5G seems to be finally entering its useful phase as Ford UK is the latest to buy into private networks for smart factories.
A 5G mobile private network will be installed this year by Vodafone Business in Ford’s new E:PriME (Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering) facility Dunton, Essex. It promises all the usual smart factory, industry 4. Stuff with thousands of sentient robots and widgets, all connected to the central hive mind, industriously scurrying about the place, making bits of car.
“Connecting today’s shop floor requires significant time and investment,” said Chris White, Ford’s 5GEM project lead. “Present technology can be the limiting factor in reconfiguring and deploying next-gen manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform the speed of launch and flexibility of present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.”
“5G mobile private networks act as a springboard for organisations, allowing them to rethink the way they do business,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “In this case, MPN technology makes the factory of the future possible. It allows machines and computing power to coordinate in real time, improving precision, efficiency and safety. We’re excited to help Ford plan for the future of its business.”
For some reason they threw in an old quote from a politician, saying what a great idea 5G is. Maybe they’re on the scrounge for some public wedge so the government can bask in the reflected glory of this rare example of the UK making tangible use of 5G. Regardless it’s good to see us getting our act together on commercialising 5G and it will be interesting to see business benefit proof-points from this project.