Ericsson, AWS & Hitachi showcase AI-powered smart factories

Smart factory collaboration focuses on real-time digital video, AI, and edge-to-cloud technologies across a private 5G wireless network

Ericsson, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Hitachi America R&D have joined forces to highlight the ability of already-available 5G, AI and automation solutions to transform manufacturing and improve productivity, efficiency, environmental impact and safety while reducing costs.

The collaboration between the three companies enabled the private 5G infrastructure trial at Hitachi Astemo Americas’ electric motor vehicle manufacturing plant in Berea, Kentucky, USA.

"The best news about this collaboration is that it is not about capabilities that will be available at some distant point in the future,” says Thomas Noren, Head of PCN Commercial and Operations at Ericsson. “These solutions can be deployed today in manufacturing and enterprise environments to deliver a range of early adopter competitive advantages. As global technology leaders, Ericsson AWS and Hitachi America R&D have shown how collaboration can drive innovation.”

Solution enabling automated smart manufacturing

The solution leverages Ericsson Private 5G side by side with the AWS Snow Family to provide the private cellular networks that were foundational in establishing machine learning (ML) models within the Hitachi manufacturing complex.

Using Hitachi video analytics, real-time video of the component assembly operation was fed across the Ericsson private 5G network to help detect defects earlier, reducing wasted material and lost production.

The goal was to build, train and apply these models to enhance product quality on the manufacturing floor, marking a significant step in the application of multiple technology components in industry.

Built on Ericsson’s 4G and 5G radio and dual mode core technology, Ericsson Private 5G enables a wide variety of innovative use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while easily integrating with business operations, devices and applications ensuring next-level efficiencies in productivity, cost and energy use.

Ericsson Private 5G is Ericsson’s next-generation private network solution providing secure and reliable 4G and 5G connectivity through its single server dual mode core. Built for business operations, the product comes pre-integrated to ensure rapid time to service, delivering advanced and intelligent operations in any environment, all while keeping sensitive data secured on-site. Ericsson Private 5G is able to support and adapt to a variety of use cases, industries, and levels of complexity for enterprises.

“We explored and validated new use cases enabled by private 5G to show how smart factories can already function,” Sudhanshu Gaur, Vice President of R&D for Hitachi America and Chief Architect at Hitachi Astemo Americas, says. “The combination of private 5G, cloud and AI/ML automated technologies has the potential to revolutionise the way we manufacture products, and we are excited to be at the forefront of this innovation.”

Chris McKenna, Global Lead, Private Wireless at AWS, comments: “While it’s long been anticipated that technologies such as 5G and video analytics could drive innovation in manufacturing, one of the challenges has been how to securely and reliably process that data to drive outcomes. By using the Ericsson Private 5G Network product, and running AI and ML models on an AWS Snow Family device, we were able to demonstrate a reliable and secure connection to run machine vision inferences at the site to help detect defects earlier.”

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