Bosch starts 5G campus network

Bosch starts 5G campus network

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Bosch will be setting up 5G networks in the coming months at its research campus in Renningen, Germany and is also launching its first 5G solutions for industrial use.

“5G strengthens our competitiveness and lets us make even more of Industry 4.0’s potential,” said Dr. Michael Bolle, board of management member and CDO/CTO at Bosch. “We will gradually roll 5G out to our roughly 250 plants around the world.”

At the plant in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, Bosch is using 5G for the widespread use of autonomous transport systems. Eight small base stations from Nokia provide coverage across the manufacturing facility, which covers around 10,000 square metres. This lets wirelessly connected machines and systems communicate with each other in real time and exchange data within a few milliseconds.

The Bosch ActiveShuttle moves autonomously over the shop floor, avoiding people and vehicles, bypasses storage boxes, steers purposefully toward the production line, stops, unloads its freight, and sets off again.

“Campus networks are an important building block for Industry 4.0,” said Bolle. “These networks give us control – over what happens in the factory and over how data is transferred both within and beyond the factory walls.”  

The networks can be optimized and tailored to highly demanding industrial applications and are integrated into the existing IT infrastructure and continuously monitors the activity.

The two companies are jointly responsible for network planning, operation, and servicing. As part of the KICK project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Nokia and other partners are researching how artificial intelligence can simplify the operation and maintenance of 5G campus networks.

“We have a clear vision of the factory of the future, and how we need to develop our products to meet its requirements. In this context, 5G is a ‘springboard innovation,’ a technology that will fundamentally change the market,“ said Rolf Najork, member of the Bosch board of management.

Capgemini has found that 65 percent of industrial companies worldwide plan to deploy 5G within the first two years of availability. Bosch is developing solutions to meet this demand. The Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX Automation platform was designed for 5G from the outset. “We are forging new paths and bridging the gap between control systems, IT, and the internet of things. Our new control technology will use the new mobile communications standard to connect a wide range of devices,” said Najork.

The research findings are being incorporated into the planning of 5G networks, also in Bosch’s new wafer fab in Dresden, which will be ready for 5G from day one. Moreover, Bosch now chairs the 5G-ACIA initiative, whose more than 70 member companies aim to shape 5G so that it meets the needs of manufacturing industry from the outset.

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