Mobile network of the future in "Factory 56" in Sindelfingen:Mercedes-Benz Cars and Telefónica Deutschland establish the world's first 5G network for automobile production

World's first 5G mobile network for automobile production
Together with telecommunications company Telefónica Deutschland and network supplier Ericsson, Mercedes-Benz Cars is putting in place the world's first 5G mobile network for automobile production in its "Factory 56" in Sindelfingen. As part of an innovation project that extends over an area of more than 20,000 m2, the 5G mobile communications standard is being implemented for the first time into the running production. The experience gained there will be actively incorporated into plans for future implementation in other plants. By putting this milestone in place, the cooperation partners are ensuring that the 5G standard of the future becomes reality for Germany as an industrial base. The 5G network is being installed by telecommunications company Telefónica Deutschland in collaboration with network supplier Ericsson. Once installation and commissioning are completed, the network will be operated by Mercedes-Benz Cars. "With the 'Factory 56', we are not only building the smart car production of the future, but also putting in place the world's first 5G mobile network in a vehicle assembly factory", says Jörg Burzer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain. "As the inventor of the car, we are taking digitalisation in production to a whole new level. With the installation of a local 5G network, the networking of all production systems and machines in the Mercedes-Benz Cars factories will become even smarter and more efficient in the future. This opens up completely new production opportunities." With Telefónica Deutschland, Mercedes-Benz Cars has selected an experienced partner: "We are starting the 5G era for Germany as an industrial location and are building the most modern mobile network for one of the most modern automobile factories in the world," says Markus Haas, CEO of Telefónica Deutschland. "As a telecommunications provider and partner for the industry, we have extensive experience in private networks and modern 5G solutions, which we are now contributing to the cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Cars.”

5G network facilitates smart production at Mercedes-Benz Cars

Markus Haas
The development of an own infrastructure brings many advantages and plays an important part in the implementation of smart manufacturing for the future. The use of state-of-the-art 5G network technology allows Mercedes-Benz Cars, among other things, to optimise existing production processes in its plant with the help of new features. These include, for example, the data linking or product tracking on the assembly line. With a separate own network, all processes can be optimised and made more robust, and if necessary adapted at short notice to prevailing market requirements. Furthermore, the mobile communications standard links production systems and machines together in an intelligent manner, thereby supporting the efficiency and precision of the production process. A further benefit of using a local 5G network is that sensitive production data do not have to be made available to third parties. With the 5G network, the enormous quantities of data required for various test scenarios involving the automobile of the future can be processed very quickly (via "data shower"). The 5G mobile communications standard allows fast data transmission rates in the gigabit range, with extremely low latency and a high level of reliability.

Powerful 5G network with numerous indoor antennas and 5G hub

Credits: Shutterstock/24Novembers
Foto: Shutterstock/24Novembers
In order to reach the full capability of 5G, short distances are essential. This is only possible via a local infrastructure, as is being implemented for the first time here in the "Factory 56". With its "Factory 56", the inventor of the automobile is building one of the most modern car production facilities in the world. This facility is not only consistently flexible and green, but it also uses intelligent and digitalised technologies that make it possible to harness the full potential of Industry 4.0. Machines and systems, for example, are closely networked with one another. The assembly facilities and materials-handling technology are compatible with the Internet of Things. In order to achieve this, the "Factory 56" has been equipped by the cooperation partners with several 5G small-cell indoor antennas and a central 5G hub.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations (MO) is responsible for passenger car production in over 30 locations worldwide. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees, it includes the central functions of production planning, technology factory, logistics and quality management. The network is structured around the product architectures front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (e.g. S-Class, E-Class and C-Class), as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. There is also a production network for the powertrain (engines, transmissions, axles, components). At the centre of each architecture production network is a lead plant that serves as a centre of competence for new product start-ups, technology and quality assurance. Mercedes-Benz Cars is ready for electro mobility: Electro-hubs are currently being established around the globe for the production of electric cars and batteries. The focus of the day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and advancement of modern production processes that make efficient, flexible and environment-friendly production of future hi-tech vehicles with Mercedes-Benz quality possible. The focus is on the employees with their expertise and on supporting their work through specific ergonomic design of the workplace and intelligent automation. In addition to their own production plants, Mercedes-Benz increasingly relies on cooperative ventures as part of the growth trajectory. About Telefónica Deutschland Telefónica Deutschland offers telecommunications services for private and business customers, as well as innovative digital products and services in the fields of the Internet of Things and data analytics. With a total of 49.4 million customer connections (as of 31 March 2019), the company is one of the leading integrated telecommunications providers in Germany. In the mobile segment alone, Telefónica Deutschland is responsible for more than 45 million connections – no other domestic network operator connects more people. By 2022, the company aims to become the “Mobile Customer & Digital Champion”, meaning the preferred partner for customers in the German mobile service market that allows them mobile freedom in the digital world. Through its core brand O2 and various secondary and partner brands, the company sells postpaid and prepaid mobile telecommunications products including innovative mobile data services. The basis for this is a mobile service network based on a high-performance GSM, UMTS and LTE infrastructure. Telefónica Deutschland also provides telephony and high-speed internet products, such as VDSL, in the fixed network field. Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG has been listed in the Prime Standard on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (TecDAX) since 2012. In the 2018 financial year, the company generated revenue of EUR 7.3 billion with almost 9,000 employees. The company is majority owned by the Spanish telecommunications group Telefónica S.A., headquartered in Madrid. With operations in 16 countries and a customer base of around 350 million connections, the group is one of the world’s biggest telecommunications providers.

"We are bringing companies into the 5G age"

Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Cayetano Carbajo Martín
In a short interview, Cayetano Carbajo Martín, Chief Technology Officer of Telefónica Deutschland, talks about the importance of the deployment of private networks for the company and the role that telecommunications providers will play in the future. Go to the interview with Cayetano Carbajo Martín.