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Manufacturing Industry Updates

How Private Wireless May Fuel Future Digitization Strategies

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ABI Research and Nokia surveyed 600 manufacturing companies to assess how they will invest to digitally transform. The top buying priorities from respondents include: automation upgrades, industrial IoT initiatives, cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure.

To support those topline points of view was a broad consensus about the role of private wireless in future digitization strategy. “With hyper-fast, industrial-grade private wireless connectivity perceived as the glue to bind their digital transformation goals together, more than 90 percent of respondents said they were investigating use of private 4G/5G in their manufacturing operations,” according to Nokia.

AC drives manufacturer Danfoss is the first company in Finland to pilot a private LTE network provided by Etteplan at its factory in Vaasa in a one-year project that began in January 2020. By deploying the wireless private network, Danfoss said it plans to improve productivity and workplace safety, expand the services it offers to its customers and enable one component for the smart factory of the future.

The pilot project uses Etteplan’s connectivity service in which the customer gets a 5G-ready LTE private network on a turnkey principle in exchange for a start-up fee and a monthly payment. Etteplan’s LTE private network accelerates digitalization by enabling the efficient integration of physical systems with business-critical processes in various industries.

“At Danfoss, our aim is to use the private network to improve plant productivity,” said Jari Marjo, head of global technology, supply chain at Danfoss Drives. “We want our factories to run more efficiently. A private LTE network enables us to collect a larger amount of data, as well as new kinds of data.”

Marjo said another incentive is operational safety. “The network enables us to transmit video and detect potential hazards with the help of machine vision applications,” he added.

ABI Research and Nokia’s study, which was conducted prior to the coronavirus pandemic, found 68 percent of manufacturing decision makers plan to leverage systems integrator channel partners for new technology introduction, preferring to engage with a trusted IT systems and services integrator.

Nokia said it is too soon to predict how the pandemic will impact its findings. The company added that “the results are still informative as to how manufacturing can become more flexible and resilient, and potentially better equipped to respond should such a challenge arise again.”

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