Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ericsson Nanjing 5G factory IoT Showcase

William Payne
September 19, 2019

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson has completed automation of its factory in Nanjing, China. According to Ericsson, the Nanjing factory is now one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world, with the Chinese market set to be the major beneficiary.

The transformation cost SEK 500 million (US $51.7 million), and has seen every production step modernised, and a full range of cellular IoT, Industry 4.0 and AI tools and technologies implemented throughout the manufacturing processes.

Ericsson produces 5G and 4G radio technology products at the factory, most of which support communication service providers in the Chinese market to increase network capacity, roll-out 5G, and make Industry 4.0 a reality.

The 18-month modernisation programme in Nanjing is in preparation for the introduction and rapid deployments of 5G in China. The modernisation includes the first modular-designed automatic assembly line for 5G radios, which will enable Ericsson to produce the latest 5G radios in the capacity needed for the Chinese market.

An upgraded automatic packing line, which supports both 4G and 5G products, has been up and running from the second quarter of 2019.

Ericsson has also modernised 5G testing equipment to be more efficient and flexible across the product portfolio. In addition to contributing to high product quality, this also means that products can be introduced to the market faster.

The company says that analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools have also been boosted. AI is now used to recognise components in the production line, increasing efficiency, accuracy and quality.

Cellular IoT technologies in the Nanjing factory enable an automated alert system for immediate attention of critical issues and faults. Implemented at 45 work stations, it allows increased efficiency and speed of the production system.

The Nanjing factory is part of Ericsson's global supply chain set up and this news follows the previous announcements on Ericsson digitalising its factory in Estonia and establishing a smart factory in the US. 

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: "This is another important milestone in our global supply readiness for 5G. Our factory in Nanjing is a great example of how our next-generation technology is changing the future of manufacturing for the better. As a global company, we have gained insights from testing and applying 5G technology for industries and now we are bringing the learnings into our own factories, which will benefit the whole ecosystem.

"Our customers in China will benefit through the technology leadership, speed and capacity advantages that our automated smart factory will give us."