Confirm launches smart manufacturing future wireless innovation test bed
Confirm, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre in smart manufacturing, has announced the deployment of the Future Wireless Innovation Test Bed.
The test bed is located at the University of Limerick Digital District, was designed and deployed under the leadership of Dr Eoin O’Connell, a funded investigator at Confirm, to explore ideas and technologies for improving manufacturing environments towards creating smarter factories by utilising the latest wireless technologies such as 5G, 6G and Wifi6.
Planning and executing the test bed was a collaborative effort between Confirm and Netmore.
Early tests included a practical study undertaken in December 2020 where an autonomous intelligent vehicle was controlled on a 5G network at the Confirm Centre, and we believe this is the first reported case of such 5G wireless robotic control in Ireland. The initial results demonstrate that the integration of 5G as a wireless signaling system within a manufacturing environment is both very promising from an accuracy standpoint and also now a more viable option.
The test bed promises fast connectivity, more bandwidth and low latency with support for tens of thousands of devices in a small location (5G supports up to 1 million connections per square kilometre), all of which are attractive prospects to manufacturing facilities. It will also offer manufacturers the chance to build smarter factories and truly take advantage of technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the larger deployment of Internet of Things devices.
Director of Confirm Prof Conor McCarthy said: “Confirm Centre is delighted to launch the Smart Manufacturing Future Wireless Innovation Test-Bed. Wireless communication between products, machines, production systems and supply chains form a major part of our digital thread strategy, designed to achieve mass customisation and enable re-configurability in manufacturing plants and associated digital supply chains.”