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Topics 27 March 2019
5G as a Key Technology for Industry 4.0

The global 5G-ACIA initiative plans to establish the new mobile telecommunications standard throughout industrial production to pave the way for digitalization. WAGO is actively shaping the development as a member.
5G technology promises to deliver a decisive advantage over current generations of mobile telecommunications: It will enable real-time data transmission. Data rates will be up to 100 times faster. Moreover, many more devices can be operated in a 5G cell than with today’s standards, and with 5G, interruptions during transmission will become a thing of the past. All of these are requirements that are indispensable for future key technologies – such as for autonomous driving, telemedicine or networking of production facilities.

The Benefits of 5G Technology:

  • It provides fast, reliable and high-availability data transmission.
  • Real-time communication is possible thanks to extremely low latency capabilities.
  • It makes massive IoT applications possible.
  • It enables new service offerings and business models.
  • It accelerates seamless networking and the digital transformation in production.

WAGO Plays a Major Role in 5G-ACIA

“The opportunities are enormous. To go along with our commitment to Industry 4.0 and to digitalization, we now have the right technology in 5G”, says Rainer Schmutte, Head of Business Development for INDUSTRY Germany at WAGO. The Minden-based company has therefore been an active member of the “Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation” (5G-ACIA) since this spring. This initiative was founded by the German Electrical and Electronics Manufacturer’s Association (ZVEI) and has undertaken the introduction of the 5G standard in industrial production. Meanwhile, a number of international companies in the automation, production and process industry and in communications technology are now represented in this initiative. The initiative founded in Germany has thus now transformed into an important forum for 5G in Industry 4.0.

Digitalization of Machines Offers Many New Options

The new mobile telecommunications standard is of great significance for WAGO. “5G is extremely important for us, because, in addition to fast mobile Internet, we also have the option of using the same technology in industrial applications”, says Schmutte. digitalization of machines will open up many new options for companies: It forms the basis for new service offerings and business models, efficiency enhancements in production, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance and continuous documentation of all production processes. According to Schmutte, 5G and digitalization will also offer the opportunity to retain the digital customer interface and not to lose services to other companies.

New Requirements Catalog for Industrial Communication

It is the common belief in the 5G-ACIA that 5G will markedly enhance the flexibility, transformability and productivity of industrial production. WAGO is actively committed in the 5G-ACIA owing to the great potential of the new mobile telecommunications standard. “We are aware of the future communication requirements for industrial applications, and are doing our part in the 5G-ACIA for the needs of the OT industry”, says Schmutte. The initiative is currently working on a catalog of requirements for industrial communications which will be incorporated into the work of the “3rd Generation Partnership Project” (3GPP) standardization committee, which is planning “Release 16,” the next 5G specification, for December 2019.

Reliable Local Networks for Industry

In Germany and in other countries, 5G will offer so-called “private” frequency ranges that can only be used by industry. This option in Germany goes back to a resolution by the Federal Network Agency. This office, which is responsible for awarding the 5G frequencies, has reserved part of the frequency spectrum explicitly for industrial and other local applications. The band between 3.7 and 3.8 GHz will not be included in the national call for tenders, but will be awarded directly to applicant institutions in the second half of 2019.

Industry requirements on network quality are strict: It must be exceptional for the factory of the future and uncoupled from standard public mobile telecommunications networks to be secure, independent and efficient. All of the involved stakeholders are currently working out how local networks are to be operated in the future.

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