Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and OMRON Corporation have agreed to conduct joint field trials using 5G at their plants and other production sites. As part of the trial, Nokia will provide the enabling 5G technology and OMRON the factory automation equipment, while NTT DOCOMO will run the 5G trial.
The trial follows the increasing demand for wireless communications at manufacturing sites driven by the need for stable connectivity between IoT devices. As background noise from machines and the movement of people have the potential to interfere with wireless communications, the trial will aim to verify the reliability and stability of 5G technology deployed by conducting radio wave measurements and transmission experiments.
During the trial, Nokia, DOCOMO and OMRON will aim to establish the feasibility of the concept of a layout-free production line with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). As product cycles become shorter due to fast-changing consumer demands, manufacturing sites are under increasing pressure to rearrange production lines at short notice. By taking advantage of 5G's high speed, large capacity, low latency and ability to connect multiple devices, the trial will see AMRs automatically conveying components to the exact spot where they are required based on communication with production line equipment.
The trial will also leverage 5G connectivity for real-time coaching using AI/IoT. Machine operators will be monitored using cameras, with an AI-based system providing feedback on their performance based on an analysis of their movements. This will help improve the training of technicians by detecting and analyzing the differences of motion between more skilled and less skilled personnel.