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Private 5G for Industry of the Future

Although the concept of Industry 4.0 has been around for several years, the transition to smart manufacturing is becoming a reality only recently, thanks to softwarization and advancements in connectivity.

Although the concept of Industry 4.0 has been around for several years, the transition to smart manufacturing is becoming a reality only recently, thanks to softwarization and advancements in connectivity. 

5G was the first generation of mobile cellular technology containing features specific to the B2B verticals along with the traditional B2C. As 5G continues to evolve, various vertical industries have started participating in the development of 3GPP specifications to ensure their requirements are addressed in future standards.

3GPP plenary meeting attendees from 2019 included various vertical members in addition to vendors and operators

Fig: 3GPP plenary meeting attendees from 2019 included various vertical members in addition to vendors and operators.

The combination of 5G and smart manufacturing is allowing flexibility in production to create customized solutions at short notice as well as autonomous operations that can be remotely configured and monitored, thereby leading to improvement in overall productivity and consistency in quality.

Private 5G (P5G) networks are already being trialed, tested, and deployed in Industries due to the many benefits they bring, in addition to the low latency, high reliability, and improved security over other connectivity technologies. Forecasts from many different analyst firms estimate the smart manufacturing market size in excess of US$ 500 billion by 2030. 

As the trials are successfully completed and turned into live deployments, the learnings will improve confidence for the manufacturers, and the final market size may eventually be far higher than the forecasts today.

Use Case Scenarios

The initial trials and deployments of P5G networks have provided a lot of learnings on how effectively the manufacturing industry can be transformed by enabling faster, more efficient, and more reliable communication between machines, devices, and people. Here are some ways in which P5G is helping the smart manufacturing industry:

  • Increased automation: P5G networks can support large-scale automation, enabling manufacturers to deploy more robots and other automated systems on their factory floors wirelessly. This results in an improvement in flexibility and efficiency, a reduction in deployment and reconfiguration costs, and as a result; an increase in productivity.
  • Real-time monitoring and anomaly detection: P5G networks can provide real-time data on manufacturing processes, allowing manufacturers to monitor equipment, production lines, and products. This can in turn help identify and resolve issues quickly, significantly reducing downtime and increasing overall efficiency.
  • Improved supply chain management: P5G technology can help improve supply chain management by enabling real-time tracking and monitoring of products and materials. This can help manufacturers optimize their supply chains by reducing waste and improving delivery times.
  • Remote collaboration: With P5G networks, secure remote collaboration between engineers, designers, and production teams can be seamless, with high-quality video conferencing, real-time data sharing, and improved communication. 
  • Augmented Reality (AR): P5G networks can support AR use in manufacturing, improving training and maintenance processes. An example of AR use can be to provide workers with real-time information and guidance, reducing the need for manuals and training materials.

Overall, Private 5G networks can help manufacturers improve productivity, reduce costs, and improve product quality, making them more competitive in the global marketplace.

Real-world Deployments from Across the Industries

Here are some real-world examples of how P5G is being used for smart manufacturing.

P5G to Optimize Vehicle Manufacturing

P5G to Optimize Vehicle Manufacturing

P5G networks are already being trialed for optimizing vehicle manufacturing. Here are the reasons and long-term impact of the solution.

Challenge: Vehicle manufacturing requires consistency while manufacturing and assembling parts. Minor variations can compromise quality and result in a product that does not meet the specifications it has been built for. Any kind of failure has to be identified in real-time and quick action taken to ensure the production line is not disrupted. The solution is also required to work reliably over very long periods without any kind of degradation to ensure guaranteed quality.

Solution: 5G connectivity enabled real-time analysis of all captured images and data thereby ensuring optimal machine performance and reducing, if not eliminating, defects. AI-based predictive maintenance took advantage of the low-latency connectivity to spot defects and reduce downtime. Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) techniques enhanced the support of remote maintenance of any factory equipment.

