Huawei special interest group will research potential for next-generation connectivity applications on the factory floor.
Telecoms equipment giant Huawei, alongside several industry partners, has set up a Wireless Connected Factory Special Interest Group (SIG) to conduct research and promote applications of 5G communication technologies in industrial IoT (IIoT).
The members of the group include ABB, Efort, Bosch, Beckhoff, Hikrobot, Geely, KUKA, and Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences. The first SIG group meeting has been held, with guidance provided by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).
According to Huawei, flexible manufacturing based on smart machines will help redefine future production lines, with next-generation machines featuring plug-and-play technology. These are growing increasingly flexible in terms of their range of functions and can be adjusted to suit different types of production.
Such machines need dynamic, high-performance communications networks, the company says, and wireless technologies can help to reduce network construction and maintenance costs, while also boosting the productivity and safety of workers.
5G’s potential in manufacturing
The manufacturing industry holds significant potential for IoT applications. According to analysis conducted by Huawei Wireless X Labs, connections in this sector worldwide will reach 12.5 billion by 2020, with factory networks accounting for $50 billion of the potential market.
At the start of 2017, X Labs targeted wireless robotics as one of its main focuses in its research into wireless use cases. Since then, X Labs and its partners have decided upon the Wireless Connected Factory SIG’s four research priorities: cloud-based programmable logic controllers (PLC); wireless industrial cameras; wireless controlled automated guided vehicles (AGV); and industrial wearables.
“Huawei hopes that SIGs such as those set up by X Labs can discover and inspire many more 5G use cases and promote 5G technologies’ application in future smart manufacturing,” said Ying Weimin, president of Huawei Wireless R&D. “Such efforts will contribute to the rise of connected factories. Huawei will work diligently alongside its partners to stimulate further growth and innovation.”