A report from Vodafone suggests that 5G smart factories could provide a 6.3 billion pound boost to UK-based manufacturing by 2030. It states that investment in 5G-powered manufacturing could have the biggest impact in the North West, North East, Midlands, and Wales.
Three key areas where 5G can support economic growth in the manufacturing sector are highlighted in the report, wirelessly connected factories, predictive maintenance, and AR/VR. The report notes that factories with private 5G networks can support data coming from potentially thousands of connected devices in real-time, enabling increased productivity through employing technologies such as machine learning. Predictive maintenance helps to ensure downtime is eliminated or minimised by forecasting when and where repairs will be needed.
Finally, AR/VR can assist workers in maintaining and repairing machinery. The technology could also be used to provide vital training prior to using expensive machinery that could be mission-critical or dangerous to use without adequate knowledge. Where more specialist expertise is required, AR/VR enables workers to connect with engineers and designers located elsewhere in the world.
“We are only at the beginning of the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond,” comments Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone. ”To realise this potential, we need to all get behind it, from Government and Ofcom creating the right policy and regulatory environment, through to businesses embracing the power of innovation, and of course us as network operators creating this network of the future.”