WORCESTER Bosch has teamed up with telecoms giant BT and the Worcestershire 5G Testbed (W5G) to become the UK’s first live 5G smart factory.
The technology and telecoms firm has become the lead technology partner for the Worcestershire 5G Testbed (W5G) to accelerate its vision of smart manufacturing across the UK.
BT will run and manage the live 5G private network, which uses Ericsson equipment, for both the Worcester Bosch factory and Malvern Hills Science Park.
The tie-up will enable Bosch and others to boost productivity by using robots to transport products and materials, for example. The installation of collision detection sensors connected over the 5G network will also help to ensure health and safety on the factory floor.
Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch, said: “We have learnt an awful lot within the W5G Testbed, both about the 5G network itself, but most importantly about the skills and competencies we need in-house, and what data to stream in order to develop an understanding of the behaviour of various machines.
“We are very eager to continue this learning and are confident we can travel much further on this journey, deliver the productivity gains we predicted, and go much further in developing the smart factory of the future. We intend to play a key role in making the fourth industrial revolution a reality.”
The insight gleaned from the Worcestershire 5G Testbed will be used to stimulate innovation across the manufacturing sector in the region. The initial installation has so far yielded positive results – increasing factory output by as much as two per cent.
Coun Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “If this productivity gain was applied across the whole of the UK’s manufacturing sector, it would make a significant contribution towards boosting national productivity, revitalising the manufacturing industry and stimulating the economy. “
Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business, said: “Working with W5G and Worcester Bosch, we’re creating a smart factory where machines can learn and adapt to changes on the factory floor as they happen, and make instant, autonomous decisions to optimise the production line.
“The digital transformation of manufacturing processes will be critical in rebooting the sector and driving regional regeneration across the UK. We’re really excited to be at the forefront of making this a reality,” he added.