25 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Davos 5G demo synchronises robots 1.5km apart

Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business, with Ericsson CEO, Börje Ekholm, at the Davos 5G demo

At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, ABB, Ericsson, and the Swiss telecoms company Swisscom, demonstrated real-time 5G communications being used to control robots over a long distance. In the demo, an ABB YuMi collaborative robot (cobot) carved a message in a sandbox that was replicated simultaneously by a second YuMi located 1.5 km away.

The link was made in real time via Swisscom’s 5G mobile network, which incorporates Ericsson technology, and the demo was shown on video screens at both locations. ABB and Ericsson have been working together for several years to develop the technologies needed to connect machines via 5G networks.

Adopting 5G in industrial environments will allow multiple machines to be controlled from a central point, reducing the cost of managing and maintaining OT (operational technology) as well as IT systems. 5G will also make factory floor operations more flexible, allowing large fleets of autonomous machines and robots to be deployed.

Speaking at Davos, Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business, predicted that 5G wireless technologies will “make it easier to connect robots to the cloud and factory automation systems, enabling faster access to more data and better decision-making based on insights which will help improve efficiency and reliability through the entire production cycle. As we replace traditional wire set-ups with 5G mobile networks, we can significantly increase flexibility in manufacturing.”