China Mobile, in collaboration with Comba Network and Kyland Technology, have recently announced the industry-first 5G cloud-based industrial base station and the completion of end-to-end verifications of the facility.
A 5G cloud-based industrial base station revolves around a unified cloud foundation, integrating and deploying the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a core component in industrial control, into the cloud platforms of the industrial base stations. It primarily enables the base stations to develop endogenous industrial control and strengthen 5G private networks embedded in the industrial sites. The verification is designed for scenarios where industrial smart sensors are used to collect data. With 5G, this verification achieves PLC control and reports data collected from the sensors, ultimately combining 5G with the industry-controlled network.
“5G+ Industrial Internet” is a predominant component in national strategies, making it a spotlight in both national and industry levels. The recent release and successful verification of the 5G industrial base station introduced the ultimate and deterministic network capabilities of the 5G private network into the industrial control system, allowing 5G network to cover all industrial applications in the IT and OT domains. It plays an important role in deepening the integration of 5G and industry, accelerating the cloudification, wireless development and widespread use of the industrial Internet in manufacturing in China.
In terms of cloudification, the 5G industrial base station solution converts the traditional PLC physical hardware into software, assembling computing fore of the base stations. The centralized deployment of multiple cloudified PLCs can accelerate productivity and reduce costs for a factory, effectively expanding the computing force of its PLC, enhancing deployment efficiency and lowering deployment costs.
In terms of wireless, the 5G industrial base station helps the wireless network achieve PLC connection in all dimensions, preventing the risk of undermining productivity caused by the wear and tear between PLC and IO. It can simultaneously overcome the complexity of wiring arrangements in industrial sites and the inflexibility of work-station placement, promoting industrial enterprises’ capability to complete smaller orders promptly. It can therefore help achieve more flexible and customized manufacturing, as well as agile deployment to drive digital transformation upgrade.
In terms of domestic production, combined with the advantages of China’s 5G communication industry, industrial base stations laid a solid foundation for the subsequent formulation of industrial agreement for China’s intellectual property rights, encouraging close coordination between 5G and industrial control. It is beneficial for the future promotion of the construction of China’s “5G+ Industrial Internet”, particularly the technological advancement in the aspect of industrial control worldwide.
Based on the smart and simple 5G industrial network technology system proposed by China Mobile, the 5G cloud-based industrial base stations were developed and completed end-to-end verification in three months. It has fully demonstrated the agility and efficiency of the technical system needed to support the industry. This includes “Cloud-Network-Industry Integration” technology, adopted to construct the industry capability platform, enabling cloudification of various industry applications and rapid integration of capabilities. By providing customized base stations for industry, e.g. base stations in ports and mines, in a short period of time, the system aims to resolve the conflicts between industry customization and replicated scalability. In the future, more AI and big data capabilities will be integrated to support China Mobile’s new information service system in “connectivity + computing force+ ability”.
Ding Haiyu, Vice President of China Mobile Research Institute, said that China Mobile has been proactively constructing a new “connectivity + computing force + ability” communication service system to accelerate the digital economy transformation of China’s industries and to reinforce the responsibilities of state-owned enterprises in technological innovation. Putting 5G technology in the forefront, the pioneering 5G industrial smart network solution combines new-generational communication technology, including AI and edge computing, to make breakthroughs and collaborative advancement that strive to create a flexible, functional and controllable industrial digital infrastructure. Moving forward, through promoting the determinism of industrial networks, enriching the applied scenarios of industrial base stations and driving controllable industrial agreements, China Mobile will continue to strengthen collaborations with partners in the industry chain for innovation and development in “5G+ Industrial Internet”.
Liu Gang, Deputy General Manager of Corporate Business Department of China Mobile, pointed out that the industrial Internet is one of the most prominent national strategies in China. In response, China Mobile will actively build sophisticated 5G private networks and innovative integrated applications to accelerate the application of the latest technologies into every part of the industrial Internet to overcome all shortcomings. Ultimately, China Mobile strives to harness the power of 5G for various industries, amplifying and advocating the impacts of digital economy on economic development to better serve the real economy.
Ou Yang, Director of the Domestic Production Planning Department of Comba Telcom, illustrated that the 5G cloud-based industrial base station jointly released with China Mobile provides industrial enterprises with a set of 5G industrial private network solutions with ‘customized capabilities, controllable costs, agile deployment and easy use’. It is a significant and meaningful milestone to greatly reduce the 5G application thresholds for enterprises. Led by China Mobile, Comba Telecom will consistently increase investments in research and development of 5G cloud network infrastructures, creating a flexible, deterministic, easy-to-use cloud network products with high performance and cost effectiveness for industry partners. Comba Telecom will also contribute to a 5G + industrial integration together with partners of industry chains.
Zhang Xuebing, Deputy General Manager of Kyland Technology, believed that the cloudified deployment of PLC in 5G base stations introduced something fresh to traditional PLC technology. By combining IT and CT technology with OT technology, industrial control can be empowered by 5G, AI, edge computing and the industrial Internet, creating a top-notch cloud-edge-coordinated smart control system that can be better used in smart and flexible manufacturing. Kyland Technology will continue its partnership with China Mobile to drive the practical application of 5G industrial base stations in industrial settings.