With its ability to drive digitalization and empower lean manufacturing processes, 5G is ushering in a new era of production.

Meaghan Ziemba, Principal

June 7, 2023

3 Min Read
Metamorworks / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Now that 5G is transforming manufacturing connectivity, here are four ways it can benefit packaging production operations.

At the Automate Show in Detroit, MI, at the end of May 2023, I attended Jan Diekmann’s keynote on how the 5G platform enables the next generation of lean production. Diekmann is Ericsson’s technical account manager, focusing on partnering with the manufacturing technology ecosystem to develop the next generation of digital manufacturing.

His keynote presentation really highlighted the immense potential of 5G as an enabler for lean manufacturing processes with the ability to truly take advantage of technologies like the cloud, automation, digital twins, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Compared to 4G, 5G networks have lower latency, enhanced capacity, and increased bandwidth. So, what does this mean for manufacturers? Here are my key takeaways from Diekmann’s presentation.


1. 5G becomes a catalyst for lean manufacturing.

5G is unlocking new possibilities and revolutionizing traditional processes of manufacturing. Its capacity to handle massive amounts of data with low latency enables manufacturers to have a control tower view of their systems and operations.

Factories have islands of information that 5G bridges together so businesses can eliminate waste, reduce costs, improve quality, and be more efficient.

5G also allows manufacturers to be more reliable and customer-focused, giving them the flexibility to move from “make to stock” to “make to order.”


2. 5G helps operations leverage advanced technologies.

5G goes way beyond connectivity; it empowers companies to adopt new advanced technologies, including advanced robotics (such as automated guided vehicles and autonomous mobile robots), the cloud, vision systems, AR, AI, digital twins, and IIoT.

These technologies can help drive process automation, remote monitoring, and virtual training. They also allow manufacturers to adopt an intelligent infrastructure that uses machine learning, prediction, analysis, and self-correction to enhance operational efficiency and facilitate continuous improvement. 


3. 5G improves sustainability, flexibility, and cost reduction.

During his keynote, Diekmann emphasized how 5G enables faster production reconfiguration, layout changes, and alterations on the factory floor. As a result, manufacturers shorten their lead times and improve their agility.

The flexibility that 5G creates for manufacturers allows them to respond quickly to market demands and optimize their production lines accordingly.

5G’s high-speed and reliable connectivity creates an ecosystem for machines, systems, and workers to interact seamlessly. Real-time communication supports remote assistance, training, and knowledge sharing, which enhances worker productivity, reduces errors, and fosters continuous learning.

5G also lowers costs by streamlining operations, reducing waste, and supporting lean principles throughout the manufacturing process.


4. 5G enables a new kind of factory.

Manufacturers who leverage 5G’s capacity for handling massive amounts of data and low latency can explore innovative applications in supply chain management, logistics, and customer engagement.

With enhanced communication and data sharing, manufacturers can manage their inventory better and reduce lead times and overall costs.

Ericsson uses AR for troubleshooting and training before finding the most effective solution to implement, which helps them save money, time, and materials.

5G also improves worker safety with real-time monitoring and connected wearables that identify potential hazards.


Manufacturers who embrace 5G and integrate it into their operations will revolutionize their industries and be at the forefront of innovation and success.


About the Author(s)

Meaghan Ziemba

Principal, Mavens of Manufacturing

Meaghan Ziemba, Principal, Mavens of Manufacturing

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