How a 5G Smart Factory Doubled Ericsson’s Output
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How will the 5G transition affect manufacturing? If you ask Ericsson Senior Vice President Åsa Tamsons, enormously.
5G will help drive global transformation, innovation and sustainability in our sector, Tamsons recently told the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. She sat down with MLC Co-Founding Executive Editor and Senior Content Director Paul Tate at Ericsson’s new 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas, to tell us more.
About Ericsson: Founded in 1876, Ericsson Inc. is a leading provider of information and communication technology. The company is now a $25 billion global enterprise with 100,000 employees serving clients in 180 countries.
About the Lewisville plant: Ericsson describes its Lewisville plant, which opened in March 2020, as a “5G-enabled, digital native” facility.
- “We wanted to be able to obtain data from every single source, device, machine and person operating in the facility, both now and in the future,” she said. “One part was implementing 5G, but we also needed a data architecture to secure that and to use equipment that is able to extract both production data and operational status.”
Development process: In its journey to Manufacturing 4.0, Ericsson used a particularly agile development process.
- “We had a mission to develop 25 use cases within a year,” Tamsons said. “In the first eight months, we launched seven of those 25 use cases. In the remaining four to five months, we launched the other 18. It just shows the power of doing that groundwork, while also demonstrating that you can launch end-to-end solutions in rapid time. Then you really start to have platforms that you can scale.”
Measuring impact: The Lewisville facility serves one of Ericsson’s biggest and most important markets in the world—yet it is operated by just 100 people.
- The plant delivers 2.2 times more output than similar sites that don’t have the same degree of automation or technology in place.
Lighthouse status: Lewisville is also one of the world’s first manufacturing plants to achieve Global Lighthouse Network status under the World Economic Forum’s new sustainability category.
- A combination of recyclable and reused materials, renewable energy, an ideal location close to a major airport and advanced manufacturing technologies supported this award.
- “Innovation is not all about technology,” Tamsons said. “It’s about how you apply it and how you can use the best of technology to create better solutions that are also more sustainable.”
What’s next: The Lewisville plant has plans for further innovation.
- “We’ll continue to build out the data structure and cloud capability, really focusing on how we can scale up the value of existing use cases and applications and on what the next use cases will be,” she said. “We’re continuing to invest in upgrading our manufacturing sites to develop a reliable, sustainable, global supply chain, not only in Lewisville, but across the world.”
Attend a plant tour: Join the MLC in Texas for the Ericsson Lewisville Plant Tour on Oct. 4–5 to see Ericsson’s 5G-enabled digital native, double Lighthouse award-winning plant for yourself. Save the date and watch for more details.