5G and the new Ericsson Smart Factory
What is an Ericsson Smart Factory?
Ericsson’s newest factory is opening in Lewisville, Texas to manufacture many necessary components for 5G telecommunications networks. This will be their first “smart” factory. But what does that mean? Well, it does NOT mean that there will be no humans working in the plant. The Ericsson smart factory, covering about 300,000 square feet, will employ about 100 people when it opens in 2020 and will add an additional 300 or so jobs in the next few years.
Automated factories are nothing new. All major auto makers have used robot technology for years. But smart factories are robotic factories on steroids. Integrated and interconnected programming using machine learning will seamlessly govern the computer driven machines that will handle fabrication, assembly, transport and warehousing of the units produced there.
The main products will be components such as the antenna radio boxes that will make 5G transmission possible as it spreads across the country. But the interconnected systems within the factory will also be using the same 5G to make the processes faster, more efficient and more reliable. Autonomous carts will move the completed units to the warehouse facility. So from start to finish, more of the production will be handled by blazingly fast, super efficient machinery.
Just the Beginning
Ericsson already has a factory in Nanjing, China that is also producing 5G devices and components, so they are not newcomers to the systems, programming and hardware needed to get this newest factory going. The Ericsson smart factory in Lewisville is the first of Ericsson’s smart factories, but it won’t be the last. The company plans to upgrade all their production facilities to smart factories in the coming years. In an article for the Dallas Daily News, reporter Melissa Repko states that, “All those [5g] devices … and the internet of things – is what people call it – are connected to this new network, and that’s the potential of 5G”.
A Boon to Business
According to SDXCentral, “The new factory follows a multi-year effort by Ericsson to increase manufacturing in the United States, including the opening of a 5G ASIC design center in Austin, Texas; a collaborative IoT center and an artificial intelligence innovation hub in Santa Clara, California; a training facility in Lewisville for tower climbers; and a new radio network software research and development center in Austin.”
And the president of Ericsson North America said that the 100 million dollar Lewisville smart factory will lead to “increased investments in smaller, nearshore manufacturing sites with unique mass customization capabilities and significant positive impact on sustainability and customer experience.” I couldn’t have said it any better.
Harbinger of Things to Come
So as you can see, the overall effect of even one such smart factory has an impressive and positive “ripple effect” for the economy and for business development in many more places than just Lewisville, Texas. This is also a clear example of how new technology will spread faster than earlier projections. As of now, it is estimated that nearly half of all mobile connections will be in 5G by the year 2023. Get ready!
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