The trend towards the use of 5G in manufacturing processes will only speed up in the coming years. This is the conclusion Guido Resch, Chief Business Development & Sales Officer at ASTI Mobile Robotics, draws in his presentation at the international Siemens conference “Automation meets IT”, which took place in September in Berlin. Together with Siemens and the Deutsche Messe, ASTI is planning a test to see their own ProBOT F250, an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) for trolleys and roll containers, utilize 5G in practice.

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5G in manufacturing: What are the advantages?

5G allows many manufacturing processes to become more flexible, autonomous, and efficient. It creates new solutions and services and speeds up digital transformation. The term 5G describes the fifth generation of mobile communications standards and is the direct successor to LTE, or Advanced LTE (4G) and UMTS (3G). It promises great progress in general connectivity, but also "great reliability, robustness and low latency” in robotics and automation, according to Guido Resch, Chief Business Development & Sales Officer at ASTI Mobile Robotics, in his presentation during the international Siemens conference “Automation meets IT”. With 5G, “Edge-Computing for mobile robots” becomes possible: gigantic amounts of data can be transmitted wirelessly and in real time across great distances and thus, AMRs can be integrated more quickly in new manufacturing environments.

Imagen Guido

The importance of this new mobile communications standard is proven by increasingly demanding customer and project needs: customers ask for more flexibility, for example when production facilities need to be changed or expanded. At the same time, robots are becoming more and more intelligent, can process more sensor data and are supposed to not only work in indoor environments, but also outdoors. In the Spanish SEAT plant Martorell, eight of ASTI’s outdoor AMRs are tasked with the autonomous transport of vehicle parts outside of the production line. Here, the automotive manufacturer uses a 4G LTE network. ASTI is already able to cover many new market demands via their ASTI Connected Services, such as monitoring from a distance, connectivity with IoT-devices via M2M, WiFi and 4G LTE.

 

Innovative testing in practice with Siemens and the Deutsche Messe AG

To improve their service, ASTI is working together with the Deutsche Messe AG and Siemens to test the new 5G technology in a use case with the ProBOT F250 in the upcoming months. This AMR is a new product in the Boxmover line. It is capable of picking up loads on trolleys or roll containers (600 x 400 mm, 400 x 300 mm, 800 x 600 mm) and putting them down at their destination without any need for new transfer stations or conveyor belts. This vehicle is being tested on the Messe Hannover’s exhibition grounds, where Siemens and the Deutsche Messe AG are providing a private 5G network. Those who are interested and would like to see this practice test for themselves are invited to do so between the 9th and the 11th of November 2021. The ProBOT with 5G connectivity is on display during this year’s CMM.

 

Future prospects: New challenges emerge with 5G

For ASTI, 5G offers the chance to respond to increasing network technology, cyber security and cloud computing demands and represents the future of industrial manufacturing. The adoption of the new 5G technology will, however, not progress equally quickly in every mobile robotics application, but will depend on the complexity and performance needs of the specific automation flow, according to Guido Resch. For manufacturers and industry players, it also requires continuous work to raise awareness for the additional benefits and new features 5G offers, and furthermore demands “interdisciplinary collaboration in project planning and execution”, understanding the 5G network infrastructure as a key element of the automation solution.

More details regarding the AMR for trolleys and roll containers can be found in our data sheet. You are also always welcome to contact our AMR experts, who will be happy to assist you. For this purpose, please use our contact form. More information about the ASTI Connected Services can be found here.