March 24, 2023

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5GHuawei, Haier, and China Mobile deploy 5G for smart Manufacturing

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With support from Huawei and China Mobile, Haier, China’s largest consumer electronics and home appliance producer, collaborated to apply innovative manufacturing solutions combining 5G and mobile edge computing in its smart factories.

The three announced the breakthroughs in Qingdao, a city in China, late last week, with Huawei saying in a statement that “The solutions, which are developed at the joint-innovation base established in February, integrate 5G edge computing with artificial intelligence and particularly machine vision in manufacturing environments.”

It added: “They are applicable to various manufacturing scenarios where they can perform a variety of functions. Haier has launched the technologies at seven smart factories in China and plans to expand the implementation at 20 factories by the end of 2022.”

The fifth-generation technology provides manufacturers with a lot of bandwidth —up to 20GBps— and latencies as low as 1 millisecond. One of 5G’s main features, Mobile edge computing, delivers low-latency cloud computing, however, it’s still early for manufacturers seeking to take advantage of 5G’s full capabilities.

In addition, Huawei is expected to help Haier deploy the 5G solutions and transform about 100 of its manufacturing facilities globally during five years, whilst the three also plan to offer the technologies to other leading manufacturers in China and abroad.

The solutions allow the implementation of high-performance machine vision in a manufacturing environment through low-latency connections between high-definition cameras, the AI modules at the factory site, and the training servers located off-site.

As such, the three partners also developed technologies to boost site and staff safety. For example, unlike traditional video surveillance systems that only have a recording function, AI-surveillance can automatically create alarms in real time when it detects anomalies on the factory floor.

The technology can identify non-authorized individuals, process safety violations, and workers who aren’t where they should be.

On the other hand, the solutions will be improved to provide “digital twins” visualization, which is the reproduction of a real and dynamic production floor into a virtual digital world, a meta-universe.

The concept makes just-in-time preventive maintenance a reality and enables the simulation of changes to the production process before they are implemented. The collaboration includes experimenting how 5G environment can support automated guided vehicles to transfer items in warehouses or manufacturing lines more accurately and efficiently.

Machine vision saves manufacturers costs by being deployed on a 5G-enabled production line and by rapidly performing QC checks with over 99 percent accuracy, at least 10 percent more accurate than without the function. Compared with visual inspection performed by humans, machine vision delivers much fewer false positive and false negative results.

By: Sheila Satori Mensa

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