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5G partnerships for smart factories


5G partnerships for smart factories

Deutsche Telekom is further expanding its 5G ecosystem for the industry. In addition to the partnership with network supplier Ericsson, smart production specialists EK Automation, Konica Minolta and Endress+Hauser are joining the team. With its campus networks, network operator Telekom offers an infrastructure for the smart factory of tomorrow. Each partner contributes specific know-how from the field of Industry 4.0.

EK Automation GmbH has been manufacturing automated guided vehicle systems since 1980. Together with the Telekom incubator Hubraum, the company equipped transport robots with 3D cameras this summer. For the first time, the technicians integrated a 3D obstacle detection with dynamic route planning into the Edge Cloud. The transport robot sends the 3D camera images to the cloud for analysis almost in real time via the Telekom 5G network. This enabled the vehicle to immediately avoid obstacles placed in the roadway.
"The new 5G mobile communications standard with data rates of more than one gigabit per second opens up new possibilities for us. For example, we can coordinate many transport robots in this way," explains Jan Drömer, CIO of EK Automation.

Konica Minolta has over 140 years of experience in optical systems. Together with Deutsche Telekom, the company is further developing its AIRe Lens, lightweight augmented reality glassesthat can e. g. help a technician to assemble machines. It shows step-by-step instructions on the display. The technician keeps his hands free and can also show the situation to an expert at a remote location. In the future, AIRe Lens will deliver data directly via Telekomīs 5G network.

"In combination with Telekomīs network, AIRe Lens enables us to offer our customers a wearable AR solution," says Ikuo Nakagawa. The Senior Executive Officer, Digital Workplace Business Unit, Konica Minolta, Inc. explains: "The AR glasses help our customers to make their production processes more efficient. At the same time, it increases the speed and quality of manufacturing."

Endress+Hauser will be one of the first manufacturers to equip its sensors with mobile radio modules. Thanks to 5G, numerous measuring devices can transmit a wealth of process and device data in parallel and in real time. These can, for example, be evaluated in cloud applications for predictive plant maintenance. "In addition to the actual measured values, our instruments have long recorded a wealth of information from the process and about the sensor. So far, however, this data has hardly been used," says Matthias Altendorf. The CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group adds: "The 5G campus networks open a second signal path that is independent of the control system. This enables us to link value chains more closely across company boundaries and make industrial processes more efficient".

Further partners are already in the starting blocks to make Telekomīs campus networks even more versatile. In the medium term, the company wants to be able to respond to the special needs of all industries.


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