TWI joined a consortium of eight project partners to form 5G Enabled Manufacturing (5GEM) UK.
Having begun in June 2020, the two-year project, which is supported by the UK Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials programme, is exploring use cases for 5G private networks in different manufacturing environments.
5GEM aims to take advantage of the improved connectivity and reduced latency offered by 5G technology, allowing machines to communicate in near real time, providing feedback, control, analysis and remote expert support to ensure that new manufacturing processes are ready for the shop floor.
The use cases being explored by 5GEM include:
- Real Time Process Analysis and Control: Laser welding demonstrator at Ford, including real-time process optimisation for electric vehicle manufacturing. The batteries and electric motors in an electric vehicle require around 1,000 welds, producing over half a million pieces of data per minute. Data capture and analysis through wireless connectivity in the industrial environment should reduce delays, improve security and reliability and lead to faster deployment times.
- Intelligent Maintenance: Vacuum furnace heat treatment with AI-enabled predictive maintenance at TWI. Working with vacuum furnace specialists, VFE, this use case will explore improvements to the consistency and quality of components during heat treatment cycles.
This work demonstrates how 5G can:
- Enable faster connectivity with reduced latency and increased data capture rates
- Enable real-time in-process monitoring
- Provide real-time analysis and insights using captured data
- Provide real-time data feedback and control of process and machines
- Improve predictive maintenance capabilities supported by machine learning and digital twin processes
Demonstrate the capabilities of virtual and alternative reality using real-time processes, final quality monitoring and real-time remote operability