Ireland’s first private 5G network rolls out in Mullingar

Irish Manufacturing Research will use 5G technology to investigate and develop smart applications for Ireland’s advanced manufacturing community

The future of manufacturing is digital and connected and to prove this Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) in Mullingar is to deploy the first 5G mobile private network in Ireland.

The 5G mobile private network from Vodafone operates on private 5G industry equipment from Ericsson.

“The investigation of 5G IoT applications for smart manufacturing in Ireland is wonderful news for the future of the industry here”

According to Vodafone, private wireless networks will be the foundation for the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, and will bring with it an era of advanced operations and data-driven decision-making.

From offices in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, and a repurposed 35,000 sq ft Imperial Tobacco site in Mullingar, Westmeath, IMR is inventing the future of manufacturing in Ireland.

Could 5G be a cornerstone of the future of manufacturing?

According to Vodafone, 5G is designed to enable industries like manufacturing to modernise and deliver on the opportunity of Industry 4.0 – including IoT (internet of things) applications, smart processes, improving KPIs and assisting data driven business models.

IMR’s strategy is to de-risk, de-mystify and deliver advanced and innovative technologies to Irish manufacturing, boosting productivity and reducing cost through early access to industry leading 5G technologies. The globally deployed equipment from Ericsson enables any company to connect to their factory business operations environment efficiently and securely.

Using this standalone 5G mobile private network , IMR will develop and demonstrate innovative smart manufacturing use cases in automated production lines, mobile robots and cobots, and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) displays. These smart applications require the combination of high capacity (bandwidth), responsiveness (low latency) and quality of service that is enabled by 5G.

“We are looking to integrate 5G capability into our ‘Digitisation and Industry 4.0 strategies’ enabling us to demonstrate to SME owners, CTOs, CIOs and COOs in larger organisations how 5G can offer cost competitive solutions over traditional approaches across a range of process, AR/VR, robotic and asset management applications,” explained the IMR’s director of Digitisation Dr Niall Aughney.

Ford, in the UK, working with Vodafone has installed a 5G private network at its electric battery workshop in Essex. The connectivity is linking the centre with a site in Cambridge, allowing the two to work together on welding electric batteries – which requires 1,000 welds and generates half a million pieces of data every minute, so is not supported by existing factory systems.

“The investigation of 5G IoT applications for smart manufacturing in Ireland is wonderful news for the future of the industry here,” said Sinéad Bryan, Vodafone Ireland Business director.

“This mobile private network and the development of IoT applications will make it possible for IMR’s members and partners to achieve today, what they need to stay competitive tomorrow.

“Vodafone’s dedicated 5G network will provide reliability, device density, scalability, quality of service and enhanced safety that currently cannot be achieved. Working with IMR, our technology partners and customers will be empowered to explore and develop new use cases that 5G technology enables – helping to future proof Irish industry”.

The 5G mobile private networks also open up a new class of IoT applications that allow customers to control work happening in motion. This will allow IMR to meet the diverse connectivity and safety requirements of Ireland’s manufacturing community and help them to develop and implement future-focused processes and applications to stay competitive.

“5G will have a transformative impact in the industries and technologies of the future and launching Ireland’s first 5G standalone mobile private network, together with Vodafone and IMR, is a huge step forward for our country at a critical moment,” said John Griffin, CEO of Ericsson in Ireland.

“This partnership paves the way for a wide variety of 5G use cases that will serve as the catalyst to transform our economy, boost our recovery from Covid-19 and ensure Ireland remains competitive in the industries of the future.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 2021