Government-backed Worcestershire 5G Consortium switches on Britain’s first 5G factory trial
The UK’s first live 5G factory trials are beginning at the Worcestershire 5G Testbed, in a landmark step towards the creation of smart factories in Britain. The trials mark the first time that British industry has deployed this next generation technology and it is set to completely transform the way the sector operates.
In a huge step on the UK’s journey towards Industry 4.0, the process allows manufacturers to test the potential of 5G investments – from factory floor production, reconfiguration and real-time analysis, to steering a machine’s movements from a remote location.
Engineering company Worcester Bosch is testing 5G for improved factory output, exploring preventative maintenance using IoT sensors and data analytics to predict failure. Meanwhile multinational defence company QinetiQ has been designing security into the network and applications known as “security by design”.
Leading global manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak is also using 5G to conduct trials that will demonstrate how 5G can be used to enhance factory productivity. The technology will be used for two troubleshooting applications, one of which allows senior engineers to remotely guide onsite engineers through machine maintenance.
The trials will all test end-to-end application performance, taking initial measures of 5G speeds and latency. The technology offers more than just enhanced speed by providing the low latency, responsiveness and reach needed to transform the world we live and work in and in ways that its predecessors, including 4G, simply couldn’t.
Mark Stansfeld, chair of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed & Trials, commented: “Going live with the UK’s first 5G factory trials marks a monumental step in delivering the vision of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed to bring a productivity increase to the manufacturing sector and the UK economy. We are proud of the collaboration between all consortium members in making this happen and will be working closely to deliver the expected results from the live 5G trials.”
Carl Arntzen, CEO at Worcester Bosch, added: “We are delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow. It’s important to our business to have the real time element 5G brings so that we can react in real time in the factory environment to mitigate any losses in output and protect and grow our business bottom line.”
Margot James, Minister of State for DCMS, explained: “Our 5G testbeds are being rolled out across the country and it’s great to see that the Worcestershire trial is now underway.
This project proves that 5G technology can be applied to support industry and underlines our ambitions to be a world leader in this area.”