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4 5G Use Cases for Manufacturers

Mar 23, 2022 Six Consulting

5G is the next technological revolution for manufacturers.

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There was a time when manufacturers were on the tail end of technology adoption. Who needs fancy systems architecture and high-speed networking on a factory floor? Even before the pandemic, though, that was changing, and indeed, the last two years have accelerated the shift to smart factories, smart supply chains, and smart manufacturing.

5G is the next technological revolution for manufacturers. Fast, flexible, and utterly wireless, 5G offers the features that have kept the industry from fully adopting new technologies. Manufacturers are just beginning to scratch the surface of what 5G can do for their businesses and operations. Still, the potential is so vast it can be hard to grasp what the networking technology could mean for your business.

Use cases can be illustrative and help bring a better understanding of the possibilities that 5G offers. These four use cases represent a sliver of what can be done. Use them as an innovation starting point for bringing 5G into your manufacturing business.

What 5G Brings to Manufacturing

As a networking technology, 5G offers massive potential for manufacturers. How? By delivering three core advantages:

  • Low Latency networking: Both high-speed and geographically dispersed factories will benefit from 5Gs low latency, while the lack of physical connections - or wiring - expands the potential for connected devices.
  • Sensor and device density: IoT has a lot to offer manufacturers, from efficiency to safety, but only if the network can support all of the devices and the massive amount of data that comes with them. 5G provides consistent connectivity for large numbers of devices and sensors.
  • Secure and reliable: 5G can hand more data faster. 5G can support security features like mutual authentication, subscriber identity protection, and more.

Manufacturers recognize the value of the technology for their businesses. According to a paper from The Manufacturing Institute, 91% of manufacturers believe 5G connectivity will be necessary to their business, and 56% planned to test 5G in their facilities by the end of 2021.

4 Use Cases of 5G in Manufacturing

It's easier to understand the value 5G brings to factories and the supply chain with examples. These use cases showcase a variety of potential applications that manufacturers can bring into their organizations, thanks to 5G.

Remote Monitoring

Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) are essential for meeting client requirements in the manufacturing world. Still, FATs could slow production down, requiring customer representatives to come on-site to review the application and implementation of contract specifications.

5 G's speed and power make remote monitoring for FAT a possibility. Customers can view high-quality videos of operations in real-time, reducing the time needed for compliance reviews and minimizing the potential for errors and miscommunication.

Automation for Support & Safety

Automation has made it possible to offload dangerous, exacting, or repetitive tasks to machines and robots. For instance, a part that requires a complex process to produce with high accuracy can be automated, with robots even moving components from one machine to another. 

However, this process requires a high degree of orchestration, which is impossible without high-speed connectivity and communication between all devices. 5G offers different devices and sensors the ability to communicate quickly without bogging down the network with chatter.

Scaled Operations

Robots have become an integral part of many manufacturing operations. However, to ensure clear communications, the autonomous devices have required cabling. Those cables limit the distance and mobility of the robots, thus limiting the tasks that they can accomplish.

A 5G network eliminates those constraints, but it could cause new ones without careful planning. Once untethered, autonomous devices could collide. 5G is part of the solution to the very problem it creates, however - because the network can handle a high density of data, motion and task mapping can occur between devices to prevent robots from getting in each other's way or slowing down tasks.

Edge Computing for Analytics & Maintenance

Equipment failure is the cause of 42% of unplanned downtime. Worse, that unplanned downtime is estimated to cost industrial manufacturers $50B annually. Regular maintenance can eliminate some but not all of these problems. Instead, sensors on critical components of machines can report a host of information - from device temperature to vibration levels - that can signal a concern.

The combination of sensors, edge computing, and 5G means that the significant amount of data produced by the devices can be transmitted quickly and analyzed locally. This can speed up awareness of an issue, creating a more stable and even safer factory floor.


5G networking stands to alter every aspect of manufacturing and the supply chain. However, a lot of groundwork needs to be in place to realize the vast benefits it brings. It will be more difficult for monolithic applications to adapt to the speed of innovation that 5G offers, amping up the importance of composable applications and APIs. Shifting to an API-led mindset and architecture will make a move to 5G easier - and more profitable.

Six Consulting can help. With deep experience in API development, Salesforce integration, and connectivity platforms like MuleSoft, we can help you reach new heights with flexible systems and expanded high-speed network use. Contact us today to learn more about how our experts can guide your architecture and application development into a new era.

“91% of manufacturers believe 5G connectivity will be necessary to their business, and 56% planned to test 5G in their facilities by the end of 2021.”

  • The Manufacturing Institute
Worse, that unplanned downtime is estimated

to cost industrial manufacturers $50B annually.

Equipment failure is the cause

of 42% of unplanned downtime.

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