How private 5G is driving the evolution of smart manufacturing

The manufacturing sector faces multiple challenges, including streamlining and automating operations, increasing the flexibility of production lines, increasing yield to stay competitive in global markets. One answer to help address these issues lies in private 5G network connectivity. 


written by: Thorsten Lutz, EU Solution Architect, Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

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An industry facing multiple challenges


Today, manufacturers face multiple challenges including labour shortages, with the industry remaining significantly short of skilled workers. Supply chain issues persist, including sourcing bottlenecks, global logistics backlogs, cost pressures, and mounting cyberattacks. Streamlining procurement, sourcing and maintaining margins, while also making sustainability a core pillar of business, are all top of mind for manufacturers. 

However, despite these challenges, the manufacturing industry continues to surpass expectations. Technology is key to maintaining competitiveness as manufacturers look to embrace digital transformation by investing in smart manufacturing, including automation, data analytics, and advanced connectivity solutions. These technologies can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline operations while improving product quality, as many organisations look to implement Industry 4.0 principles to create agile and interconnected factories. 

Smart manufacturing optimises processes, enhances productivity, and enables real-time decision-making. And one of the key technologies enabling manufacturing organisations to navigate these challenges and turn risks into opportunities is private 5G networks.


Manufacturing is leading the way in private 5G adoption


According to ABI Research, manufacturing will account for an estimated 49 million private 5G connections worldwide by 2030. Likewise, analyst firm Omdia’s Private LTE and 5G 2023 Networks Tracker highlighted that manufacturing was one of the leading verticals for private 5G, accounting for 23% of all network rollouts.

This is because 5G private networks enable real-time monitoring and control of machinery, improving operational efficiency, and enabling predictive maintenance. With reduced latency and higher reliability, manufacturers can optimise their processes, enhance worker safety, and achieve higher levels of automation. Recent VDC research indicates that the top limitations for manufacturers’ current networks are security, speed, performance, and reliability – all of which can be bridged through the deployment of 5G private networks. 

Private 5G networks  stand out as the foremost choice in connectivity technology when it comes to its application in manufacturing environments. Its exceptional performance and the ability to facilitate mobility across expansive and intricate environments, including partitioned spaces and multi-floor setups, make it a versatile and dependable option. 

Private 5G enables multiple use cases

Leveraging private 5G network  capabilities, manufacturers can support multiple use cases, including autonomous mobile robots, quality and safety inspection, surveillance and more. Additionally, 5G can support computer vision solutions used for safety inspection, such as ensuring workers are complying with safety guidelines, all without the need for a complex cable set up. This results in improved operational efficiencies, reduced device workloads, and reduced device costs thanks to the lowered requirement for computing capabilities. 

These enhancements will result in increased private 5G network adoption within manufacturing and its supply chain. Private 5G creates an entirely new network environment for the manufacturing site. Its high quality and secure connectivity support mission critical production operations, driving increased production speed and efficiency. As a result, private 5G networks are ushering in a new era of smart manufacturing. better 

How Panasonic supports smart manufacturing

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK has been working with manufacturers for many years to deliver rugged mobile computing solutions for today’s digitally enabled production lines and MRO field technicians, enabling many factory functions to run smoother, smarter and faster.

We are helping manufacturers to streamline workflows and improve productivity, minimise errors through higher accuracy, and automate processes. We are also helping to decrease maintenance requirements and lessen unplanned downtime.

Panasonic’s rugged TOUGHBOOK devices are meeting manufacturers’ needs, but when combined with Private 5G networks, their operational processes are transformed. Panasonic has developed a 5G private network architecture (5G Campus) offering from the ground up, bringing all the control and security our customers need while delivering the full capabilities of private 5G network to organisations.

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK combines the best of private 5G networks with sits rugged TOUGHBOOK devices, built for 5GSA – and the technical support required to keep operations running smoothly. 

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