Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) is here, and it’s transforming the way companies across industries operate and fulfill customer demands. Unlike the previous industrial revolutions, which saw the introduction of new things like steam, water, and electricity, IR 4.0 marks the significant improvement of existing processes through intelligent technologies.
But to realize the benefits of IR 4.0, including IoT, AI, machine learning, and data analytics, organizations worldwide are building and joining a robust 5G network. 5G technology will push the world into a high-speed mobile internet era that will offer more bandwidth and improved connectivity between devices.
Read on to find how 5G-enabled Manufacturing ERP software will help manufacturing companies become more efficient and productive.
1. Control production assets remotely
The most significant benefit of 5G in manufacturing is that it can monitor shop-floor activities and track operations in real-time. Therefore, operators can perform asset management, machine configuration, and optimize efficiency and safety from remote locations.
A real-life example comes from Siemens’ transformers factory in Mexico. Their live remote monitoring system for Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) ensures each manufactured product strictly adheres to the customer’s contract specifications and can be conveniently installed on-site.
Generally, FAT requires customers to be present in the factory. But the live monitoring feature of 5G-enabled Manufacturing ERP systems allows customers to do FAT from their respective locations.
2. Predict faulty pieces of equipment early
A study by Wall Street Journal reveals that industrial manufacturers are making losses close to USD 50 billion each year due to unplanned downtimes. The same study further tells that equipment failures contribute to 42% of such downtimes.
Predictive maintenance capabilities provide a viable solution to this challenge. For example, HIROTEC, one of the biggest auto parts manufacturers, integrated edge analytics and cloud platform with its existing manufacturing ERP systems to launch multiple pilots. These pilots allowed HIROTEC to gain real-time visibility into its manufacturing operations and prevent critical system failures. Elimination of manual inspections is another benefit of these pilots.
5G technology is helping HIROTEC receive reliable information from these pilot tests and enhance their prediction efficiency.
3. Generation of creative business models
5G is enabling manufacturing companies to explore new business models. For example, drones move finished products across the factory floor and save crucial transport time. But the primary challenge is that current LTE networks don’t have the required bandwidth and are prone to interferences due to which data cannot flow to long distances. As more companies embrace 5G technology, drones will be able to deliver products to customers spread across a broad geographical area.
Amazon is making great strides in this space. For example, it’s building a robust 5G delivery infrastructure since 2013 to shorten product delivery time.
4. Augmented reality (AR) for equipment maintenance
5G technology ensures stable connectivity and low latency that help repair electronic boards. This process is called augmented reality troubleshooting. Ericsson, a world-leading telecommunications company, has been experimenting with this process, allowing engineers and operators to get critical equipment information in real-time without referring to physical manuals, word documents, and blueprints.
Ericsson conducted an in-house study to find that engineers spend more than 50% of their time doing unproductive activities like linking and finding schematics with layout files while troubleshooting faulty machines. With the introduction of AR, they can identify electronic board parts that need to be fixed. This way, they will gain the following benefits:
- Training technicians quickly and efficiently.
- Creating and updating business documents.
- Repair electronic boards at double the speed.
5. Collaborative robots
Manufacturing companies are employing robots to perform various industrial tasks because they ensure higher efficiency, better productivity, and perform tasks at a lightning-fast speed. Industrial robots are of different types. For example, some robots move heavy objects from point A to point B while others work alongside humans on the shop floor and in the warehouse.
Recently, Ocado, a grocery shop in the UK, came to the limelight after implementing an army of 1,100 collaborative robots for completing tens of thousands of grocery orders each week by picking objects from crates and delivering them to packing stations. These robots travel approximately 37 miles each day along a grid using an air traffic control system. Reports suggest that they can pack 50 products in less than 5 minutes, fulfilling 65,000 orders per week.
5G plays a crucial role in allowing these robots to travel along the grid without collisions by sharing vast quantities of real-time data across many sensors.
Nishant Joshi likes to read and write on technologies that form the bedrock of modern-day and age like ERP, CRM, Web Apps, machine learning, data science, AI, and robotics. His expertise in content marketing has helped grow countless business opportunities. Nishant works for Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of business management software to small and mid-sized businesses in India.
You can learn more about him on Linkedin