Huawei and Festo sign MoU for collaboration on smart manufacturing and 5G network slicing
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Huawei has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Festo, a world-wide supplier of automation technology and a solution provider for technical education, to jointly explore the 5G network application of manufacturing and to promote the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry with 5G network slicing technology

The MoU is is based on 5G Cloud Robotics to test the Robot as a Service (RaaS) concept. This involves moving computations from the robot to the cloud, decoupling the industrial robots’ capabilities from rapidly changing computing requirements. Due to the control loop’s need for very low latency, 5G radio technology must be used to link the cloud with the robot.

The 5G Cloud Robot project is based on a moving robot platform that consists of a handling apparatus (robot arm) with six degrees of freedom. The 5G-based link uses 5G network slicing principles, which allow network parameters to be tailored to a user or application’s requirements.

An uRLLC (Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communications) slice is used to fulfill the strong real-time and high reliability requirements of the closed control loop. Trajectories and control messages are calculated in the cloud, which supports low-latency service and ensures the scalability of the computing power and energy savings on the robot platform.

“Mobile communications networks are developing and evolving rapidly, and will gradually penetrate a variety of vertical industries,” said Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei’s 5G Network Product Line. “5G will meet the diversified network needs of industry, enabling more vertical industry applications with end-to-end slicing solutions. Huawei, as a leading provider of wireless network solutions, will work with vertical industries to explore new 5G applications and create greater value. Our cooperation with Festo will promote development of an intelligent manufacturing industry.”

"In the factory of the future, everyone and everything will stay connected to rely on manufacturing services provided in industrial clouds,” said Dirk Pensky, the head of Festo’s Software Engineering Department. “On the one hand, some of those services need high bandwidth to transfer information to and/or from the cloud, e.g. image processing and AR/VR services. On the other hand, industrial control services require low to ultra-low latency and highest reliability,” he explained. “Festo is involved in different activities to shape the future of our factories. 5G will become the communication technology for smart manufacturing and we aim to prove that with this cooperation."

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