A private 5G infrastructure trial was conducted at Hitachi Astemo Americas’ electric motor vehicle manufacturing plant located in Berea, Kentucky. This initiative aims to demonstrate the immediate applicability of current technologies, debunking the notion that their benefits lie in the distant future.
Thomas Noren, Head of PCN Commercial and Operations at Ericsson, said.
“The best news about this collaboration is that it is not about capabilities that will be available at some distant point in the future. These solutions can be deployed today in manufacturing and enterprise environments to deliver a range of early adopter competitive advantages.
As global technology leaders, Ericsson, AWS, and Hitachi America R&D have shown how collaboration can drive innovation.”
At the core of this endeavour is the synergy between Ericsson Private 5G and the AWS Snow Family, which provides the private cellular networks essential for building machine learning (ML) models within the manufacturing complex.
Sudhanshu Gaur, VP of R&D for Hitachi America and Chief Architect at Hitachi Astemo Americas, commented:
“We explored and validated new use cases enabled by private 5G to show how smart factories can already function.
The combination of private 5G, cloud and artificial intelligence/machine learning automated technologies has the potential to revolutionise the way we manufacture products, and we are excited to be at the forefront of this innovation.”
Takeaways from this collaboration include the rapid implementation of use cases enabled by Ericsson Private 5G, marked by the successful deployment of cameras on a live production assembly line. This facilitated real-time analysis of component assembly operations, showcasing the efficiency of the 5G network.
Furthermore, the trial demonstrated the potential for higher performance and reliability in quality inspections through defect detection. The trial revealed that computer vision powered by a private 5G network could simultaneously inspect multiple assembly components, identifying defects at a sub-millimetre level, far surpassing human visual capabilities.
The seamless integration of 5G and cloud technologies also demonstrated the feasibility of globally scalable digital production line applications. This includes quality inspection, robotics automation, real-time machine control, and augmented reality.
Chris McKenna, Global Lead of Private Wireless at AWS, said:
“While it’s long been anticipated that technologies such as 5G and video analytics could drive innovation in manufacturing, one of the challenges has been how to securely and reliably process that data to drive outcomes.
By using the Ericsson Private 5G Network product, and running artificial intelligence and machine learning models on an AWS Snow Family device, we were able to demonstrate a reliable and secure connection to run machine vision inferences at the site to help detect defects earlier.”
The collaboration between Ericsson, AWS, and Hitachi marks a pivotal moment in the manufacturing industry, demonstrating the immediate impact of 5G, AI, and automation solutions on productivity, efficiency, and sustainability.
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