During the past six months Grundfos, TDC NET and Ericsson have joined forces to explore how 5G can be used in an industrial context at a Grundfos plant. This has provided new insights into the future possibilities of 5G.
Production lines operating without cables, enhanced remote presence and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) connected to a private 5G network. These were among the ingredients when Grundfos in collaboration with technology experts from TDC NET and Ericsson tested the wireless technology in one of their plants in Bjerringbro, Denmark. This was also the first time a 5G network was operated in an industrial setting in Denmark.
The pilot demonstrated the performance of 5G compared to conventional tethered connections, while also enabling mobility cases like the use of automated guided vehicles and augmented reality headsets that wired connections can’t support – and where Wi-Fi traditionally has challenges both in terms of maintaining the connectivity as the device moves or handling many devices simultaneously.
Stéphane Simonetta, Group Executive Vice President and COO at Grundfos, says: “This has been tremendously interesting to dive into, not least given our focus on enhancing our digital value chain. We have seen clear benefits in the 5G technology, for instance in terms of ensuring a smooth, fast and steady connection to operate and optimize some of our equipment and moving devices and production lines in our factories and warehouses. The technology also enables stable virtual and remote meetings and the use of new technologies like telepresence robots and AR and VR tools. On top of that, connected devices use less energy. We see 5G technology as a true gamechanger in an industrial world where our workers and equipment will be constantly connected through digital tools.”
The pilot concluded in December 2020 and was supported by experts from a joint Innovation Hub, the result of a strategic partnership between TDC NET and their technology partner Ericsson.
Commenting on the learnings and insights, Michael Fränkle, Executive Vice President from TDC NET says: “The collaboration with Grundfos and Ericson has proven 5G as a robust alternative to the existing radio technologies that are used in industrial settings. The technology delivers reliable and high performing connections with very low latencies, which further confirms the potential of 5G. As such, it has been a very exciting pilot and the insights we have gained makes us very optimistic as we continue to explore, mature and further develop the 5G technology as part of our commitment to deliver the best possible digital infrastructure to Denmark.”
Going forward the insights from the collaboration will be used to further develop the 5G ecosystem and application landscape in Denmark.
Niclas Backlund, Head of Ericsson Denmark, says: “Through the collaboration with Grundfos and TDC NET, we have been able to show the strength of 5G within industrial production in Denmark. Early adopters in 5G will naturally benefit faster from the technology, yet at the same time, we focus on maturing the 5G ecosystem through partnerships supporting the Danish business community in realizing the economic potential of 5G. We do this, among other things, through our Innovation Hub, where we work closely with TDC NET to strengthen Denmark's digital position.”