Ford introduces 5G into manufacturing facility

Firm says the high-speed networks will allow welding machines to be monitored in real time.

Ford installing 5G in Essex facility
Ford installing 5G in Essex facility

Ford has received government backing to introduce 5G into its manufacturing processes.

Working with Vodafone Business, the American carmaker is introducing the high-speed network at its electrified powertrain facility at the Dunton Campus in Essex.

Ford says the construction of electric vehicle batteries and motors requires around 1,000 welds per minute, so it will integrate 5G into its welding machines to provide real-time data analysis and remote support.

Ford installing 5G in Essex facility

Chris White, Ford’s 5GEM project lead, said: “Connecting today’s shop floor requires significant time and investment.

“Present technology can be the limiting factor in reconfiguring and deploying next-gen manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform the speed of launch and flexibility of present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.”

Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business, said: “5G mobile private networks act as a springboard for organisations, allowing them to rethink the way they do business. In this case, mobile private network technology makes the factory of the future possible. It allows machines and computing power to coordinate in real time, improving precision, efficiency and safety. We’re excited to help Ford plan for the future of its business.”

The move comes as part of a government scheme, which will see £65 million invested into nine consortia to make the most of 5G’s potential.

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