Nokia deploys private 5G network for KUKA production site in Germany
Nokia is to deploy a private 5G network at industrial robot and automation specialist maker KUKA’s ‘smart’ production and development centre in Augsburg, in Germany. Nokia’s compact ‘digital automation cloud’ (DAC) private LTE and 5G solution, geared for quick-fire local-area deployments, will support product development with immediate effect, a statement said. KUKA is using its own spectrum at 3.7 3.8 GHz, licensed locally from German network agency BNetzA, for the deployment.
KUKA has signed with Nokia on a multi-year subscription contract. The DAC platform comprises network and user equipment, a cloud-based network and device management, plus industrial connectors, and a smattering of IoT applications. The platform’s ‘manager portal’ will enable KUKA to configure the network to its ‘specific requirements’. The press release says the DAC installation is part of a ‘campus networking’ setup, as per the German prescription for LTE and 5G Industry 4.0.
Nokia will provide network deployment, ‘operation support services’, and training, as part of the deal. KUKA has an eye on industrial 5G capabilities with upcoming 3GPP Releases 16 and 17 of the standard for industrial automation. The key Release 17 version of 5G will introduce capabilities like positioning and time sensitive networking (TSN) into 5G network functions.
Like others KUKA is working both sides of the Industry 4.0 line, as tech seller and tech user. It has a deal with Deutsche Telekom’s IT and cloud services division T-Systems to offer an Industry 4.0 package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector with everything apart from prescribed network hardware and software, it appears; the package covers modular edge hardware, cloud compute and storage, industrial IoT applications, and managed services.
Nokia’s run-rate remains impressive in the private cellular market. In the manufacturing space, it claims deals with Toyota Production Engineering, Arçelik Turkey, and WEG Brazil, among others. It has supplied network componentry into the Lufthansa Technik installation in Hamburg, also, which remains a seminal proof-point for the wider private industrial 5G sector. Nokia claims 290 large enterprise customers for private cellular across various industries, with 40-odd using it for 5G.
Michael Wagner, director of R&D and control technology at KUKA, said: “In the coming years, KUKA will develop solutions that harness the potential of 5G’s fast, reliable, and secure connectivity. By partnering with Nokia for private wireless networking, we have now established a long-term development roadmap that will allow us to capitalize on the new capabilities in future 5G releases for our automation solutions.”
Dirk Lewandowski, vice president of Nokia’s enterprise division in Central and East Europe, said: “5G is continuously evolving with new capabilities. Advanced automation manufacturers who leverage 5G for their own solutions need to take this into consideration. With KUKA preparing to use 5G in industrial applications, deployment of a Nokia DAC platform will enable it to accelerate development of smart automation solutions for its customers.”