measure the benefits of the main enabling technologies, relevant use cases within the manufacturing process have been identified, analyzed and deployed in Ericsson’s own factories.
Selected use cases and their main benefits at Ericsson's Tallinn manufacturing site
Augmented Reality troubleshooting
Troubleshooting of circuit boards is a highly skilled and time-consuming job. Roughly 50 percent of the total time required is spent on searching for information from documents, manuals and schematics. With AR troubleshooting:
- Average fault detection time could be reduced by 15 percent
- There are likely to be fewer component replacements, leading to energy consumption savings, as well as reduced chemical use, waste and scrap
Precise indoor localization
Keeping track of unique components, prototype products and expensive equipment in the factory is a critical, but often manual and time-consuming process. If assets are not located in time, there is a risk of project and production delays. The precise indoor localization system:
- Helps to automate and digitalize asset tracking inside the factory
- Estimates 25 percent efficiency gains compared to manual asset tracking
Work environment monitoring
A safe and healthy working environment is fundamental to our commitment to conduct business responsibly. IoT sensors enable monitoring of the working environment, which helps safeguard workers’ well-being, and better temperature regulation, which decreases energy costs. With this monitoring:
- Expert estimates that 10 to 20 percent of heating costs can be reduced with better coordination of cooling with gas heating, which also results in lower CO2 emissions
Combining cellular networks with industrial IoT
The digital factory
Estonia has a uniquely innovative culture, and Ericsson is one of its largest employers. The spirit of technological innovation is at the core of Estonian identity, and this is more than evident in the Ericsson Tallinn smart factory, which accounts for more than 10 percent of Estonia's exports today.
Watch our film to discover how an innovation-driven workforce empowers Ericsson's production capabilities and fosters the introduction of new smart manufacturing technologies. These include the introduction of a cutting-edge augmented reality troubleshooting solution, that has already more than doubled the team's effectiveness.