Chemicals company BASF and telecommunications infrastructure and services operator Cellnex Telecom have signed an alliance to install the first private network based on 5G technology in the Spanish chemical industry. The pilot project will also be one of the first in the Spanish industrial sector.
Cellnex will be responsible for installing and rolling out this 5G network in BASF’s production center in La Canonja, Tarragona, and will serve as a base for developing various usage cases related to the industrial operations of the plant.
The fifth generation of mobile communications will increase data speed and transmission capacity by a factor of ten compared to 4G; it will cut latency —the time it takes to respond to a request— to one millisecond, a tenth of current levels; it will be highly available and reliable, allowing it to be used in critical applications; and it will make it possible to manage up to a million connected devices per square kilometre. In its industrial application, 5G will be a turning point, becoming the basis for the development of Industry 4.0 and IoT (the Internet of Things).
BASF has identified 5G as one of the key technologies for its digital transformation process. Although connectivity in industry has been a fact since the early 1990s, the leap into this new era will open the door to developing new applications in important fields such as security or operations. This technology will pave the way to the Internet of Things (IoT), the implementation of Big Data, virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Tarragona will also become one of the first 5G projects launched by the German multinational globally. So far, only Germany, Belgium and China have started similar projects.
BASF’s production centre in Tarragona
Located in the largest chemical complex in southern Europe, BASF Tarragona in La Canonja is one of the company’s main production centers. Covering an area of over 100 hectares, it houses four production plants operated by BASF, a joint venture with SONATRACH and five plants of third-party companies. The center also has a tank park and a berth in the port of Tarragona.
To develop the pilot, Cellnex will work with Masmóvil for the temporary assignment of the spectrum band, with Nokia as a partner for the 5G network, and with Lenovo and Nearby Computing for the development of the edge computing solution that will allow autonomous computing of data on the premises – without the need to take them to the cloud – ensuring minimum latency and real-time management.
5G | BASF | chemical production | edge analytics | IIoT | industrial edge | manufacturing | sensors | Spain