In a joint statement released today Ford and Vodafone Business announced that they are collaborating to create “the 5G factory of the future”. The project, which is due to be completed in Autumn 2020, will see Vodafone implement a private 5G network at Ford’s new manufacturing facility in Essex, UK.
Once complete, the enhanced connectivity at the factory will reduce delays in manufacturing, increase bandwidth across the facility and increase security, reliability and productivity. Speaking about the announcement, Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business, said, “5G mobile private networks [MPN] act as a springboard for organisations, allowing them to rethink the way they do business. In this case, MPN technology makes the factory of the future possible. It allows machines and computing power to co-ordinate in real time, improving precision, efficiency and safety.”
Ford will primarily use the connectivity for its welding machines in the manufacture of electric vehicles. Chris White, Ford’s 5G Electric Manufacturing project lead, said, “Present technology can be the limiting factor in re-configuring and deploying next-generation manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform the speed of launch and flexibility of present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.”