Industrial 5G will be ‘centre of digitalization for years to come’, says Siemens
Private industrial 5G will be at the heart of manufacturing production from 2021, Siemens has said, as the industrial giant continues to move ahead with test networks at its electronics works in Amberg and automotive centre in Nuremburg, both in Germany.
Both deployments use Siemens’ own privately-held spectrum in the 3.7-3.8GHz band, made available by the German state telecoms regulator BNetzA specifically to spur digital transformation of the country’s industrial sector.
“Industrial 5G will contribute to our factories in the future. We’ve already got approval from BNetzA… Industrie 4.0, smart factory, industrial IoT – these are the future of industrial manufacturing,” the company told Enterprise IoT Insights.
“Designing production plants and intralogistics to be more flexible, autonomous, and efficient requires the right communication framework and comprehensive connectivity. The new 5G standard opens up important new prospects.”
The company drew attention to its new work with industrial 5G in Amberg and Nuremburg. The Amberg arrangement, at the company’s Digi-Lab inside its new Visitor Centre, will be open to partners from 2021. Amberg was subject to its first application for industrial spectrum to BNetzA.
Sander Rotmensen, head of product management for industrial wireless at Siemens, commented: “We will test innovative topics around the lean digital factory – with industrial 5G [as] a key enabler for applications such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), assisted work (via augumented and virtual reality), [collaborative] robots, cloud connectivity and more.”
He added: “This will be the centre of digitalization for years to come.”
Similarly, Siemens is working with Qualcomm at its Automotive Test Centre in Nuremberg on what it claims to be the first private 5G standalone (SA) network in a real industrial environment. The test network is, again, being used for AGVs for smart production, logistics and highly flexible manufacturing.
A spokesperson for the company explained industrial 5G will slot into its existing portfolio of industrial communications technologies, and its private usage will also dovetail, as required, with industrial slices of public 5G networks.
“Today, we already have an extensive portfolio of wireless communication products and solutions, such as industrial wireless LAN and 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE end-devices. 5G will be implemented in a similar fashion as well as a complete solution for private Industrial 5G networks.”
The spokesperson commented: “To optimally benefit from 5G in industrial environments and applications, private 5G networks are necessary. With such networks the user can determine for what type of performance the network is rolled out.
“5G is able to do a lot of things – bandwidth, high number of connected devices, low latency – but not at the same time. Therefore, the [network] parameters need to be selected with the industrial application in mind.
“For industrial IoT networks, reliability and the latency are often more important than the bandwidth. Slices will also contribute within private networks; it allows the separation between mission critical communication and for example SCADA-information which has a lower priority.”
Klaus Helmrich, member of the board at Siemens, stated: “Industrial 5G opens the door to the comprehensive, wireless networking of production, maintenance, and logistics.
“High data rates, reliable and powerful broadband transmission, and ultra-short latencies will enable a significant boost in efficiency and flexibility in industrial value creation. That’s why Siemens is embracing this new communication standard right from the start, and is supporting its standardization and industrial implementation by developing a corresponding portfolio.”