Hannover Messe 2021: Industrial 5G becoming a reality
The annual Hannover Messe Manufacturing trade show was a fully virtual event this year due to the pandemic. And while this presented significant challenges for everyone it affected Deutsche Messe, the event organizers, probably the most. In about 5 months, Deutsche Mess had to build a virtual exhibitor fair platform and develop a program with substantive content over a full 5 days of broadcasting that would persuade virtual visitors to pay a nominal fee for a pass and then compel them to spend time browsing through the main programing and exhibitor channels looking for new insights into manufacturing technology advancements. One of the key insights is the significant progress made in making industrial 5G a reality in smart manufacturing and smart logistics operations.
The topic of Industrial 5G at Hannover Messe was led by 5G ACIA, 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G ACIA). 5G ACIA is a global forum that is comprised of a broad eco-system of ICT and OCT industries with the purpose of shaping and supporting the advancement of Industrial 5G. The 5G ACIA conference program together with the Exhibitor Livestream demonstrations showed the significant progress that has been made over the last 2 years since 5G was first demonstrated at Hannover Messe in 2019. Leading up to Hannover Messe, 5G ACIA made several press releases announcing cooperation with VDMA WCM (Wireless Connected Machines) in the advancement of radio technologies in machines and an MoU with OPC Foundation in running OPC-UA over Industrial 5G. Expanding the eco-system and cooperation of industry organizations for industrial 5G can only help in gaining consensus and driving adoption. Within the conference program itself, a keynote by Dr. Andreas Müller, general chair 5G ACIA | Bosch, titled “New Milestones of Industrial 5G” presented how the collaborative efforts of the 80+ ICT and OCT 5G ACIA members who have brought the deployment of Industrial 5G from its early stages of:
- defining use case initial requirements,
- traffic modeling,
- security frameworks,
- radio channel characterization
- 5G global spectrum analysis/availability,
- Integration with TSN and Industrial Ethernet
- non-public networks
- basic test and validation lab phase,
to the present where 5G ACIA is now:
- tracking 3GPP 5G releases and gap analysis,
- developing edge computing use cases,
- OPC-UA integration,
- 5G IoT device architecture,
- QoS concepts for Industry 4.0
- Creation of new 5G test beds for performance validation of use cases and
- Service level specifications.
Industrial 5G has advanced to the point where real 5G stand-alone non-public (private) networks are being deployed in factories such as in Germany where the Telecommunications regulator, BNetZA, allocated 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum for industrial applications. As part of the 5G ACIA member exhibitor Livestream demonstrations, Bosch, Rohde and Schwarz and Nokia demonstrated industrial automation use cases over private 5G. Bosch-Rexroth 5G ActiveShuttle (AGV) and a 4K predictive Artificial Intelligence of Things video camera were connected to a Nokia Digital Automation Cloud 5G stand-alone private network in Bosch’s Stuttgart-Feuerbach factory. 5G radio network performance was tested with Rohde & Schwarz 5G measurement solutions. You can watch the replay or the 5G ACIA exhibitor interview of Bosch, Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz each providing their perspective on Industrial 5G here or you can just watch the video of this demonstration here. These real use case demonstrations in working factories show that industrial 5G is moving from the lab to the production floor.
5G ACIA also published a number of new white papers leading up to Hannover Messe. These white papers covered a number of important topics that are fundamental to the adoption of 5G in Industry including security aspects, integration of 5G with Time Sensitive Networks, performance testing of 5G for industrial automation, the use of digital twins and 5G in production networks and the exposure of 5G capabilities for connected industries and industrial automation.
5G ACIA was not the only organization discussing 5G.The MulteFire Alliance also was present at Hannover Messe and contributed to the Exhibitor Stream program with a presentation titled “Unlicensed Spectrum for 5G Private Networks? The Answer is Yes!” by Asimakis Kokkos, Technical Specification group chair. The availability of licensed spectrum or the use of public networks for manufacturers to deploy their own private networks is not always a viable option. The use of MulteFire and Uni5G unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz range enables manufacturers to deploy their own private 4G and 5G networks to support their industrial applications.
While there is still much work to be done, the commercial adoption of Industrial 5G in manufacturing is becoming a reality.