Porsche test drives private 5G from Ericsson at Leipzig production plant
German sports car manufacturer Porsche has recruited Ericsson for a private 5G network at its manufacturing production complex in Leipzig, in Germany. Porsche is using an enterprise 5G licence from German regulator BNetzA in the 3.7-3.8 GHz ‘vertical’ spectrum band. It said the deployment is based on the “same technology used in commercial networks”.
The setup is billed as a “research network” only. However, it represents the first production line 5G activity for the Volkswagen-owned firm. Porsche has a separate private 5G network at its development centre in Weissach, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of the country, where the 5G focus is to test the exchange of safety-relevant data between vehicles. Volkswagen has similar product-line 5G tests at its Wolfsburg plant with Nokia.
Twin press releases from Porsche and Ericsson were somewhat unclear on how far-gone the deployment is; Porsche said “specialists are already turning their attention to a first concrete use case”, with an initial pilot already “working” around 5G transmissions of robot signals in a “technology cell” in a body shop for its Macan SUV. It said the experience will provide a “foundation for future automation concepts”.
Ericsson said the “dedicated 5G network will be piloted” in the Macan body shop, and “will enable” the control of robotics in real time without cables. It stated: “It also allows for the transmission of massive amounts of data between other on-site machines, production workers, and vehicles through the secure, flexible, and predictable transmission of signals in real time.”
Statements from the pair variously read: “The 5G network in Leipzig [will] test a variety of systems in the production context that would benefit from a switch to wireless, and the mobility enabled by it, in a risk-free and flexible manner… Updated automation capabilities will have a significant impact on production, providing benefits for the company and its workers, including increased worker safety, faster production, reduced costs, and increased quality.”
Albrecht Reimold, member of the board for production and logistics at Porsche, said: “As we transition to the factory of tomorrow, Porsche production is undergoing a comprehensive digital transformation. In the process, we are guided by our vision: smart, lean and green. 5G technology is one of the key elements laying the groundwork for our smart factory.”
Gerd Rupp, chairman of the board at the Porsche plant in Leipzig, commented: “These 5G tests are an important step for the Leipzig factory towards the production practises of the future. The pilot area in the Macan body shop provides us with an outstanding opportunity to test use cases in the production environment.”
Åsa Tamsons, head of business area technologies and new businesses at Ericsson, said: “5G can enable the next step in digital transformation in manufacturing, making it more efficient and effective. Ericsson’s private networks empower greater productivity, safety and flexibility across a variety of industries from manufacturing, processing, mining, offshore, and beyond.”