Volkswagen is on the road to smart 5G factories

01. 11. 2021 Monday / By: Robert Denes / Industrial / Exact time: BST / Print this page

The installation and operation of the 5G infrastructure by Volkswagen ensures data security and creates specialized knowledge that gives the company a competitive advantage.

Volkswagen is taking another step towards factories connected to the entire network. A local 5G stand-alone network (“campus network”) is already available at the main plant in Wolfsburg, which will initially cover the main production development center and the experimental hall. The pilot project will test whether the 5G technology meets the stringent requirements of vehicle manufacturing so that it can be developed for industrial series production in the future. A dedicated 5G radio frequency will be used to ensure secure, delay-free data transmission, which will be made available to them by the Finnish telecommunications manufacturer Nokia. The Dresden Transparent Factory has also commissioned a so-called “5G island”.

Christian Vollmer, member of the company's board of directors said: ACCELERATE production and logistics management of the Volkswagen brand said: "In pursuing our strategy, we are working at full speed to transform our Volkswagen sites into intelligent factories. We aim to continuously optimize our production, make it even more efficient and flexible. We believe there is great potential for innovation in 5G technology.from the use of intelligent robots and cordless delivery systems to real-time network control of plants and machines to the wireless software flashing of manufactured vehicles”.

Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant already has about 5,000 robots and many other machines and systems. In order to control and verify these, secure, uninterrupted data transmission will be required in the future. The latency, i.e. the time required to send data over the network is significantly reduced for 5G networks than for other wireless communication technologies such as WLAN. 5G technology delivers an extremely short latency of up to a millisecond, gigabit data transfer rate and significant reliability even at high utilization. This real-time wireless communication enables many intelligent factory applications first.

One scenario that will be tested in the experimental phase under real laboratory conditions in Wolfsburg is the wireless upload of data into manufactured vehicles. Due to the ever-increasing level of digitization and fully interconnected vehicles, the manufacturing process requires large amounts of data for cars. 5G allows this much faster and at any time during production.

Beate Hofer, CIO of the Volkswagen Group, said: “Efficient, real-time wireless communication will be key to flexible production in the future. 5G has the potential to be one of the driving forces behind the industrial Internet of Things. Our goal is therefore to gain extensive experience in the operation and industrial use of 5G technology ”. In the long run, the Wolfsburg campus network is expected to cover most of the 6.5-square-kilometer plant.

Volkswagen itself creates and operates the local 5G infrastructure. For the University of Wolfsburg network, the company requested a private radio frequency of 3.7 to 3.8 GHz with a bandwidth of 100 MHz and received it from the Federal Network Agency. Exclusive spectrum is a key element of 5G campus operations at the manufacturing site. Interference-free, high-availability wireless transmission requires a dedicated frequency that will be used exclusively by Volkswagen for manufacturing purposes. The network equipment for the 5G pilot network is supplied by the Finnish telecommunications group Nokia.

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