5G for the smart factory
Aside from the intensification of the use of simulation tools supported by virtual 3D reality, Audi has taken new steps in another important technological field for the present and future of the automotive industry. To do so, it has formed an alliance with a leader in the telecommunications field, Ericsson, “to become pioneers in the application of 5G technology for car production”. Experts from both companies completed the first tests at a technical centre at Audi’s Production Laboratory in Gainmersheim in Germany. Frank Loydl, chief information office at Audi noted: “The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on car production in the future. For us, a powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance”. In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G technology can be used in the automaker’s other factories. Erik Ekudden, group CTO at Ericsson, added: “This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing”. In the world of mobile communication, 5G networks mean it is possible for companies to develop new applications for any use, from wireless, smart vehicles to factories of the future. In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test an application to control wirelessly connected robots for joining operations using glue, a commonly used technique in auto body construction. Linking with the field of simulation, the planned infrastructure at the technical centre in Gaimsersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt. The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including Wi-Fi networks or wireless LAN, or Ethernet connectivity of production components.