Ericsson and Nordic-based service provider Telia have brought automated guided vehicles, Augmented Reality (AR), and a huge number of sensors to life at Ericsson’s manufacturing facility in Tallinn, Estonia, via a dedicated cellular network.
The resulting mobile communication is delivering the capacity, customization, and control needed to scale and secure the connected factory, improving manufacturing operations.
At 25,000sq m, the Tallinn supply site is one of Ericsson’s largest manufacturing units, incorporating R&D activities and volume production.
To increase production efficiency and sustainability, Telia and Ericsson jointly piloted a new dedicated cellular network for Internet of Things (IoT) within the factory. With testing finalized in June, the network now supports three innovative processes to enable more efficient production.
AUTOMATED GUIDED VEHICLES
The first solution to benefit from the dedicated cellular network is Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) delivering product components from warehouse to the production lines. The AGVs can now communicate with the control system, provide a live stream of data and video, as well as use the dedicated network to open doors. Transporting components is a labor-intensive, costly and repetitive task where AGVs can save time, reduce the risk of damaging components, and cut waste.
The second solution is Augmented Reality (AR) troubleshooting, which is providing an interactive method for the quality control and testing of electronics components. By using AR glasses or terminals, the troubleshooter gets an overlay with all manuals, instructions and collective knowledge of other troubleshooters, allowing them to quickly identify potential problems. Field tests have shown a 50 percent reduction in time spent on troubleshooting circuit boards when using AR.
The third solution enables the Tallinn factory to monitor the environment using mobile sensors to measure moisture, temperature, noise, light, and carbon dioxide. The goal is to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment while minimizing the risk of production defects. The dedicated cellular network has the capacity to handle thousands of sensors in a factory, allowing them to be relocated as the layout of the factory evolves.
Robert Pajos, CEO, Telia, Estonia: “The Ericsson factory becomes the first in Estonia to implement these innovative solutions using private networks and industry connect for cellular IoT. Companies have a need to connect everything in their production environment, including sensors, tools, robots, vehicles and the goods they handle or produce. As the demand to connect more things increases, the need for high-quality networks grows with it. 4G and 5G mobile communications is the best option for secure, reliable connectivity with high throughput and low latency. Our cooperation with Ericsson shows our joint capacity to create these network solutions for the future.”
Lars Ottoson, Head of Supply Site Tallinn, Ericsson, says: “Mobile networks meet the requirements to support diverse smart manufacturing use cases, making it possible to securely and efficiently optimize manufacturing processes. They allow massive real-time data collection and analytics and intelligent automation on the factory floor, solving operational challenges and creating a more sustainable, efficient and safer production environment.”