5G starts to roll out

20 April 2021

Control Engineering Europe spoke to Sander Rotmensen, director industrial wireless communication at Siemens Digital Industries about 5G technology.

Q: Where do you see 5G applications offering the greatest benefits in the industrial sector?
We are just at the beginning of the 5G roll-out. At this moment most use cases focus on remote connectivity with high bandwidth. However, in the future, 5G will enable more challenging use cases such as plant-wide autonomous logistics and robots becoming cobots. Another interesting use case is for the production of products that require the inclusion of large software packages – with 5G these can be wirelessly equipped during the manufacturing process and not afterwards in a separate step as it is often done today.

Industrial 5G will allow users to run multiple different applications over the same infrastructure. All in all it should be expected that, in the future, Industrial 5G will change the way we make decisions, manufacture products, and maintain factories.
Q: What are your predicted timeframes for seeing the technology being used in real-life applications?  
Industry will start to benefit from the higher bandwidths that 5G has to offer in remote connectivity applications this year. Industrial 5G routers – such as the SCALANCE MUM856-1 – will be available in very soon. These products are sased on Release 15 of the 5G standard. However, with the recently released Release 16 of 5G, the first requirements for 5G on the shopfloor have been integrated into the standard. However, it will take some time before products based on this standard hit the market. Based on ARC research industrial products for the shopfloor based on Release 16 are not to be expected before the end of 2022. 

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