The U.K. switched on its first ever 5G factory trial today, February 13, 2019. The U.K. government-backed Worcestershire 5G Consortium has used the Worcester Bosch factory in the city of Worcester as the test bed for its new smart factory technology.
This is the first time that 5G technology has been used in a factory setting in the U.K., moving U.K industry closer towards Industry 4.0 or the fourth generation of the industrial revolution: the introduction of smart technology. The first industrial revolution involved the use of water in manufacturing; the second was the introduction of electricity; and, the third was computerization.
Engineering giant Worcester Bosch is testing 5G in the hope that it will help improve its factory output and assist it in scoping out preventative maintenance measures through IoT sensors and data analytics and so predict potential failures that can be rectified before they impact. Using security-by-design applications created by international defense company QinetiQ, the Worcester Bosch factory will also be looking to make its network ultra secure with the help of 5G.
Japanese manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak is also involved in the 5G factory trial and it is running tests at the unit to show how 5G can enhance factory productivity, by allowing a senior engineer to remotely guide an onsite engineer through machine maintenance, for example.
“We are delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow,” said Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch. “It’s important to our business to have the real-time element 5G brings so that we can react in real time in the factory environment to mitigate any losses in output and protect and grow our business bottom line.”
All the trials will be testing end-to-end application performance, taking initial measures of 5G speeds and latency. “Going live with the U.K.’s first 5G factory trials marks a monumental step in delivering the vision of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed to bring a productivity increase to the manufacturing sector and the U.K. economy,” added Mark Stansfeld, chair of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed and Trials. “We are proud of the collaboration between all consortium members in making this happen and will be working closely to deliver the expected results from the live 5G trials.”
It looks like 5G could be about to make restoring and developing factory settings a whole lot easier.
U.K. Switches On Inaugural 5G Factory Trial Marking The Start Of The Fourth Industrial Revolution – Forbes