Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson says September 2019 marks “a major milestone in smart manufacturing capabilities”.
The reason for this is that the $50 million transformation of the company’s existing factory in Nanjing, China, has now reached its conclusion.
The resulting automated factory stands “among the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the industry”, claims Ericsson.
Ericsson produces 5G and 4G radio technology products at the factory, most of which support communication service providers in the Chinese market to increase network capacity, roll-out 5G, and make Industry 4.0 a reality.
The 18-month upgrade has seen Ericsson modernize every step of the production process in Nanjing, in preparation for the introduction and rapid deployments of 5G in China.
This includes the first modular-designed automatic assembly line for 5G radios, which will enable Ericsson to produce the latest 5G radios in the capacity needed for the Chinese market.
An upgraded automatic packing line, which supports both 4G and 5G products, has been up running from the second quarter of 2019.
Ericsson has also modernized 5G testing equipment to be more efficient and very flexible across the product portfolio. In addition to contributing to high product quality, this also means that products can be introduced to the market faster.
Competence and ways of working with analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools have also benefited from the investment.
AI is now used to recognize components in the production line, increasing efficiency, accuracy and quality.
State-of-the-art cellular IoT technologies in the Nanjing factory enable an automated alert system for immediate attention of critical issues and faults.
Implemented at 45 work stations, it enables increased efficiency and speed of the production system.
The Nanjing factory is part of Ericsson’s global supply chain set up and this news follows the previous announcements on Ericsson digitalizing its factory in Estonia and establishing a smart factory in the US.
Ericsson’s global supply chain strategy is to ensure the company works close to customers through its European, Asian and American operations, and secures fast and agile deliveries to meet customer requirements.
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of business area networks, Ericsson, says: “This is another important milestone in our global supply readiness for 5G.
“Our factory in Nanjing is a great example of how our next-generation technology is changing the future of manufacturing for the better.
“As a global company, we have gained insights from testing and applying 5G technology for industries and now we are bringing the learnings into our own factories, which will benefit the whole ecosystem.
“Our customers in China will benefit through the technology leadership, speed and capacity advantages that our automated smart factory will give us.”