KUKA Deploys 5G In Augsburg Plant

Aug. 4, 2021
Deploying Nokia’s 5G private wireless network helps KUKA boost its own production operations and design new capabilities for future 5G releases of its automation products.

Amid all the industrial networking advances seen over the past several years—from Time-Sensitive Networking and MQTT to Ethernet APL and Single Pair Ethernet—the one technology that’s likely received the most attention is 5G. The issue with 5G at the moment is that many areas cannot yet access the technology, but that is changing quickly with widespread 5G availability expected within the next few years.

Though the availability of 5G network access is not yet ubiquitous, it means that now is a great time to see how manufacturers with access to 5G are using it to improve operations.

KUKA is one manufacturer of automation technology to publicly speak its use of 5G. According to an announcement from Nokia, KUKA will deploy Nokia 5G SA private wireless networking at its Smart Production and Development Center in Augsburg, Germany, for its intelligent robotics and automation products. Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) campus networking and application platform will be used to support KUKA’s product development.

Nokia’s DAC platform is designed to provide high-bandwidth, low-latency private networking, local edge computing capabilities, and voice and video services, as well as other applications. The company claims that industrial-grade private wireless networking provides manufacturers the scalability, flexibility, low latency, and mission-critical coverage needed to advance digital transformation.

Dirk Lewandowski, vice president for Central and East Europe at Nokia Enterprise, said Nokia’s DAC is “a compact, easy-to-deploy platform, comprising network and user equipment, a cloud-based operation monitoring system, and industrial connectors that ease standard and industry-specific protocol connectivity. It also features a new device management capability that seamlessly integrates ruggedized handhelds and other wireless devices.”

The DAC manager portal will reportedly enable KUKA to configure the network to its specific requirements.

“In the coming years, KUKA will develop solutions that harness the potential of 5G’s fast, reliable, and secure connectivity,” said Michael Wagner, director of R&D, Competence Center Control Technology at KUKA. “By partnering with Nokia for private wireless networking, we have now established a long-term development roadmap that will allow us to capitalize on the new capabilities in future 5G releases for our automation solutions.”

Nokia will also support KUKA with network deployment, operations support services, and training, enabling integration of new use cases that include new 5G-based interfaces and components for the KUKA portfolio of technologies.

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