Network technology for real-time remote control of smart factories

March 16, 2022

(News from Nanowerk) A Korean research team has developed technology that can remotely control a smart factory (model factory) located hundreds of kilometers away using 5G and real-time wired networks. It is expected to be very helpful in building a 5G-based smart factory and enhancing the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry.

ETRI has successfully demonstrated a remote industrial IoT service based on an ultra-low latency and high reliability 5G wired/wireless network by connecting a laboratory in Daejeon ETRI Headquarters Building 11 and the smart factory from Korea Institute of Industrial Technology in Hayang-eup, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

ETRI researchers demonstrate that remotely controls a smart factory using a panel at ETRI headquarters in Daejeon. (Image: ETRI)

A smart factory refers to a smart factory that automates tasks using robots instead of humans or controls various processes without human intervention on site. It is necessary to ensure short communication times and no loss of data as if the order was given on the spot to avoid damage due to process errors during remote control.

Although there have been cases of using 5G to demonstrate a smart factory, they have used foreign equipment or technologies while their application was limited to controlling real-time manufacturing facilities only in the factory. .

ETRI has demonstrated that it is possible to control plant facilities via a remote control center hundreds of miles away as if being controlled on site while connecting plant facilities with communication technology In-house developed 5G mobile wireless and wired network technology.

Services demonstrated include: Remote real-time production management system; Remote control of the production robot in real time; Control and management of production facilities in real time using a remote touch screen; Real-time monitoring of process status using remote VR equipment; Remote process monitoring through wireless sensors, etc.

The research team installed the latest industrial IoT based on 5G standard at Gyeongsan Smart Factory and Daejeon ETRI Control Center to verify the technology. The world’s first time-deterministic packet transport network technology developed by ETRI was used to interconnect the two sites 280 km apart with limited latency and high reliability via KOREN (Hyper-Connected Intelligent R&D Network) optical networks. The technology is based on the DetNet (Deterministic Networking) architecture and the TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) mechanisms. Within the ETRI site, ultra-low latency optical access network technology was used, which was also developed by ETRI.

With this, ETRI proved that real-time remote smart manufacturing service is possible for the first time in Korea through successful two-way communication within 3 milliseconds in Gyeongsan smart factory and 10 milliseconds between industrial terminals. 5G in Daejeon and Gyeongsan.

Compared to previous demo cases, which proved two-way communication in less than 10ms in a factory, this technology is expected to mark the beginning of a large-scale remote smart manufacturing service. In particular, it is expected to significantly improve the technologies of Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) related to telecommunications and manufacturing, as the technology can improve the efficiency of the manufacturing industry ecosystem while meeting the needs of groups. remote social. cope with more strenuous activities due to the COVID-19 virus.

Bang Seung-chan, Head of Communication and Media Research Center at ETRI, said, “This technology should be used as an innovative tool to revitalize 5G smart factories across the manufacturing industry. In particular, we will do our best to locate and revitalize relevant technologies as soon as possible by cooperating with small and medium enterprises.”

ETRI announced that it has developed industrial IoT systems according to 5G standards since 2017, such as terminals, base stations, basic equipment and mobile edge computing platforms (MEC), in collaboration with KT, Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, OpenObject, QCell Networks, CleverLogic and Soongsil University. ETRI also announced that this achievement was possible by verifying the applicability of the above service.

Through this, ETRI demonstrated the control services, such as environmental monitoring for each process, detection of abnormal situations and determination of production volume, by connecting NarrowBand-IoT terminals and wireless sensors attached to different parts. production facilities for the first time. time in Korea.

In 2020, ETRI demonstrated that wireless control services of real-time processes and production facilities in the factory would be possible by connecting 5G terminals to mobile production robots, portable control panels, VR equipment and a programmable logic controller (PLC) of each process. , which was difficult with a wired connection.

Going forward, the research team plans to demonstrate that the remote monitoring and control service will be possible by connecting the University of Oulu in Finland and Gyeongsan Smart Factory beyond internal connections in 2022 through a follow-up research.

In addition, ETRI also promotes the commercialization of chipsets, modules, base stations, etc. of 5G industrial terminals, through technology transfer and cooperation with Korean SMEs to boost the 5G smart manufacturing ecosystem.