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KUKA and 5G: Benefits for production and logistics

5G promises above all: high bandwidth coupled with high reliability, which is essential especially in production, since any downtime has a direct economic impact.

Ulrike Götz
September 14, 2022
Reading Time: 2 min.

International standardization organizations such as 3GPP are working on the further development of 5G.  In concrete terms, 5G has only been mentioned since Release 15. That was in March 2017, but at that time the focus was still on traditional mobile communications for private users. Now the focus is increasingly shifting to industry as the target group for 5G. Matthias Paukner, Head of R&D KUKA Systems for the EMEA region, explains the advantages for production and logistics. 

Let's first take a look at the automotive industry: What challenges are carmakers currently facing, and what role does 5G play in this?

Matthias Paukner: Type diversity is increasing, models change frequently and batch sizes fluctuate greatly. The ability to plan the automotive market has become much more complex. Current trends require maximum flexibility and reaction speed for both the automotive manufacturer and the supplier. In this context, 5G promises: high bandwidth paired with high reliability, which is essential especially in production, as any downtime has a direct economic impact. This offers our customers the opportunity to network their production with a single radio technology. In the next few years, however, 5G will initially still be a complementary technology. Nevertheless, it is our goal to already include this technology in both product development and plant planning.

How is 5G currently developing?

Matthias Paukner: At the time of the introduction of the 5G mobile communications standard, the focus with Release 15 was initially on classic mobile communications with the desire for high data rates. With Releases 16 and 17, the focus is shifting to realtime capabilities, reliability and energy consumption - in other words, precisely those topics that are relevant for industry. In the industrial environment, this will gradually increase the range of functions in the coming years. Currently, however, the technology is still in a development status. 


What advantages does 5G offer for production and logistics?


Matthias Paukner: With the next releases, the areas of production and logistics will benefit from significant improvements that meet requirements from the field of URLLC (Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication) in particular. On the one hand, this means an increase in availability, but also an improvement in the positioning accuracy and localization of, for example, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to an accuracy of up to three meters within a radio cell. The goal is to improve this value to an accuracy of a few decimeters with later releases in order to be able to determine the position of an AGV even more precisely. FTFs will be used more and more frequently in automotive engineering because they increase flexibility.


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