Nokia Digital Automation Cloud energised them
When integrator Telent built a 5G Standalone network for the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the instant response times created by the new network awoke robots from their slumber. Now the entire campus has been stimulated into activity and AMRC is getting a lot more work done, in less time and for less money.
The installation uses a Nokia digital automation cloud (NDAC) to provide the energising apps for the on-premise 5G network. The result has been a massive improvement in manufacturing safety, fewer defects, less waste and a reduction in quality issues. This is because the speed of the network and its ability to prioritise using network slicing has fed much more timely information back to the control centres of the campus and they can make instant analysis of data.
Telent’s expertise is in designing, building, supporting and managing mission-critical networks for its customers according to CTO Gerard Donohue. In this case it advised the university, which was looking to network its campus, that 5G has got a better reach than other options under consideration, one of which Wi-Fi. “The AMRC will benefit from the availability of licensed, yet low-cost spectrum allocations, with the solution using 5G wireless access points that provide a greater coverage area than alternative on-premises wireless solutions, such as Wi-Fi,” said Donohue.
AMRC will see the difference in the performance of its robots. A private 5G gives robot users greater control of fixed arm and mobile automatons, as well as the computer numerical control (CNC) machines used in advanced manufacturing of aerospace components. Telent provided the initial guidance and support to help the AMRC get the best performance out of these new robotic powers that it finds at its disposal. Throughout the project Telent tweaked and refined, installed and configured, commission systems and integrated them with the AMRC’s existing infrastructure.
Sensors improve sensibilities
The AMRC is now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse and process the data online from devices and sensors as the machines operate. The improvement in the speed of feedback and the timeliness of the data processing allows the AMRC team to conduct virtual testing and qualify products live – so they can be modified and steered as they are in the process of being built.
This means AMRC’s process control and automation are as good as it gets, according to Dr Aparajithan Sivanathan, AMRC’s North West Head of Digital Technology. It’s important to work closely with the service provider in order to banish misunderstandings and learn how to use the system to its fullest advantage. “By working alongside Telent on this project, we now have access to reliable, unfailing connectivity and the knowledge to fully leverage this newfound capability and help our customers prosper in the new age of Industry 4.0,” said Sivanathan.
The fast, secure connectivity of 5G SA supports a range of apps, from the Internet of Things (IoT) through Push To Talk (PTT) to Push To Video (PTV) communications for AMRC. The rise in efficiency has cut operational costs and supported greater creativity and invention, said Sivanathan.