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5G network for industry launched in Eskilstuna

Sweden's first 5G network for industrial use

Remote-controlled wheel loaders to be tested by Volvo CE using Sweden’s first 5G network for industry

TELIA, Ericsson and Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) have this week launched Sweden’s first 5G network for industrial use at Volvo CE’s research and development facility in Eskilstuna. Volvo CE will become one of the first in the world to use 5G technology to test remote-controlled machines and autonomous solutions.

The 5G network will be used by Volvo CE to further develop both remote control of construction machinery and fully automated solutions. It will also be used to increase understanding of how connected machines can create added value for the customer.

Compared with 4G, the fifth-generation 5G mobile network is faster, has shorter lag time and higher accessibility, is able to handle more connected devices at the same time, and will open up totally new areas of application within industry.

‘Automation has several levels and having 5G is an important technical support to enable us to drive development in this area. These trials in Eskilstuna will include the remote control of a conventional wheel loader but also further tests of the HX2 concept load carrier,’ explained Melker Jernberg, president Volvo CE.

Anders Olsson, chief executive officer of Telia Sweden, said: ‘We can see that the industry’s interest in 5G is considerable. Automation of the entire flow will mean new ways of working and greater gains from efficiency. But to connect business-critical machines and vehicles requires a solution that is able to handle the massive amounts of data with guaranteed connection. That is what 5G can give us.’

But even with fully automated systems, human intervention is still needed now and again for control. Today’s remote-control technology has a time lag that makes it difficult to control at high speed or with high precision. 5G will make remote control simpler and safer.

‘With extremely short response times, high capacity, and a high level of accessibility to the mobile network, commercial and standardized 5G technology can be used for applications such as remote control of heavy machinery in real time,’ commented Magnus Frodigh, head of research at Ericsson.

‘This opens up new opportunities for greater efficiency, cutting costs and reducing risk in hazardous environments. 5G enables us to create a safer, more efficient and sustainable society. In co-operation with Telia and Volvo CE, we are now putting theory into practice in Eskilstuna. The 5G technology is ready for the world to switch on.’

Volvo CE, Telia and Ericsson have worked together before to deploy the latest technology to contribute to safer and more efficient mining, and in the summer of 2018, Volvo CE joined Telia’s 5G partner programme. Volvo CE say they expect to be able to apply the lessons learned from tests at Eskilstuna to their global activities.

‘We are testing locally in Eskilstuna, but we operate globally. Connected machines and autonomous solutions are the future. They can give our customers more efficient production, logistics, greater flexibility and safer work,’ continued Mr Jernberg.

‘By minimizing the potential safety risks and downtime associated with sectors such as mining, we can get closer to our goal of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero unplanned stops. It will be exciting to see how far 5G can take us on that journey.’

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