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  • 5G
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5G Impact on Manufacturing

Saurav Jha

Saurav Jha

The automation of conventional industrial practices and manufacturing processes have already ushered the age of the fourth industrial revolution (industry 4.0). The manufacturing companies have to transform physical production and operation using next-generation technologies – artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and real-time machine-to-machine (M2M) communication – to stay competitive and relevant in the age of industry 4.0. 5G will help manufacturers to leverage the potential of these emerging technologies by providing ultra-high network speed, ultra-low latency, and highly reliable internet connectivity. 

5G has the potential to increase the manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) by 4% by 2030. The next generation of cellular networks will increase manufacturing GDP by creating many new and innovative use cases. Apart from driving Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), innovative 5G use cases will transform the manufacturing industry in several ways. We can assess the 5G impact on manufacturing industry based on these new and innovative use cases.

5G Impact on Manufacturing: How 5G Technology is All Set to Transform the Manufacturing Sector?

Enabling Advanced Predictive Maintenance

In comparison to planned break downs, unplanned breakdowns increase production cost by 9 times. The manufacturers explore ways to predict unplanned breakdowns to continue production cycles and control production costs. The 5G wireless networks will help manufacturers to predict and prevent unplanned breakdowns by implementing advanced predictive maintenance.

The sensors embedded in the connected devices will help the decision-makers to predict machine or equipment breakdowns by collecting real-time data like pressure, temperature, humidity, and vibrations. The decision-makers can enable advanced predictive maintenance by comparing real-time data with historical data and trends.

Monitoring and Controlling the Production Facility Precisely

In addition to predicting and preventing expensive breakdowns, the manufacturers need to ensure that the machines are functioning optimally and flawlessly. When the machines or equipment do not function to their maximum potential the output or yield will decline. Likewise, the quality of the output will be affected directly when the production facility does not function accurately.

5G will enable precise monitoring and control of machines by reducing the latency to 1 millisecond. The ultra-low latency will make the machines or equipment send real-time data to the decision-makers instantly and reliably. The decision-makers will assess and analyze each relevant data point to evaluate the product and process. Actionable intelligence will enable manufacturers to ensure that the production facility works continuously and precisely.

Leveraging Augmented Reality (AR) Headsets

Often manufacturers find it challenging to get machines or equipment repaired by skilled technicians in remote locations. 5G will help manufacturers to overcome the constraints related to skill and expertise using augmented reality (AR) headsets. The AR headsets are designed with innovative features to enable a viewer to see the images superimposed on a real-time environment.

The ultra-low latency enabled by 5G will help the supervisors or engineers to monitor and guide the entire repairing and maintenance process remotely. Technicians will wear AR headsets while delivering information and images required by the supervisors to monitor the process in real-time. Also, the supervisors can repair the equipment efficiently by sharing information or instructions with the technician in real-time.

Facilitating Next-Generation Factory Automation 

The manufacturing companies have to set up smarter factories to beat completion in the age of industry 4.0. In addition to automating conventional manufacturing processes, they need to assemble the machines and systems into new lines according to changing requirements and demands. The next-generation factory automation will focus on automation of both manufacturing operations and data communication.

The manufacturers will use the inductive energy transmission technique to operate and assemble the machines dynamically. But they will need superfast connectivity and ultra-low latency to ensure seamless bidirectional data transmission. Moreover, 5G will enable manufacturers to integrate machines and data seamlessly by facilitating faster and more reliable data transmission. The accelerated data flow will help manufacturers to create and customize assembly lines on demand.

Enabling Innovative Human-Machine Interfacing

5G will facilitate next-generation factory automation. But the manufacturing company cannot remove human employees completely from the manufacturing process. They will explore ways to boost employee productivity and operational efficiency simultaneously by enabling innovative human-machine interfaces. Also, 5G will help manufacturers to experiment with innovative human-machine interfaces by facilitating the deployment of low-energy sensors.

The 5G wireless networks will enable employees to interact with and control a large number of machines and robots remotely. The employees will use devices powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality to gather actionable intelligence required for boosting the functionality and performance of the devices deployed remotely. Also, 5G will make human workers more productive in smart factories by interfacing with a large number of machines.

Unifying the Entire Supply Chain

5G will help manufacturing companies to accelerate production process cycles and reduce production overheads by unifying the supply chain end-to-end. Also, the manufacturers can leverage 5G networks to visualize and monitor the entire supply chain through the sensors embedded in connected devices.

The connected devices will help manufacturers to form a virtual supply chain control tower by enabling the bidirectional flow of real-time data. Also, the 5G wireless networks will help the manufacturers to divide the entire supply chain into a series of small and interconnected supply chain processes. The small size of supply chain processes will enable monitoring and managing key components of the supply chain.

5G impact on manufacturing industry over the next few years will be more visible in the coming years. 5G network has already been launched in many countries, while countries like India are getting ready for 5G. But the manufacturers must explore ways to leverage the potential of 5G technology fully to become an integral part of industry 4.0.

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