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Porsche Revving Up Manufacturing With 5G

Driving the future of the automotive industry: A research partnership between Ericsson and Porsche is leveraging the power of 5G to accelerate production capabilities at Porsche’s manufacturing production complex in Leipzig, Germany.

The trial project is the first deployment of a private 5G network at any of Porsche’s production complexes, heralding in a new remote production era for the high-performance car manufacturer. The independent 5G research network utilizes a private frequency spectrum, but is based on the same technology used in commercial networks.

“As we transition to the factory of tomorrow, Porsche production is undergoing a comprehensive digital transformation. In the process, we are guided by our vision: smart, lean and green. 5G technology is one of the key elements laying the groundwork for our Smart Factory”, says Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG. A 5G network is already in use at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach. Here, the focus is on the development of functions that involve the exchange of safety-relevant data between vehicles.

Networking, digitalization and automation are shaping not only the vehicles, but also the production processes of the future. The 5G research network in place in Leipzig makes it possible to test a variety of systems in the production context that would benefit from a switch to wireless communication, and the mobility enabled by it, in a risk-free and flexible manner. The application of the network is being piloted in the body shop. “These 5G tests are an important step for the Leipzig factory towards the production practices of the future. The pilot area in the Macan body shop provides us with an outstanding opportunity to test use cases in the production environment”, says Gerd Rupp, Chairman of the Management Board of Porsche Leipzig GmbH.

The 5G research network enables real-time and secure transmission of data between human, machine and vehicle. Åsa Tamsons, Head of Business Area Technologies and New Businesses at Ericsson, says: “Ericsson is proud to work with leading companies like Porsche in their smart factories and provide them with our world leading 5G and Private Network products. 5G connectivity can enable the next step in digital transformation in manufacturing, making it more efficient and effective. Ericsson’s Private Networks empower greater productivity, safety and flexibility across a variety of industries from manufacturing, processing, mining, offshore, and beyond.”

Specialists are already turning their attention to a first concrete use case. The pilot project in the technology cell of the Macan body shop is working on the wireless transmission of robot signals. In this use case, process devices on a robot are controlled via 5G rather than wires. The experience that Porsche is gaining here will provide a foundation for future automation concepts.

5G and Industry 4.0

5G is the next-generation of mobile communications, which will extend the performance of today’s mobile networks to serve the future needs of consumers and industries. This technology has many network characteristics that are essential for Industry 4.0 with increasingly flexible and complex production processes. It allows for faster data throughput rates and more network capacities, as well as promising highly secure availability. Moreover, ultra-low latency ensures fast response times between equipment in the factory system.

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