Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson has announced plans to build its first fully-automated smart factory in the US, which will operate using Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment.
Fast and secure 5G connectivity will allow agile operations and flexible production, the company says, with automated warehouses, connected logistics, automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts.
The company is committed to the factory being operational in early 2020. Its location will be announced on conclusion of discussions with state and local authorities.
The state-of-the-art factory will itself produce high-tech 5G products which will allow faster introduction of commercial 5G in North America, including Advanced Antenna System radios to boost network capacity and coverage, including rural coverage, and 5G radios for urban areas.
A modular and flexible production setup will allow a rapid build-up of production. Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G increases.
The factory will advance Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability, including registration to pursue LEED Gold Certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating.
Ericsson is fast-tracking the launch of next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.
Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson executive vice-president and head of networks, said: “With today’s announcement, we conclude months of preparations and can move into execution in the US. In addition, we are digitalising our entire global production landscape. With 5G connectivity we’re accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future.”
Ericsson initially plans to employ approximately 100 people at the plant.
Ericsson began operations to produce radios for the US market via a production partner at the end of 2018. The company has also established a new R&D site in Austin, Texas.