- