ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - 12

INDUSTRY RUNDOWN

The 5G Impact on
Manufacturing
You've seen the claim dominating tech and business
news outlets - the 5G revolution is coming, and it's
going to transform manufacturing. But what exactly is
5G, and should you believe the hype?
"5G" stands for fifth-generation wireless technology, and
it uses high-frequency bands to support ultra-fast speeds
and connect a multitude of devices with almost zero lag
time. For comparison purposes, consider that 4G currently
has a maximum rate of 2 gigabytes per second (Gbps) and
5G promises a max speed of 20 Gbps. At those speeds, 5G
will allow you to download a feature-length high-definition
movie in seconds instead of the tens of minutes it takes
using 4G.
Recently, Ericsson, a provider of information and communication technology to service providers, teamed up with
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and MTU
Aero Engines to test out 5G in a manufacturing scenario.
Together they used a 5G system to monitor and correct a
precision milling process while underway. The system was able
to detect vibrations in less than one millisecond and make the
necessary adjustments immediately - traditionally, the fault
would not be recognized until the process was complete.
5G promises to make artificial intelligence more efficient,
speed up the delivery of sensor data, allow for faster communication and, basically, transform manufacturing and put
industrial 4.0 within reach of even the smallest manufacturers. However, it isn't that simple.
With every enormous promise comes a few caveats, and
5G is no exception. First, there are signal issues to overcome.
5G devices work by transmitting and receiving radio waves.
When you're in a wide-open area, transmission is not going
to be an issue. However, in a factory or plant with an abundance of metal equipment, you're going to have problems
with reflections and attenuations of those signals.
Then there is the issue of old and outdated equipment.
To take advantage of the benefits of 5G, you might need
to invest in upgrades. If you're running some of the latest
equipment already, you may just need a few updates here
and there. However, if your machinery was purchased when
Ronald Reagan was president, you're going to be looking at

12

JUNE 2019

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

a pretty significant investment. A "dumb" machine is not
suddenly going to be "smart" just because you set up a 5G
network in your factory.
You likely have some time before 5G is a household name
in manufacturing, but don't sit on your hands waiting for
that day to come around. And don't write it off as a technology suitable only for big manufacturers who invest more in
robots than they do in people.
Start talking to your equipment manufacturers and find
out what they are doing to prepare for the 5G revolution.
Start talking to your software service providers and your
chief information officer, and find out what your company
needs to do to be in the best position to implement 5G
when the time is right.


http://www.ILMA.ORG

ILMA Compoundings June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings June 2019

ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - 1
ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - 2
ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - 3
ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - 4
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ILMA Compoundings June 2019 - Cover3
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