China Unicom has teamed up with Huawei to help Chinese car manufacturer Exquisite Automotive Systems (EA) deploy 5G Advanced technology on one of its production lines.
According to Huawei, EA’s Baoding Automation Technology Branch is using 5G-Advanced equipment in the car roof production line at Great Wall Motor's factory in Baoding. EA is a subsidiary of Great Wall Motor.
Specifically, 5G-Advanced is replacing the wires that typically connect and control terminal equipment such as robot arms, slide units, and swiveling tables. Huawei says this eliminates the problem of wire abrasion for such equipment, which causes around 60 hours of downtime on average per year.
Huawei said 5G connectivity also enables EA to boost efficiency on the line by integrating the IT and OT (operational technology) functions that are typically served by separate networks.
Yuan Zhanjiang, Deputy GM of EA's Industry Intelligence Department, said at a press conference that EA's 5G-Advanced industrial Internet lab has verified the technology’s features of ultra-high reliability, low latency, and easy deployment, and will soon start supporting its commercial production lines.
“We will seize the opportunity presented by enterprise transformation and upgrade, and leverage digital technologies to continually improve our smart manufacturing capabilities, and contribute to the transformation and upgrade of GWM and the wider manufacturing industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, China Unicom’s chief big data scientist Fan Ji'an said the operator is accelerating construction of digital infrastructure and deepening its innovation in digital technologies.
“We are working with all industry partners to build a 5G-powered industrial Internet that will help enterprises address pain points during their transformations, and ultimately facilitate upgrades to smart manufacturing,” Fan said. “Powered by 5G-Advanced, industrial applications are moving from auxiliary production to core production systems. We are seeing more typical 5G-Advanced applications appear in key scenarios, further driving the manufacturing industry to go digital.”
5G -Advanced is the latest evolution of 5G being standardized by 3GPP under Release 18. While over a dozen operators (including Unicom) have made announcements about launching 5G Advanced, 3GPP has not yet officially signed off on Release 18, although most of the work has been completed. 3GPP has set a freeze date for Release 18 in March 2024.