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Ericsson develops smart production based on the 5G network in Tallinn

For its digital capabilities, proximity to universities, and easy collaboration, Estonia is an excellent test bed for creating knowledge-intensive innovative applications. Ericsson uses the innovation-friendly environment provided by Estonia to implement new industrial systems based on the 5G network at its Tallinn plant.

„Here in Tallinn we work with the latest technology, with 5G,“ Lars Ottoson, Head of Ericsson Supply Site Tallinn, told EIA at the Estonian Entrepreneurship Awards 2019 gala.

„To do that we have the collaboration with the TalTech University, we recruit a lot of talents from there. We also work with partners here in Tallinn, so for us this is a cornerstone for our strategy,“ Ottoson explained.

Cooperation to implement the IoT

To make production more efficient and sustainable, Telia and Ericsson built a brand new mobile network for the IoT (the Internet of Things). Ericsson’s partner ABB is providing a fully automated flexible robot cell solution for the final assembly of 5G radios. The partnership will enable enhanced connected services, Industrial IoT and artificial intelligence technologies in the future.

With the help of partners, among them the Nordic-based telecommunications company Telia, Ericsson has 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.

In-factory logistics with automated 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.

Testing and quality control through the Augmented Reality

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.

A healthy working environment with mobile sensors

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.

Estonia has a sizeable Advanced Industrial sector and world-class IT expertise in areas including high tech systems, control technologies and cyber security. Supported by a collaborative ecosystem well suited to research and development, Estonia is emerging as a centre of excellence in industrial automation.

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