Danfoss deploys private LTE network at Finnish factory with Nokia, Edzcom, Etteplan
Danish engineering firm Danfoss is piloting a private LTE network at its factory in Vaasa, in the northwest of Finland. It is working with Finnish systems integrator Etteplan, which has partnered with country-mates Nokia and Edzcom on the project. The pilot started in January, and runs for 12 months.
Etteplan is handling network design, base stations, management server, terminal devices, SIM cards, and network maintenance. It said Danfoss is getting a “5G-ready LTE private network on a turnkey principle in exchange for a start-up fee and a monthly payment”.
The setup uses private spectrum from Edzcom, formerly Ukkoverkot. Nokia is supplying the networking gear. Danfoss is looking to improve productivity and safety in its factory, and complete installation of “one component for the smart factory of the future,” according to a press statement from Etteplan.
Jari Marjo, head of global technology and supply chain at Danfoss Drives, said: “Our aim is to use the private network to improve plant productivity. We want our factories to run more efficiently. A private LTE network enables us to collect a larger amount of data, as well as new kinds of data. Another incentive is operational safety. The network enables us to transmit video and detect potential hazards with the help of machine vision applications.”
Jaakko Ala-Paavola, technology director from Etteplan, commented: “A private network connectivity service provides the customer with easy and cost-efficient access to state-of-the-art mobile technology. The infrastructure is completely local, which ensures a high level of availability, performance, and information security for network services. A special advantage of this technology is the ability to transmit data from moving equipment.”
The Danfoss factory produces frequency converters under the VACON brand. The experiment will study the benefits of private networking not only at the facility in Vaasa, but also in the development of the products and services it provides to customers, said Etteplan.
Ala-Paavola said: “A private network does not necessarily mean a fully closed environment. Its true value only emerges when you apply ecosystem thinking. When the same network is used by a group of organisations that operate in the same ecosystem, the benefits of the network are multiplied. A port with many different operators is a good example of such an environment.”
Marjo commented: “The primary purpose is to understand when a device is close to malfunctioning. This refers to proactive maintenance and the related analysis and diagnostics. In our first customer pilot, our goal is to replace the current data transmission network of our large factory complex with a private network that will solve problems related to data transmission capacity, costs, and density.”