Ericsson, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Hitachi America R&D have partnered on a recent trial of private 5G infrastructure trial to enable ‘smart factory’ operations at Hitachi Astemo Americas’ electric motor vehicle manufacturing plant in Kentucky, USA.
“The best news about this collaboration is that it is not about capabilities that will be available at some distant point in the future,” said Thomas Noren, head of PCN Commercial and Operations, Ericsson.
“These solutions can be deployed today in manufacturing and enterprise environments to deliver a range of early adopter competitive advantages. As global technology leaders, Ericsson AWS and Hitachi America R&D have shown how collaboration can drive innovation.”
The system used a combination of Ericsson’s private 5G with the AWS Snow Family to provide private cellular networks, which were used to develop machine-learning (ML) models within Hitachi’s manufacturing operation.
By leveraging Hitachi video analytics, real-time videos of the component assembly process were fed across the Ericsson network to help detect defects earlier, thus reducing wasted material and production losses.
A key aim of the project was to enable the building and training of ML models to support the improvement of product quality on the shop floor.
According to Ericsson, the trial has ‘demonstrated that the combination of 5G and cloud technologies is now making full-scale, global deployment of digital production line applications viable’.
Chris McKenna, global lead, private wireless, AWS, added: “While it’s long been anticipated that technologies such as 5G and video analytics could drive innovation in manufacturing, one of the challenges has been how to securely and reliably process that data to drive outcomes.
“By using the Ericsson private 5G network product, and running artificial intelligence and machine-learning models on an AWS Snow Family device, we were able to demonstrate a reliable and secure connection to run machine vision inferences at the site to help detect defects earlier.”