Culture 4 min read

What 5G Means for Manufacturing



You may have heard of 5G and how it’ll improve the current technology.

Aside from making the devices faster and smarter, it could also help us stay more connected. 5G promises to interconnect people and enable us to control machines, objects, as well as appliances.

That means stuff from science fiction movies like smart cities, driverless cars, and the Internet of Things are within reach. Also, the next-gen mobile network will expand into other service areas like manufacturing to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

But, before we delve into how 5G could impact manufacturing, let’s begin with an introduction.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth-generation mobile network, and it’s 100 times faster than the current 4G.

Along with multi-Gbps peak rates, the new mobile network offers ultra-low latency and massive capacity. That means a vast number of devices can be connected at the same time and communicate instantly with each other.

As you may have guessed, this technology is a game-changer.

Qualcomm‘s 5G Economy study suggests that the full economic effect of the next-gen mobile network will be realized across the globe by 2035. Also, it would support a wide range of industries, potentially producing as much as $13 trillion worth of goods and services.

So, how does 5G impact manufacturing?

American telecommunications company, Verizon sought to answer this question. So, it partnered up with industrial manufacturer Corning on an experiment.

Together, the companies would test existing theories and innovate ways in which 5G can make manufacturing more efficient and safe.

In a statement to the press, CEO of Verizon Business Group, Tami Erwinsaid:

“We’ve gone from a stage of imagining, ‘Could 5G be real?’ to finding ourselves in a place where we see 5G not just in our labs. We took it out of the labs and actually put it into production.”

What 5G Means for Manufacturing

Here’s what the new network technology means for manufacturing, according to vice president of technology at Corning, Claudio Mazzalli.

Automated Factory Vehicles

As said earlier, 5G enables faster communication between devices and the server controlling them. So, it becomes possible to replace human driving materials – like forklift – in factories with self-driving vehicles.

Mazzalli points out that these automated vehicles would sense other equipment or machines within the facility. When combined with AI, computer vision, and edge computing, factories using 5G would be able to adjust production to changes in demand.

As a result, manufacturers can enjoy:

  • Cost reduction
  • Increased efficiency
  • Easier product customization
  • Convenient machine configuration

In the end, the automated factory vehicles, powered by 5G, would optimize the manufacturer’s output.

Real-Time Data Processing

The next-generation mobile network technology can process significantly more data compared with 4G.

Currently, site managers have to visit buildings or remote locations to run diagnostics on equipment and machines. But that’s about to change.

Future machines will come with IoT sensors that’ll enable manufacturers to monitor their equipment remotely. The sensors could also identify and flag current and potential issues too.

Besides, 5G will enable real-time monitoring of goods in production to ensure better quality. That way, manufacturers can make better use of employee time and resources.

Cheap Production Cost

Although Corning deployed 5G five months ago, Mazzalli believes it’s too early to tell what financial impact the tech could have. However, it’s safe to say that the mobile network could lead to a cheaper production cost.

Thanks to its higher reliability, faster speed, and more bandwidth, 5G can help manufacturing companies become more productive. Not only would this save time, but it’ll also save money from errors, machine downtimes, and other issues.

The Problem with Using 5G For Manufacturing

While 5G will enable automation and new data collection, it also raises security concerns. As manufacturing plants generate more data, protecting that information becomes crucial.

However, Erwin told CNN business that Verizon is working proactively to build both security and privacy into its network. Meanwhile, Mazzalli said that 5G could offer more protection than the current internet cable or Wifi.

It allows all ( the machines in a plant) to be in one single network. And once you put everything into a single network, you have your hands around it, and you control that better,” Mazzalli said.

“You can provide more security to that,” he concluded.

Read More: Doctor Performs World’s First 5G Surgery

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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