UK launches 5G factory trials in Worcestershire
Companies already testing 5G in industrial environments are Worcester Bosch and Yamazaki Mazak
The U.K.’s first live 5G factory trials have been launched at the Worcestershire 5G Testbed, according to the U.K.-government-backed Worcestershire 5G Consortium.
The smart factory trials allow manufacturers to test the potential of 5G investments from factory floor production, reconfiguration and real-time analysis, to steering a machine’s movements from a remote location, according to the consortium.
Engineering company Worcester Bosch is testing 5G to support improved factory output, exploring preventative maintenance using internet of things sensors and data analytics to predict failure. Meanwhile, multinational defense company QinetiQ has been designing security into the network and applications known as “security by design”, the consortium added.
Global manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak is also using 5G to conduct trials that will demonstrate how 5G can be used to enhance factory productivity. 5G will be used for two troubleshooting applications, one of which allows senior engineers to remotely guide onsite engineers through machine maintenance.
The trials will all test end-to-end application performance, taking initial measures of 5G speeds and latency.
“Going live with the UK.’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,” said 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.”
Carl Arntzen, CEO at Worcester Bosch, said that his company is “delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow. 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.”
“Our 5G testbeds are being rolled out across the country and it’s great to see that the Worcestershire trial is now underway,” said Margot James, minister of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The Worcestershire 5G testbed and trials is designed to provide a platform for industries in the U.K. to develop and test the technology. The Worcestershire 5G Consortium, led by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, is comprised of global experts and partners including the 5GIC at the University of Surrey, AWTG, Huawei, O2, BT, Heart of Worcestershire and the University of Worcestershire.