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MTC trial will allow manufacturers to explore benefits of 5G

09 February, 2021

The Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre is to trial a private 5G network aimed at helping manufacturers to boost their productivity. The network will be installed at the MTC's Ansty Park site and will allow manufacturers of all sizes to explore the potential benefits of multi-edge computing and wireless connections for digital manufacturing and robotics. A live 5G-connected robotics demonstrator is planned for later this year.

The MTC is launching the 5G capability in partnership with West Midlands 5G (WM5G) and Worcestershire 5G (W5G), with BT as a technology partner. The trial will be one of the first projects in WM5G’s manufacturing programme and the group will work closely with the Worcestershire 5G testbed and BT to supply and integrate the technology.

The short-term aims of the testbed are to prove the benefits that 5G services can offer for robot and automated guided vehicle applications in production environments, and to provide a benchmark for the future of 5G manufacturing.

The longer-term aim is to develop a series of 5G use cases combining 5G connections, skills, and applications and offering a test-bed for the MTC’s customers and partners. It will also support the SME Digital Reach programme which offers SMEs guidance and support to increase their productivity by adopting digital manufacturing technologies. 5G’s higher speeds, data capacities, and faster response times can help to unlock the potential of these technologies in a way that is not possible using conventional connections.

“Demonstrating the potential of 5G connectivity in our workshop facilities will advance the MTC’s offering in digital manufacturing and automation,” explains the MTC’s technology manager, Alejandra Matamoros. “This will help to deliver additional levels of flexibility in production for UK manufacturers and the integration of supply chains.

“As well as establishing a long-term showcase facility to demonstrate best practice and the capabilities of 5G in manufacturing,” she adds, “the MTC's 5G-enabled use case will provide valuable insights into safe and accurate AGV movement for fleet management in the implementation of state-of-the-art production lines for the smart factory.”

The first live trial will see two robots operating simultaneously to perform the same operation developed with MTC members.

The MTC will host a trial of 5G technologies for manufacturing applications

WM5G is the UK’s first regional 5G innovation company and forms part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s 5G Test and Trials programme. It says that Industry 4.0 technologies driven by 5G could help manufacturers to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by transforming their resilience and productivity. By connecting machine sensors and other assets to data platforms and applications securely and in real-time, it adds, 5G will enable productivity improvements and optimise processes and equipment.

“This is yet another example of what a game-changer 5G is for the region, and why it was so critical we won the Government competition to become the UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed,” says the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street. “Given the coronavirus pandemic and the enormous task of our economic recovery, the emergence of 5G is happening at an incredibly important time. That the new technology can have such an impact on one of our region’s largest sectors in manufacturing bodes extremely well for the future of our region. We must continue to make the most of state-of-the-art technology and use it to help turbo-charge our recovery efforts.”

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UK 5G Innovation NetworkTwtter  LinkedIn

WM5GTwitter  LinkedIn

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