Results: P5G network removed the need to deploy physical cables thereby enabling flexibility, reducing the downtime due to cable issues, and reducing the time required to re-configure the production lines to work on different models. At the same time, it met the existing functionality to perform the tasks on the factory floor and introduced the possibility of deploying newer use cases.

Lessons Learned: P5G has a huge role to play in enabling the manufacturing sector to adopt Industry 4.0 principles. 5G features such as high data rates, ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability, and enhanced security enable automation, flexibility for quick customization, and consistent quality. As processes get refined and new use cases are identified, there is a lot more that P5G will be able to contribute to in the future.

P5G Enables Various Uses-Cases for Aircraft Manufacturers

P5G Enables Various Uses-Cases for Aircraft Manufacturers

Aircraft manufacturers are increasingly exploring the use of P5G networks for many different use cases including digitalization of manufacturing operations, remote inspection, remote assistance, and training with the help of AR and MR.

Challenge: Connectivity plays a vital role during aircraft manufacturing. Connecting ever more tools and machines is a huge challenge due to large sites, huge hangars, and interference in unlicensed radio bands. In addition, the transition from highly manual operations to more automated operations requires tracking operations in real-time as well as equipment status. 

Solution: P5G networks can solve many, if not all, of these challenges by providing highly-reliable coverage over a wide-area to connect a large number of devices, tools, machines, vehicles and spare parts. In addition, P5G networks provide rigorous security, privacy and data protection. 

Results: P5G has already enabled a wide variety of use cases for aircraft manufacturers across their sites. Test data can quickly be uploaded/downloaded with 5G. AR/MR headsets have reduced the need to carry complex manuals on tablets or physically. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) can be used to move parts between the hangars and the site with a real-time video stream for checking on them. Collaborative robots (cobots) can work to accelerate manufacturing. Real-time inspections with drones allow faster and more accurate inspection of the aircraft.

Lessons Learned: P5G is already serving many use cases but the main challenge for multi-site deployments is the availability of spectrum. As there is no coordinated spectrum availability in various countries, the same radios and optimizations cannot be used across all sites. In any case, current P5G use cases are just scratching the surface today and there are several more use cases that will eventually move from Wi-Fi to 5G due to the 5G capabilities.

P5G to Improve Productivity in Manufacturing Plant

P5G to Improve Productivity in Manufacturing Plant

A leading Southeast Asian operator deployed a P5G solution with a multinational manufacturing company to explore if productivity can be improved.

Challenge: In a manufacturing plant, a couple of issues play a huge role in dragging productivity down. One of them is the moving and reconfiguration of machines on the factory floor while the other is due to faults that may result from improper configuration. In addition, a reliable connection is necessary for real-time machine monitoring and maintenance.

Solution: P5G based IoT smart manufacturing solution helped the manufacturing plant to collect and analyze data in real-time thereby providing instantaneous updates on the working of the machines. AR/VR based training solutions allowed more people to learn about the machines as well as allowed debugging them in real-time. Sensors in the machinery allowed remote machine monitoring, and traceability of their location whilst sensors on the manufactured goods allowed tracking their journey from being manufactured to leaving the premises.

Results: P5G based IoT smart manufacturing solution helped the manufacturing plant improve its productivity by removing tasks such as reporting and freeing up people to work on the plant floor. The machine utilization improved due to traceability while the training of the workers in the field improved the availability of skills and reduced unplanned downtime due to not knowing how a machine operates as well as incorrect configurations.

Lessons Learned: For a multinational manufacturing plant that maintains production lines in different countries, smart manufacturing could help with deploying and testing once and then replicating the process in other countries. Real-time support could be available in distributed geographies thereby supporting the resolution of issues at any time, all year round. 

The only real challenge preventing this from going full steam ahead is either the lack of spectrum availability for a P5G network or different spectrum in different geographies, resulting in purchasing of different radio hardware and devices and going through the same rigorous testing phase in each geography.


Private 5G has immense potential in solving many of the challenges that industries face today. While there is no out-of-box solution that can be deployed quickly, there is an opportunity to create a tailor-made solution to suit needs and requirements. Get in touch with us to learn more on how we can help you.