5G industry news Technologies | Augmented, Virtual & Mixed Reality

Innovation Briefing Issue 9 | Factory of the Future

  • 2 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 15 Jun 2022
  • Last modified 8 Jun 2022
5GFoF is an industrial testbed that will find new and more efficient ways of manufacturing. Led by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West, 5GFoF is primarily based at its new £20 million facility in the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone in Lancashire.

The project is using 5G to test industrial applications such as robotic assisted assembly, reconfigurable product assembly, and the use of augmented reality for production, maintenance and inspection activities. The industrial application use cases are designed to test the most challenging and groundbreaking areas of 5G for manufacturing: increasing bandwidth, decreasing latency, ensuring security.

The network extends to the AMRC’s Factory 2050 facility in Sheffield, and BAE Systems’ Factory of the Future in Warton, where the global defence, aerospace and security company are developing technologies to manufacture a future combat air system, known as Tempest. The consortium includes hybrid cloud and AI experts IBM and aql, a telecoms and private 5G network provider. The Digital Catapult is the technical authority lead, coordinating 5G integration. Additionally, Lancashire-based SMEs Miralis and MTT are specialist developers working on specific use cases to implement 5G in both the detailed manufacturing operations and wider supply chain.

The project is exploring ways to dramatically improve manufacturer performance with potentially significant reductions in defects and waste through real time monitoring; enhanced machine utilisation and energy saving through ecosystem monitoring and digital twins; and a reduction in travel and maintenance times enabled by shared hybrid reality spaces.

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