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Wireless solution to accelerate 5G industrial automation – Schneider Electric

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Wireless solution to accelerate 5G industrial automation – Schneider Electric

March 25
09:04 2023

Schneider Electric, Capgemini and Qualcomm Technologies have collaborated in what is touted to be a first-of-its-kind wireless 5G-enabled automated hoisting solution.

From avionics and automotive to steel manufacturing and shipping, hoisting applications play a critical role in supply chain and manufacturing operations, where heavy materials and goods are transported over what can be hundreds of meters. These crane applications are designed to operate in challenging industrial environments, for example, under extreme temperatures and over large distances.

The three companies say they are pleased with the test results of the 5G-enabled automated hoisting solution and plan to pilot it in several end-user sites this year with an eye on eventual global deployment at scale.

Schneider Electric, Capgemini and Qualcomm Technologies designed and installed the solution at Schneider Electric’s hoisting lab in Grenoble, France.

Replacing wired connections with wireless and unifying existing wireless connections from Schneider Electric’s industrial automation system, the 5G Private Network solution shows how it can simplify and optimise digital technology deployment at scale across industrial sites — from steel plants to ports.

“Digital transformation is helping Schneider Electric customers generate step-change advancements in productivity, efficiency, and sustainability, but not one company can do it alone,” said Marc Lafont, vice president for innovation Innovation and upstream marketing at Schneider Electric. “This breakthrough end-to-end 5G private network hoisting solution is a perfect example of the power of working together as we pilot it at end-user sites this year.”

The private 5G automated hoisting solution was unveiled today at the Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona.

The 5G private network hoisting solution:

  • Replaces wired and other wireless connections for several critical PLC control flows and time-sensitive video flows powering numerous use cases
  • Operates in the 3.8GHz radio frequency band, with an enterprise-grade Athonet core network and Airspan Small Cells using the Qualcomm FSM100 5G RAN Platform, significantly improving connectivity performance and enabling new use cases

Innovating with 5G and edge computing

Capgemini has worked closely with Schneider Electric to design an optimised end-to-end 5G solution and identify business outcomes on Schneider Electric’s industrial use case. It has also provided the systems integration support based on Qualcomm Technologies’ latest innovations and assisted Schneider Electric to integrate the 5G network with their use cases, to characterise and optimise the system.

“This collaboration with Schneider Electric demonstrates Capgemini’s unique ability to partner with clients to take advantage of technologies to innovate and create new use cases for their industry. The 5G end-to-end solution customized for Schneider Electric’s hoisting system is a good example of the added value of 5G for industrial communication and really illustrates its potential to transform an industry segment,” said Fotis Karonis, group leader of 5G and edge computing at Capgemini.

Automated hoisting systems increase productivity, safety, and operational performance but require fast reaction times, high precision and reliability, 24/7 availability, and both manual and autonomous capabilities.

Furthermore, several systems need to coexist on the same network with video cameras for monitoring and remote operation, and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) for various control functions, including automation, remote control, and safety functions.

5G’s native low latency characteristics allow the system to replace fibre cables in remote-control operations, addressing the need to simplify network complexity, reduce wires, and provide long-term reliable connectivity.

“The opportunity to use 5G to propel enterprise connectivity forward is tremendous, thus we are investing in this emerging ecosystem by providing practical innovations for 5G Private Networks,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president, Qualcomm Europe and president, Qualcomm Europe/MEA.

Schneider Electric’s expertise in industrial automation combined with Qualcomm Technologies’ heritage in wireless technologies, compute and AI innovations, plus Capgemini’s hands-on experience of network deployment and systems integration intersect to improve performance while eliminating complexities, resulting in faster time to market and improved KPIs for automated hoisting customers.

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