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Gearing up for 5G

While roller coaster enthusiasts, astronauts and car lovers mainly associate the letter G with gravity, for users of wireless communication it has come to represent "generation". But the two meanings have at least one thing in common - the more Gs, the more impressive the experience, as SmartFactoryKL shows.

21 Nov. 2018

The SmartFactoryKL technology initiative, founded in 2005 as a non-profit association, is showing how the new 5G wireless mobile standard is set to play a pivotal role in innovative areas such as smart production, networked machines, wireless sensor technology and intelligent mobility. For a number of months now, SmartFactoryKL has been using its Industry 4.0 demo plant to test 5G for transferring large volumes of data in real time.

"We need to act fast, as the allocation of 5G frequencies is taking place early next year and the first virtually series-ready products will come onto the market," says Prof. Detlef Zühlke, CEO of SmartFactoryKL, adding: "This makes it essential to build up experience as quickly as possible. If we aren't fast enough, we'll lose a key technology sector in Industry 4.0."

This has prompted SmartFactoryKL and its member companies to focus intensively on 5G, with a special emphasis on SMEs, which are so important for German industry and cannot implement the necessary solutions on their own. "One solution might be a campus model where a number of SMEs ‘'share' a license," says Zühlke. "This and other solutions need to be developed collectively. This is where we can do our bit as SmartFactoryKL and contribute our network."

5G has been used in SmartFactoryKL's Industry 4.0 plant since the spring. Tests are currently underway in conjunction with an international telecommunications partner on transferring large volumes of data and analyzing it in the cloud. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) is also involved. "We're working intensively at the DFKI with the team from SmartFactoryKL and its members to develop and evaluate further application scenarios for 5G in the production environment," says Prof. Martin Ruskowski, Head of Research Department Innovative Factory Systems at the DKFI.

Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V. (67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Website: https://smartfactory.de/en/

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