Wednesday, 26 June 2019 22:09

Ericsson plans first fully automated ‘smart factory’ for US market

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Ericsson 5G testing facility Ericsson 5G testing facility

Ericsson is planning to build its first fully-automated smart factory in the US to produce advanced antenna system radios for rapid 5G deployments.

The Swedish telecommunications equipment vendor says the Advanced Antenna System radios will boost network capacity and coverage, including rural coverage, as well as 5G radios for urban areas – both of which are needed for rapid 5G deployments in North America.

The new smart factory complements Ericsson’s global supply chain, which the company says ensures it is working close to customers through its European, Asian and American operations, securing quick delivery to meet customer requirements.

Ericsson also announced it is fast-tracking the launch of the next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing own factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of Networks at Ericsson, says: “We continue to focus on working closely with our customers and supporting them in the buildout of 5G globally and in North America.

“With today’s announcement, we conclude months of preparations and can move into execution also in the US. In addition, we are digitalising our entire global production landscape, including establishing this factory in the US.

“With 5G connectivity, we’re accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future.”

Ericsson says the location of the new factory will be announced after discussions with state and local authorities concluded.

“The company is committed to the factory being operational in early 2020. The smart factory will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment and will also advance Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability, including registration to pursue LEED Gold Certification,” the company said in a statement.

“Fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable agile operations and flexible production. This will be achieved through automated warehouses, connected logistics and automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts.

“The latest technology products created in the 5G factory will enable a faster rollout of commercial 5G across the region. To ensure the high quality of products, Ericsson runs its new product introduction and early production in-house.

“Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G is built."

Ericsson says it plans to initially employ approximately 100 people at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a modular and flexible production set-up to enable quick ramp up and rollout.

Ericsson says it began operations via a production partner for the first radios for the US market, which were produced at the end of 2018, and also established a new R&D site — a software development centre — in Austin, Texas, located close to the Austin ASIC Design Centre, which opened in late 2017 and focuses on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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