NTT Domoco, Omron and Nokia to trial 5G in factories

Friday, 13 September, 2019

NTT Domoco, Omron and Nokia to trial 5G in factories

Fifth-generation mobile communication technology is set to be trialled in factories to help meet increasing demand for wireless communications and boost productivity in manufacturing.

The trials — to be conducted by NTT Docomo, Omron, and Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy — will test the stability and reliability of 5G technology in manufacturing environments, where high levels of machine background noise and foot traffic could potentially interfere with wireless communications

During the trials, the three companies aim to prove the feasibility of using 5G-connected autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) — which can act autonomously in complex and changing environments — to create open-layout production lines that can be quickly and easily changed at short notice, based on demand for parts and production cycles.

If successful, the robots could improve manufacturing productivity by automatically conveying components to the exact spot they are needed based on communication with production line equipment.

The companies will also test the feasibility of human–machine collaboration — where production line technicians will be monitored with dedicated cameras and given performance feedback based on analysis of their movements, transmitted to servers via the 5G network.This could help improve workers’ training by detecting and analysing the differences of motion between more and less experienced workers.

Image: Open-layout production line. Courtesy Omron.

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