Ericsson and Telefónica come together to make 5G car manufacturing a reality for Mercedes-Benz

Ericsson is teaming up with Telefónica Germany to enable 5G car production using a private 5G network for Mercedes-Benz at the company’s Sindelfingen plant in southern Germany. The 5G network will facilitate data linking or product tracking on the assembly line. All processes will be optimized and made more robust, and if necessary, be able to be adapted at short notice to fit market requirements.

All production systems and machines in the new-build Factory 56 will be connected and operated via secure 5G with gigabit data rates and almost real-time latency times while handling large amounts of data. The 5G network will enable Mercedes-Benz to boost flexibility, production precision and efficiency as industry digitalization and Internet of Things becomes a reality in car production.

As a private 5G network, the intelligent connecting of production systems and machines in Factory 56 will be done in a secure way.

Ericsson and Telefónica Germany are building the network in the 20,000 square meter complex, comprising solutions from Ericsson’s Private Networks offerings and will hand over to Mercedes-Benz upon completion for operation.

Mercedes-Benz says experiences gained from Factory 56 will be incorporated into plans for future 5G implementation in other plants.

“As the inventor of the car, we are taking digitalization in production to a whole new level,” said Jörg Burzer, member of the divisional board of management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain. “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.”

“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,” said Markus Haas, CEO, Telefónica Germany.

“5G is about to change manufacturing as we know it through secure and almost real-time connectivity that will result in transformative productivity, speed and efficiency improvements,” said Arun Bansal, President and Head of Europe & Latin America, Ericsson. “The car industry will be among the first to benefit, as will be the case with Mercedes-Benz where we are working closely with the company and Telefónica to put our 5G private network technology leadership into practice in Sindelfingen.”

Ericsson also recently revealed that automotive 5G manufacturing production is now a reality for German electric microcar company e.GO Mobile AG at its Aachen complex, enabled by 5G connectivity from Ericsson and Vodafone Germany.

In e.GO’s Factory 1, where the e.GO Life model is manufactured, an Ericsson Private Networks solution – spanning 5G Core and 5G New Radio solutions from Ericsson’s 5G Platform – will  deliver secure and almost real-time data networking across the production chain, from digital material management to autonomous vehicle control. 

Incorporating network slicing and mobile edge computing technologies, which are already in place, the optimized on-site network spans 36 antennas in the 8,500sq m facility, delivering gigabit bandwidth and latency of just a few milliseconds. Ericsson 5G Radio Dots will be installed in the factory by the end of August.

The secure automatic identification and delivery of production materials to each specific vehicle as it goes through the assembly process, alongside fully autonomous vehicles replacing the traditional production line to move vehicles from station to station, increases operational speed and efficiency across the chain. In the future, autonomous forklift trucks and small trains will also be used to transport material between warehouses and the production hall.

Günther Schuh, CEO, e.GO Mobile AG, says the 5G network will deliver faster and more reliable production with constant access to relevant information. “The assembly plant for e.GO Life is a true Industry 4.0 factory,” he added. “In other words, it is fully networked in terms of information technology. Connectivity links the physical and the digital world.”

“Our automotive industry needs a fast network directly where the newest and most innovative cars are built,” said Hannes Ametsreiter, Head of Vodafone Germany. “Data is an important fuel for modern automobile production.”

“5G is the key to opening the door to a new era in manufacturing productivity, speed, security and efficiency – and the automotive industry is a prime example of the beneficiaries,” said Arun Bansal, President and Head of Europe & Latin America, Ericsson. “Our 5G technology leadership, including solutions and abilities specifically tailored to manufacturing, enables us to partner with companies such as Vodafone and e.GO to deliver the very best private networks solutions.”

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