Do These Factory Robots Show 5G’s Future?


Many companies are exploring their own ways of building high-speed wireless networks.

A German company, Bosch Rexroth, now have robots that use an unusual feature – 5G modems. These robots assist in the manufacturing of machines and robotic arms.

According to the advanced manufacturing equipment department of Bosch, 5G will become a huge trend in the future – and not just for its speed.

Bosch has developed a production line that utilities and are connected by 5G networks.

Smartphone users may think this wireless network is underwhelming, however, factories, remote workspaces and office compounds are beginning to like it for a variety of reasons.

5G has promised to be so good that even smartphones and other mobile devices could deliver virtual reality. They have announced fast download speeds to up to 10 gigabits per second, which is approximately 20 times faster than our current networks.

However, the fastest speeds will only be available on some transmitters which will take time to build. This means that 5G smartphones must deal with inconsistent performance right now.

But factories or warehouses are guaranteed coverage – with latencies as long as a millisecond and the promise that thousands of devices can connect, reliably, at once.

Bosch Rexroth’s head of technology and innovation at the Automation and Electrification division, Gunther May, has stated that connecting their robots and other equipment to high-speed 5G networks allows a more calibrated and coordinated process.

This also helps minimise costly malfunctions and downtime as well as making it easier to pipe software, such as artificial intelligence, into equipment.

According to May, these 5G-enabled robots should be set to release in as early as 2021.

May say that “a constant, continuous connection” is necessary to the function and optimisation of any factory floor. 5G is reliable – significantly more than any of the wireless connections on the market.

May explains that they have tried wireless connectivity, such as Wi-Fi, in their factory, but nothing has been reliable enough to stick.

This is a big deal to the manufacturing industry – reliable connectivity is a must. What could be a small mishap in the home could result in the entire production being shutdown in a factory, which is not only a lengthy process to restart, but costly.

On top of reliability, the new 5G connectivity will come with security benefits. This means that a company that is connected via 5G networks will have the ability to monitor all data travelling through it.

It is possible in both the United States and Germany to purchase the rights to build a wireless carrier that is separate from 5G. Before companies begin releasing their own, companies such as BMW, Wolkswage and Lufthansa are testing the new private 5G networks.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, a Swedish company, are one of those who are building private 5G networks.

Another is Konecranes, a Finland heavy machinery manufacture for shipping, forestry, oil, gas and other industries.

CommScope Senior Vice President Matt Melester asserts that hospitals should be interested in private 5G networks that will allow easier monitoring of patients, data collection as well as virtual reality rehabilitation. However, he does not believe all industries require connections this fast.

Companies are now facing the decision of whether a private 5G network is worth the extra cost.

DHL head of innovation, Gina Chung, has stated that they’ll have to not only figure out the benefits of using 5G technology in their company compared to other technologies, but they also have to consider the cost and effort it will take to adopt.

This new technology will bring forth new futuristic technology, according to researchers at NYU, the Max Planck Institute and Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo. Their research reports that this technology could produce sophisticated intelligence and more advanced robots. The 5G networks could also produce a humanoid robot.

Associate professor at NYU, Ludovic Righetii says that he believes that 5G has the ability to increase the autonomous capabilities of robots by decreasing the need for complex onboard computers and increasing the battery life significantly.

This new technology will give opportunities to move complex algorithms between a robot and the cloud.