GTMA Members Yamazaki Mazak has been chosen as one of a select few UK companies to act as a ‘testbed’ for the deployment of next-generation 5G technology, with a view to improving commercial digital infrastructures and ultimately boosting productivity across the UK industrial sector.
5G is set to become the industry standard for connectivity in the future. With potential speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, it could allow for industrial automation systems to operate at as-yet-unseen speeds, as well as increase the speed of real-time analysis, meaning quicker reactions to any red flags and reduced downtime.
Mazak is part of the Worcestershire 5G consortium, and was chosen due to its pioneering work to date in implementing Industry 4.0 design principals throughout its portfolio of machine tools and CNC technology.
The consortium has been granted £4.8m in government funding to conduct the 5G Testbed trial. The funding will be used to gauge how faster internet speeds can improve industrial productivity and advanced cyber security, via increased investment in next-generation technology. This will include experimenting with preventative and assisted maintenance techniques using robotics, big data analytics and augmented reality, at the company’s European Headquarters, in Worcester.
Marcus Burton at Yamazaki Mazak, comments: “Manufacturers across the UK and beyond are now reaping the productivity rewards of greater connectivity among their industrial equipment. Industry 4.0 centres on the key design principals of; interoperability of machines and devices, greater data transparency, technical assistance and decentralised decision making. We are starting to see these factors become more commonplace among UK manufacturers, but current internet speeds can only take us so far.
“The 5G Testbed represents a hugely exciting opportunity to drive further productivity growth, and facilitate even faster data transfer and analysis for manufacturers. It can only be a positive investment for the UK’s industrial sector, and Yamazaki Mazak is honoured to be taking part first-hand in the 5G technology trial.”
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said: “Worcestershire, with its strong manufacturing and industrial base, has rightfully won its place as home to one of the UK’s first, innovative 5G Testbeds.
“I look forward to seeing how 5G connectivity will fuel the Midlands Engine – unlocking growth, increasing productivity and bringing wider benefits for our citizens and communities.”
Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and 5G lead for Midlands Engine, said: “5G connectivity is set to revolutionise the way that businesses operate in future in the UK. The Worcestershire 5G Consortium is delighted to be working with Mazak to test new technologies that will have an extremely positive impact in allowing businesses like theirs to create new innovative products, raise productivity and improve economic growth.”