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5G Digital Twin in Industrial Automation

Ericsson and Comau recently demonstrated a Digital Twin enabled by 5G connectivity. "This innovation project represents a further step in the long-lasting partnership between Ericsson and Comau aimed at developing new use cases and solutions for Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing, due to the potential offered by the fifth-generation mobile technology," said a spokesperson.

Comau and Ericsson showed the digitized version of an assembly line in an automotive plant. Using special glasses for virtual reality applications, visitors are immersed in the line and could "move" within it, monitoring the key parameters of the processes and of the machines, such as vibrations, temperature, pressures and absorptions. A virtual reality digital dashboard, which can be used with a standard tablet, identified situations that could create slowdowns or interruptions in the process by providing instructions to tackle the problem effectively.

The features of 5G connectivity allow users to collect a stable, continuous and massive flow of data in real-time that is vital for automation processes. Due to 5G low latency, the Digital Twin shows information related to the real robot in the form of visual outputs, which make it possible to understand how the robot activity will evolve in the cell. From the data analysis, it is possible to foresee faults and malfunctions and identify which component must be repaired or replaced, suggesting which actions to take to operate effectively. 5G becomes the enabling technology for every analytics and digital intelligence remote activity on all assets of the production system.

"Comau's digitally interconnected equipment delivers real-time production data where and when it is needed, helping reduce downtime while improving overall quality. Digitized analytics provide customers with a wealth of information regarding production flows and throughput - information that is made available locally and remotely. 5G is an enabling driver for the digital transformation within the Industry 4.0 environment, specifically for low latency, bandwidth and plug & play connectivity of factory equipment," said Maurizio Cremonini, Comau Head of Marketing and Digital Initiatives Platform.

Magnus Frodigh, Head of Research, Ericsson, said, "Bandwidth and low latency, main features of the new 5G technology, are the crucial factors that will allow companies to accelerate the digitization and automation processes, enabling cutting-edge use cases in Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. The demo we presented with Comau shows how 5G deployment in the industrial environment will allow increased productivity and reduced costs."

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