Bosch: New communications standard is a key building block for the factory of the future
5G is coming. The new communications standard accelerates the internet of things and boosts Industry 4.0. Control systems and sensors of the kind built into facilities, machinery, and logistics chains stand to gain from this fast, reliable real-time wireless data transfer. Preparing machines for state-of-the-art communication involves making them 5G-capable. Now Bosch has the solution: Bosch Rexroth’s new ctrlX AUTOMATION control technology comes with 5G built in and can connect a wide range of industrial devices with the new communications standard. ctrlX AUTOMATION will be showcased at the SPS trade fair in Nuremberg.
Bosch opens the door to a new industrial age
"5G is set to turbocharge manufacturing. Our new 5G-capable automation platform lays the groundwork and opens the door to a new industrial age," says Rolf Najork, the member of the Bosch board of management responsible for industrial technology. 5G is the first communications standard designed to enable connectivity for people as well as for the internet of things. The new standard has impressive characteristics: it is up to 20 times faster than 4G, transfers data virtually instantaneously with a latency of one millisecond, and is up to 99.9999 percent reliable – making the receipt of a "digital shipment" as certain as with transmission through a wire. "5G is a revolution and an important building block for the factory of the future", Najork says. Engineers and designers now face the challenges of integrating 5G into their machines and products. Bosch is introducing the solution that meets their needs: the new automation platform’s hardware can be fitted with a 5G module. The operating system and software for ctrlX AUTOMATION are 5G-capable from the outset and support rapid commissioning. Retrofit solutions are also available for adding the new technology to existing machinery. Bosch Rexroth’s new automation platform is scheduled to have its market launch in 2020.
5G will be a competitive factor for connected industry
Experts estimate that there will be up to 70 billion connected devices worldwide by 2025. Many of them will be in manufacturing, meaning that 5G will become a competitive factor. The new communications standard will enable applications that require high-power, extremely reliable wireless connections to be integrated securely and efficiently into manufacturing facilities. These include mobile robotics, autonomous transport vehicles, and human-machine interactions. For instance, workers wearing augmented reality glasses can access additional information in their field of vision, optimizing how they monitor and maintain machinery. Combining tasks in the virtual world with those in the real world calls for real-time data flows. And that’s what 5G promises. "This new form of communication eclipses everything we’ve had until now. 5G is the first wireless protocol to truly meet the needs of the manufacturing industry", Najork says.
Bosch takes on leadership role in Industry 4.0 and 5G
Bosch is developing the factory of the future. In this endeavor, the company is relying on Industry 4.0. The company first tests and validates products in-house before they are available on the market. Bosch is taking this approach with 5G, too. The company presented its first 5G-capable autonomous transport system, ActiveShuttle, at the Hannover Messe. To support the further development of its factories, Bosch has applied to the German Federal Network Agency for 5G licenses with which to set up local campus networks. Moreover, Bosch has taken on the chair of the global 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) with the aim of shaping the new mobile standard so that it meets the needs of the manufacturing industry from the outset.