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First trial of 5G communications in a UK factory goes live

25 February, 2019

Trials of the first live installation of 5G technologies in a UK factory have begun at Worcester Bosch’s boiler production plant in Worcester. The company will test the ability of the high-speed wireless transmission technology to improve output, and to provide preventative maintenance using IoT sensors and data analytics to predict potential breakdowns.

The trial – part of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed  scheme ­– will assess end-to-end performance, and measure 5G speeds and latency. 5G offers the potential for 20-fold increases in speed compared to today’s data transmission technologies, as well as improved latency, reliability and security. 5G is regarded by many as being vital for smart factories, where it will allow real-time wireless monitoring and control.

“We are delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow,” says Worcester Bosch’s CEO, Carl Arntzen. “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 to protect and grow our business bottom line.”

The Worcestershire 5G Consortium is helping industry to develop and test the next-generation technology. Led by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, its members include Huawei, O2, BT and the Universities of Surrey and Worcestershire.

Pioneering: Worcester Bosch’s boiler factory is testing the use of 5G in manufacturing applications

The defence company, QinetiQ is designing security into the network, while the machine tool manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak is conducting trials to demonstrate how 5G can enhance factory productivity. The technology will be used in two troubleshooting applications, one of which will allow remotely located engineers to guide onsite staff through machine maintenance procedures.

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