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5G could be set to fast track the next revolution in Scotland’s manufacturing industry. Industry experts certainly believe so thanks to the development of a private testbed at a leading Research and Development facility. This will act as the first step towards 5G use cases in manufacturing.
Whilst it’s still very early days, 5G will be a vital component to many new manufacturing processes and concepts that will improve efficiency and transform workspaces. Automation will be a huge factor that 5G will enable, including new concepts such as machine-to-machine communication, live streaming processes and the implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
“5G will help manufacturers break the mould”
The ability to test out 5G use cases in manufacturing was made possible when Ofcom opened up ‘shared spectrum’ in July 2019. This ‘shared spectrum’ allowed organisations to create their own private mobile networks which can be used as testbeds.
The ability to access a private 5G network has given the green light to many manufacturers to test out new business models and ideas that utilise 5G. The hope is that super-fast and reliable 5G will enable factories to operate safely, efficiently and with much more autonomy than ever before.
Malcolm Brew, 5G senior research fellow at the University of Strathclyde, said, “5G means different things to different people, but in an industrial context is much more than just another number – it is going to be very different to its predecessors.
“While it is not yet fully baked, 5G will help manufacturers break the mould and create a lot of opportunities for new applications and even business models. The use of Ofcom’s ‘shared spectrum framework’ policy will be a major enabler in building new private 5G networks”
Useful read: What is a private 5G network?
UK government offers £9 million to kickstart 5G in manufacturing
The UK has definitely noticed the huge opportunity that 5G presents to the manufacturing industry. So much so that in March of this year it launched a £9 million project to create a private 5G network at the National Composites Centre (NCC). The network will be used to explore new use cases for 5G in the manufacturing industry.
This will explore areas such as real-time monitoring and analytics as well as machine automation.
On top of this, Ford and Vodafone have now decided to team up to build electric cars in a 5G-powered factory. This all goes to show just how important 5G is to the manufacturing industry with an analyst at ABI Research predicting that manufacturing will generate a quarter of 5G revenue over the next eight years.
It appears that it’s not just Scotland that’s embracing 5G in manufacturing but the whole of the UK recognizes its power.