WEF names Ericsson USA 5G smart factory as 4IR frontrunner

Augmented reality for remote support

Ericsson’s USA 5G smart factory in Lewisville, Texas, USA has been recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a front runner in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The Forum has awarded the site its “*Global Lighthouse” designation in recognition of Ericsson’s deployment of next-generation technology at the site and its subsequent impact including a 2.2 times improved output per employee when compared to a similar site without the automation and 4IR improvements.

The site is the first Ericsson factory to receive this recognition by the Forum for adoption of 4IR technologies at scale with demonstrated benefits to date. Since commencing operations in early 2020, the USA 5G Smart Factory team has developed 25 different use cases, to be deployed at scale in less than 12 months.

When compared to a similar site without its automation and 4IR improvements, the 5G automated factory with connected robots has delivered 120% improved output per employee and 65% reduction in manual material handling.

Integrated environmental systems have been designed to reduce energy consumption by 24%, indoor water usage by 75% when compared to a similar building and the factory is powered by 100% renewable electricity. Ericsson is also pursuing LEED Gold and LEED Zero Carbon certifications for the smart factory, which will make it the first Ericsson factory globally to achieve this distinction.

Fredrik Jejdling

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks, Ericsson, says, “Running fully automated factories using the latest technologies is part of our strategy for a more resilient and sustainable global supply chain. It shows our commitment to continue working close to our customers, ultimately enabling us to reduce emissions. This World Economic Forum designation highlights the transformative impact of 5G technology in general and on our factories in particular to benefit business and society at large.”

Francisco Betti, head of shaping the advanced manufacturing and production, World Economic Forum, comments, “This is a time of unparalleled industry transformation. The future belongs to those companies willing to embrace disruption and capture new opportunities. Today’s disruptions, despite their challenges, are a powerful invitation to re-envision growth. The lighthouses are illuminating the future of manufacturing and the future of the industry.”

Ericsson has invested in the next generation of supply chains to create a customised, sustainable, and end-to-end connected supply chain across the globe. In the US, Ericsson has invested more than USD 100million (€83.84 million)in its first 5G Smart Factory. The factory primarily serves Ericsson 5G customers in North America.

Francisco Betti

Ericsson is also fast-tracking next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its factories in Estonia, China, and Brazil. This will ensure close working with customers through Ericsson’s European, Asian and American operations.

Ericsson supports the 1.5 C° ambition set up by the Paris Agreement. To achieve this, the world needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions before 2050. Digital technologies such as 5G and IoT deployed across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, can help reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15% by 2030.

Global lighthouse

Emitting powerful light that pierces fog and darkness, lighthouses are key to maritime navigation. The World Economic Forum identifies top-performing factories and explores insights from these “lighthouses” of the world’s most advanced sites implementing technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The lighthouses are the factories that have taken Fourth Industrial Revolution technology from pilots to integration at scale, thus realising significant financial and operational benefits.

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

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