Ericsson takes flight with aircraft Industry 4.0 5G demo


Ericsson will showcase how 5G could play a crucial role in the production of components for jet engines.

The Swedish vendor is partnering with the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology to explore and develop industrial applications. No operator partner was named.

The first example is producing blade integrated disks, or blisks, for MTU Aero Engines.

Blisks are where the disks and blades that are used to compress air within jet engines are built as a single piece. They are seen as a more accurate and stronger component than when disks and blades are produced separately.

Typically blisks take between three and four months to produce, given the complexity of the process and quality checks involved.

[Read more: Operators look to potential of industrial IoT to produce new revenue streams]

Ericsson built a trial production system operating in the 3.5GHz band, which connects to an acceleration sensor fitted onto the blisk during production.

By transmitting vibrations in real-time as the piece is being built, the production process can be amended quickly.

Ericsson said the production process could save a single factory €27 million in efficiencies, as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These efficiencies would be impossible if using fixed line technology because of the complexity of production, the vendor added.

Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area Europe and Latin America at Ericsson, said: "The Blisk project is a perfect example of what is possible in the industrial context with 5G in the future. Ultra-low latency of 5G makes this industrial use case feasible.”

Earlier this month Telia teamed up with Nokia to hold smart factory demonstrations in Finland.