Building your use case for 5G: A guide for manufacturers

The roll-out of 5G technology has been a long time coming for many manufacturers. We’re here to clear up the uncertainty and help build a viable use case.

Connectivity is a key enabler of the digital transformation of manufacturing, and 5G is the new technology on the block that promises to make it all happen. However, despite the indisputable benefits of 5G, such as lower latency and higher bandwidth, many decision makers still aren’t entirely sure of where to start.

To separate the hype from the reality, it’s important to think of 5G not as a bolt-on technology, but rather a core component of your digital transformation strategy. To understand the benefits and maximise your return on investment, it’s essential to start with a use case tailored to the unique needs of your production environment.

The Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Advanced Manufacturing is a research centre bringing together the brightest minds in the industry to help manufacturers develop more efficient and sustainable digital transformation initiatives. In this article, we’ll look at the three fundamental stages of building a use case with the help of our team of industry professionals.

Getting started with hands-on training

Our 5G use case demo starts with the 5G experience day, where we provide hands-on training at our own shop floor. We’ll take a deep drive into the various ways manufacturers are already using 5G to keep ahead of the fourth industrial revolution. Some examples include the remote monitoring of production assets, collaborative robotics, additive manufacturing, and process automation.

The in-person experience demonstrates how manufacturers can leverage 5G to collect data, build knowledge, and enable real-time communication on the shop floor. This will give you a thorough understanding of how 5G expands the value of mobile connectivity, and what it takes to reskill and retrain your own workforce to maximise its potential.

Building your business case for 5G

The next step is to home in on your specific use cases. No two manufacturing environments are identical, so it’s important to take a strategic approach that considers existing infrastructure and capabilities. Whether it’s digital twinning, process automation, predictive maintenance, or any other use case for 5G, we’ll walk you through the concepts and implement them within our own infrastructure.

Our goal is to help you build a strong business use case for 5G. It’s not about innovation for its own sake, but about reaching an end goal that makes sense across the entire value chain. For example, that goal might be to enhance worker safety, achieve greater sustainability, or speed up production cycles.

Assessing your 5G opportunities

Once we’ve helped you identify and build a strong business case for deploying 5G, we’ll define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to measure your performance. This includes a techno-economic analysis of your use case by paying close attention to the return on investment (ROI) and net present value (NPV).

Other KPIs include things like network uptime, latency, and data rates, as well as people-centric KPIs like worker satisfaction and productivity. By making clear the relationship between these KPIs, you’ll be able to see exactly how your 5G use case is driving the desired business outcomes.

The Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Advanced Manufacturing is here to help you get the most out of 5G connectivity. Contact us today to schedule your 5G experience day!

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Barry te Dorsthorst

te Dorsthorst

With a strong background in electrical engineering and certified Software Architect, Barry te Dorsthorst has established himself in the field of 5G and industrial connectivity. As the FIP-AM@UT in-house lead for 5G initiatives within the Advanced Manufacturing Centre, his work revolves around pioneering solutions that drive operational efficiency and shape the future of manufacturing.