Modern manufacturing processes and machinery have to be designed to be flexible and adaptable in order to increase productivity, efficiency and product quality. This calls for the development of ever more powerful sensor and control technology. At the same time, the scale and complexity of the manufacturing processes involved are increasing steadily. As far as machining operations in particular are concerned, but also in the robotics sector and anywhere distributed systems are operated, this means increasingly complex sequences of component and system component movement, requiring swift, reliable and wireless data transfer for the sensor systems. It is vital that these wireless transmission processes are robust and capable of meeting the burgeoning demands in terms of transmission rates and latency.
The Fraunhofer IPT is working with Ericsson, the Swedish mobile and telecommunications technology provider to operate a unique test environment for the future mobile communications standard, 5G. Here, industrial application scenarios can be tested and enhanced on the basis of the wireless transmission standard. With its low latency of under one millisecond, high data rates of up to 10 Gbit/s and the option of running numerous devices simultaneously in closely positioned radio cells, 5G technology is particularly well suited for use in networked, adaptive production settings with extensive measuring and control technology. The volume and diversity of machineries and equipment and the related applications available at the Fraunhofer IPT presents an ideal opportunity to deploy and test the technology in the widest possible range of applications.
A control system which uses a wireless, smart sensor to monitor process stability in milling operations conducted on complex components such as BLISKSs for turbomachinery manufacture is already in use in a pilot industrial application. For the first time ever, 5G technology is enabling extensive wireless sensor connections for data analyses to be used during an on-going process, ensuring adaptive control of the manufacturing process with short reaction times.
- Testing and optimizing industrial application scenarios within the 5G testbed
- Application-specific consulting and feasibility analyses
- Developing sensor systems and hardware for 5G integration
- Planning and executing research and development projects