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Deterministic 5G Private Network Empowering Intelligent Manufacturing

2023-11-20 14:04:00| Source:Mobile World Live

Wuhu Midea Kitchen & Bath Appliances Mfg. Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Wuhu Midea) is one of the largest home appliance manufacturing bases of Midea Group in the world, with around 8,000 employees and an area of 613,000 square meters.

The company specializes in the R&D and manufacturing of home appliances, such as gas cookers and range hoods, producing an annual output of 10 million units. In Wuhu Midea, China Unicom and ZTE have jointly built a deterministic 5G private network, realizing large-scale collaborative production and unified control. The private network provides the manufacturing park with deterministic 5G services by integrating computing powerthe network, ensuring higher-quality, more efficient, and eco-friendly production.

In the era of the digital economy, the Industrial IoT represented by intelligent manufacturing is developing rapidly. However, the digitalization of a single traditional process and the barriers between IT and OT providers may create more “information silos” for the digital transformation of enterprises. Under these circumstances, the deterministic 5G private network is introduced to establish connections between Man, Machine, Material, Method, and Environment, and eliminate “information silos” for unified data management. With a brand-new networking architecture, this 5G private network guarantees high reliability and stability comparable to industrial Ethernet, meeting the requirements for manufacturing in the OT field. By leveraging cloud-edge synergy on the 5G network, enterprises can deploy their own applications, thereby realizing unified control of data from different players in this field.

Keeping pace with the evolution of 3GPP specifications, the deterministic 5G private network features enhanced precision in all aspects. To be specific, a comprehensive mechanism is developed, involving all the processes from network infrastructure construction to system deployment. For example, the dynamic identification of intelligent services at the edge and URLLC capabilities enable an ultra-low latency of less than 10 ms. The dual-transmit and selective-receive technology and redundant transmission over dual PDU sessions ensure 99.999% reliability for data transmission. An ultra-low jitter within microseconds is realized by TSN-based traffic shaping and service orchestration, precise gating control, and deterministic data forwarding. Moreover, end-to-end dual-link redundancy is adopted along with multiple measures to enhance the performance of the deterministic network and guarantee the high reliability of the production line.

In addition, the deterministic 5G private network unlocks opportunities for a wide range of innovative applications, including deterministic transmission and collaborative orchestration of computing and network resources. This network is built on ZTE’s feature-rich 5G industrial gateway and NodeEngine. With only one board added to the BBU, the NodeEngine extends computing power to the local edge cloud, allowing for on-demand deployment of applications, such as service sensing and network orchestration, high-precision positioning, and cloud-based PLC. In this way, the 5G network is well integrated with industrial applications, providing a flexible, efficient, and cost-effective solution of “connectivity + computing” for the development of intelligent services.

The deterministic 5G private network solution, which involves private network technology, deployment, and operations, has been fully deployed on Midea’s intelligent manufacturing base. It enables large-scale and collaborative production via cloud-based PLC, AI-based machine vision for quality inspection, data collection, and asset positioning. Furthermore, the cooperative deployment of the network and services effectively reduces deployment complexity and shortens the time for service provisioning, increasing the deployment efficiency by 65% and reducing the deployment cost for production line changes by 30%. This also enhances the comprehensive utilization rate of the production line, with a 33% increase in machine collaboration efficiency and a 48% increase in the utilization of network and computing power. Compared with before, this solution has increased the overall production efficiency of the production line by 23%, leading to higher efficiency and quality, and greener and safer production, thereby unlocking the potential of 5G private networks.

With the application of the deterministic 5G private network, 5G is striking towards more vertical industries, and enterprises are embracing more flexible and intelligent manufacturing through wireless connectivity.