Huawei, Haier, China Mobile unveil 5G solutions for smart manufacturing
Haier, China’s largest consumer electronics and home appliance producer, collaborated with Huawei and China mobile to apply innovative manufacturing solutions combining 5G and mobile edge computing in its smart factories.
Developed at a joint-innovation base established in February, the solutions integrate 5G edge computing with artificial intelligence and machine vision in manufacturing environments.
In a release, Huawei noted that the solutions are applicable to various manufacturing scenarios where they can perform a variety of functions. Haier has launched the technologies at seven smart factories in China, and it plans to expand the implementation at 20 factories by the end of 2022.
Huawei also said that it expected to help Haier deploy the 5G solutions and transform about 100 of its manufacturing facilities globally within five years. The three Chinese companies also plan to offer the technologies to other leading manufacturers in China and abroad.
“5G provides manufacturers with a lot of bandwidth —up to 20GBps— and latencies as low as 1 millisecond. Mobile edge computing, one of 5G’s main features, delivers extremely low-latency cloud computing. But it’s still early days for manufacturers aspiring to take advantage of 5G’s full capabilities,” Huawei said in a release.
“The solutions enable the implementation of high-performance machine vision in a manufacturing environment through low-latency connections between high-definition cameras, the AI modules at the factory site, and the training servers located off-site,” the vendor added.
Deployed on a 5G-enabled production line, machine vision saves manufacturers costs by rapidly performing quality control checks with over 99% accuracy, at least 10% more accurate than without the function, Huawei said.
The three partners also developed technologies to boost site and staff safety. “Unlike traditional video surveillance systems that only have a recording function, AI-surveillance can automatically create alarms in real time when it detects anomalies on the factory floor. The technology can identify non-authorized individuals, process safety violations, and workers who aren’t where they should be.”
In addition, the new solutions help to efficiently coordinate the large number of people, machines, and materials involved on a complex production line as a whole. The solutions achieve this through high-definition cameras, 5G gateways, and smart industrial terminals.
Huawei also noted that the solutions will be further improved in the future to provide “digital twins” visualization. Digital twin is the reproduction of a real and dynamic production floor into a virtual digital world. “Digital twin makes just-in-time preventive maintenance a reality and enables the simulation of changes to the production process before they are implemented.”
Huawei, China Mobile and Haier are also experimenting how 5G environment can support automated guided vehicles to transfer items in warehouses or manufacturing lines more accurately and efficiently.