China Mobile trials Connected Factory using Cellular IoT

Cellular for IoTChina Mobile and Ericsson have shared outcomes of its ongoing Connected Factory trial using Cellular IoT for Industry 4.0 working with Intel.

Ericsson conducted the trial, featuring a connected screwdriver among other tools, at Ericsson Panda Communication Company, a radio product manufacturing site in Nanjing. Ericsson will reveal the key aspects of the trials at Mobile World Congress (MWC 2017).

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Ericsson is implementing several low power, wide area (LPWA) use cases such as production line monitoring, warehouse monitoring and package and materials tracking in the factory. The connected high-precision screwdriver, with motion sensors attached to NB-IoT modules that transmit real-time data of the tools to the Cellular IoT network is the main attraction.

The solution includes terminals, networks to the platform, and analytics aspects. Ericsson’s multi-mode radio equipment with new software supporting NB-IoT, Intel’s software supporting NB-IoT, Intel XMM(TM) 7115 modem solution embedded in Fibocom’s module, as well as China Mobile’s OneNet IoT platform with its software development kit (SDK).

About 1000 high-precision screwdrivers in the factory require routine calibrations and lubrications based upon the amount of usage. With Connected Screwdrivers, the factory will be able to replace manual tracking of the tool usage data with an automated solution. By connecting the tools over the Cellular IoT network, intelligent analysis of the collected data allows for optimized maintenance.

A longer lifespan of the tools and reduction of human errors during operations are the resulting benefits.

Screwdrivers with motion sensors attached to NB-IoT modules means that the factory will be able to automate the usage tracking of the screwdrivers.

“The combination of Cellular IoT and Industry 4.0 has been fairly unexplored. Enabling IoT network technology such as Cellular LPWA, together with cloud-based solutions, give manufacturing firms access to more information than ever before,” said Chris Houghton, head of Region North East Asia, Ericsson.

China Mobile leads the incorporation and unification of NB-IoT standards by completing world’s first lab testing on NB-IoT and making field trials and application exploration, in order to research Cellular IoT networking schemes.