Telia, Ericsson and Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) have launched what they say is Sweden’s first 5G network for industrial use cases.
The network went live at Volvo CE’s facility in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Volvo CE is using 5G to test remote-controlled machines and autonomous solutions.
Magnus Frodigh, Head of Research at Ericsson, notes that 5G can help to simplify remote control. Even with fully automated systems, human intervention is still needed sometimes.
Existing remote-control technology has a time lag that makes it difficult to control at high speed or with high precision. 5G will make remote control easier and safer, Frodigh said.
He commented, “With extremely short response times, high capacity, and a high level of accessibility to the mobile network, commercial and standardised 5G technology can be used for applications such as remote control of heavy machinery in real time.
“This opens new opportunities for greater efficiency, cutting costs and reducing risk in hazardous environments. 5G enables us to create a safer, more efficient and sustainable society. In cooperation with Telia and Volvo CE, we are now putting theory into practice in Eskilstuna.”
The network will also be used to increase understanding of how connected machines can create added value for the customer.
Anders Olsson, CEO of Telia Sweden, said, “We can see that the industry’s interest in 5G is considerable. Automation of the entire flow will mean new ways of working and greater gains from efficiency. But to connect business-critical machines and vehicles requires a solution that can handle the massive amounts of data with guaranteed connection. That is what 5G can give us.”
5G for safety
Volvo CE, Telia and Ericsson have worked together before to deploy cellular connectivity to contribute to safer and more efficient mining and in June last year, Volvo CE joined Telia's 5G partner programme.
The programme includes industry and academia and explores the technical and commercial opportunities offered by 5G. Volvo CE says it expects to be able to apply the lessons learned from tests at Eskilstuna to its global activities.
Melker Jernberg, President Volvo Construction Equipment, explained, “We are testing locally in Eskilstuna, but we operate globally. Connected machines and autonomous solutions are the future. They can give our customers more efficient production, logistics, greater flexibility and safer work.
“By minimising the potential safety risks and downtime associated with sectors such as mining, we can get closer to our goal of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero unplanned stops. It will be exciting to see how far 5G can take us on that journey.”