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Smartrac, Compass Marketing partner on smart retail labeling ••• China Eastern Airlines adds RFID for tracking luggage at Shanghai airports ••• Swift Sensors joins Zebra's PartnerConnect Program ••• iDTRONIC releases RFID solution for forklifts ••• MachNation publishes IoT device-management score-card ••• Element Materials Technology to provide Zigbee Alliance certification testing ••• Ericsson, Telia pilot dedicated cellular network for Internet of Things.
By Rich Handley

Ericsson, Telia Pilot Dedicated Cellular Network for Internet of Things

Communications company Ericsson and Nordic-based service provider Telia have brought automated guided vehicles (AGVs), augmented reality (AR) and sensors together at Ericsson's manufacturing facility in Tallinn, Estonia, via a dedicated cellular network. The resulting mobile communication, the companies report, provides the capacity, customization and control required to scale and secure the connected factory and improve manufacturing operations.

Measuring 25,000 square meters (269,000 square feet), the Tallinn supply site is one of Ericsson's largest manufacturing units, incorporating R&D activities and volume production. To increase production efficiency and sustainability, Telia and Ericsson have jointly piloted a new dedicated cellular network for the IoT at the factory. Testing was finalized last month.

The first solution to benefit from the dedicated cellular network involves AGVs, which deliver product components from the warehouse to production lines. The AGVs can communicate with the control system, provide a live stream of data and video, and use the dedicated network to open doors. Transporting components is a labor-intensive, costly and repetitive task, according to the two companies, but AGVs can save time, reduce the risk of damaging components and decrease waste.

The second solution is AR troubleshooting, which provides an interactive method for the quality control and testing of electronics components. By using AR glasses or terminals, troubleshooters gain an overlay with all manuals, instructions and collective knowledge of other troubleshooters, allowing them to quickly identify potential problems. Field tests have shown a 50 percent reduction in time spent on troubleshooting circuit boards when AR is utilized, the companies indicate.

The third solution enables the Tallinn factory to monitor the environment using mobile sensors to measure moisture, temperature, noise, light and carbon dioxide levels. The goal, the firms explain, is to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment, while minimizing the risk of production defects. The dedicated cellular network has the capacity to handle thousands of sensors within a factory, enabling them to be relocated as the layout of the factory evolves.

"The Ericsson factory becomes the first in Estonia to implement these innovative solutions using private networks and industry connect for cellular IoT," said Robert Pajos, Telia's CEO for Estonia, in a prepared statement. "Companies have a need to connect everything in their production environment, including sensors, tools, robots, vehicles and the goods they handle or produce. As the demand to connect more things increases, the need for high-quality networks grows with it. 4G and 5G mobile communications is the best option for secure, reliable connectivity with high throughput and low latency. Our cooperation with Ericsson shows our joint capacity to create these network solutions for the future."

"Mobile networks meet the requirements to support diverse smart manufacturing use cases, making it possible to securely and efficiently optimize manufacturing processes," added Lars Ottoson, Ericsson's head of supply at the Tallinn site, in the prepared statement. "They allow massive real-time data collection and analytics and intelligent automation on the factory floor, solving operational challenges and creating a more sustainable, efficient and safer production environment."


Paul Drolshagen 2019-08-07 01:18:08 AM
There is a big challenge with RFID on forklifts in avoiding unwanted tag reads, especially in high metal environments. Also load would need to be picked up again from the same side, else it would require a second tag. And what about moving more than one pallet at a time? There are other options available. One is based on tracking forklifts with 2D LIDAR sensors (laser localization) and using x,y,z coordinates to automatically identify pallets and storing bins in racks and bulk storage areas. This works with almost any kind of load, indoors and out. And it avoids recurring cost for tagging the load to track.

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