Mercedes-Benz Cars sets up world's first 5G network for automobile production

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 18 Jun 2019


Mercedes-Benz Cars has collaborated with telecommunications company Telefonica Deutschland and network supplier Ericsson to set up the world's first 5G mobile network for automobile production in its ‘Factory 56’ in Sindelfingen.

As part of an innovation project that extends over 20,000 square metres., the 5G mobile communications standard is being implemented for the first time into the running production. The experience gained there will be actively incorporated into plans for future implementation in other plants. 

The use of state-of-the-art 5G network technology allows Mercedes-Benz Cars, among other things, to optimise existing production processes in its plant with the help of new features. These include, for example, the data linking or product tracking on the assembly line. With a separate own network, all processes can be optimised and made more robust, and if necessary adapted at short notice to prevailing market requirements.

Furthermore, the mobile communications standard links production systems and machines together in an intelligent manner, thereby supporting the efficiency and precision of the production process. A further benefit of using a local 5G network is that sensitive production data do not have to be made available to third parties.

With the 5G network, the enormous quantities of data required for various test scenarios involving the automobile of the future can be processed very quickly (via 'data shower'). The 5G mobile communications standard allows fast data transmission rates in the gigabit range, with extremely low latency and a high level of reliability.

According to Jorg Burzer, member of the divisional board of management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, production and supply chain, “With the 'Factory 56', we are not only building the smart car production of the future but also putting in place the world's first 5G mobile network in a vehicle assembly factory. As the inventor of the car, we are taking digitalisation in production to a whole new level. With the installation of a local 5G network, the networking of all production systems and machines in the Mercedes-Benz Cars factories will become even smarter and more efficient in the future. This opens up completely new production opportunities.”

Markus Haas, CEO of Telefonica Deutschland, said, “We are starting the 5G era for Germany as an industrial location and are building the most modern mobile network for one of the most modern automobile factories in the world.  As a telecommunications provider and partner for the industry, we have extensive experience in private networks and modern 5G solutions, which we are now contributing to the cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Cars.”

In order to reach the full capability of 5G, short distances are essential. This is only possible via a local infrastructure, as is being implemented for the first time in ‘Factory 56’. With its ‘Factory 56’, the inventor of the automobile is building one of the most modern car production facilities in the world. This facility is not only consistently flexible and green, but it also uses intelligent and digitalised technologies that make it possible to harness the full potential of Industry 4.0.

Machines and systems, for example, are closely networked with one another. The assembly facilities and materials-handling technology are compatible with the Internet of Things. In order to achieve this, the ‘Factory 56’ has been equipped by the cooperation partners with several 5G small-cell indoor antennas and a central 5G hub.

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