Automating the Edge with Robotics

Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Qualcomm collaborate on 5G-enabled automated hoisting solution

During the Mobile World Congress 2023, Schneider Electric, Capgemini and Qualcomm Technologies revealed their collaboration on a 5G-enabled automated hoisting solution to explore the potential of digital technologies in industrial automation systems.

Hoisting applications (such as cranes) can involve moving heavy materials and goods over long distances hundreds in challenging industrial environments that can feature extreme temperatures and other elements such as sea water. Automated hosting systems promise increased safety and efficiency, but wireless systems have challenges such as the need to share on the same network with video cameras (for monitoring and remote operation) and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) that are used for various automation, remote control, and safety functions.

The newly developed solution combines Qualcomm Technologies’ wireless, chip and AI expertise with Capgemini’s hands-on experience with network deployment and Schneider Electric’s proficiency in industrial automation.

The three companies installed the technology in Schneider Electric’s hoisting lab in Grenoble, France. This solution aims to replace wired connections in the industrial automation system with a private 5G network, thus optimizing digital transformation and opening doors for emerging technologies at scale.

“Schneider Electric has always been a proponent of collaboration and the innovation that comes with it. This breakthrough end-to-end 5G private network hoisting solution is a perfect example of the power of working together as we pilot it at end-user sites this year,” says Marc Lafont, the vice president of Innovation and Upstream Marketing at Schneider Electric.

With the introduction of 5G private networks, businesses have become increasingly intrigued with its use for industrial automation due to its ability to offer high-speed and low-latency wireless connections. This feature allows manufacturers to monitor and control industrial processes in real-time, significantly reducing the time and resources required. With a 5G private network, manufacturers can also access the bandwidth needed to guarantee a reliable connection for industrial equipment.

The private 5G network hoisting solution will function within the 3.8GHz radio frequency band, utilizing an Athonet core network and Airspan small cells, leveraging Qualcomm’s FSM100 5G RAN platform. As a result, the connectivity improves, and in turn, it enables new and different use cases.

“In the short term, we will validate more industrial 5G use cases in various discrete manufacturing, hybrid automation, and process automation applications. In the mid-term, we will experiment with deeper integration of 5G technology inside our automation equipment,” Lafont adds.

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