3 Ways 5G Is Poised to Revolutionize Manufacturing

Technology industry scandals such as cyber attacks, data breaches and diesel emissions can effectively hobble new tech before it has a chance to take off. In spite of recent high-profile scandals associated with 5G, the wireless cellular platform has the potential to effect enormous change in manufacturing and usher in a new epoch of innovation. Unlike 3G and 4G, which offered gradual improvements to bandwidth and speed, 5G will be the first platform to offer dependable industrial IoT and machine-to-machine systems.

How will 5G revolutionize manufacturing?

  1. Via enhanced mobile broadband, or eMBB, 5G offers the ability to handle 10,000x the traffic it’s predecessors could, in addition to boasting peak data rates of 10 GBps.
  2. In manufacturing, timing is everything. With a radio latency of less than 1 msec and more than 99.99% availability, ultra-reliable low latency communications, or URLLC, are another factor that makes 5G perfect for industrial use.
  3. Massive machine-type communication (eMTC) allows 5G to manage one million devices per 247 acres, additionally delivering ultra-low-cost machine-to-machine communications and the ability to run on battery power for up to ten years.
5G will make location and asset tracking as well as real-time wireless sensor networks possible. In smart factories, plant managers will enjoy reliable, seamless communications with autonomous guided vehicles without fear of network dropouts. Even manufacturers who have previously been wary of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality will now be able to access them for predictive maintenance and simulations in real time.

Eventually, 5g networks will have the ability to replace wired connections in applications such as high throughput vision systems and motion control. Organizations like IEEE and 3GPP are standardizing ethernet protocols that will be able to accommodate time sensitive 5G networks, in order to allow 5G to reach the high availability and low latency of its counterparts.

5G, operating on the higher frequency spectrum at around 6 GHz, is at risk of being blocked by rain, humidity and other obstacles, meaning that a significant financial investment is necessary to create infrastructure to accommodate 5G networks. Small cell networks utilizing smaller antennas placed close to one another will be required to implement 5G technology. 


Manufacturers may find themselves wondering, is 5G worth all the trouble and expense? Ericsson, one of the largest 5G suppliers in the world, tested the benefits of 5G in a factory that creates bladed disks for jet engines. Faults caused by vibration lead to a defect rate of up to 25%, which was reduced to 15% after 5G sensors were implemented. 5G’s high speed data transmission allows manufacturers to catch and prevent errors with a speed and scale not previously imaginable. Ericsson’s reduction in errors lowered the production cost of the blades by $4046, demonstrating that while upgrading to 5G arrives with a unique set of challenges, adopters may expect long-term benefits from implementing 5G technology.


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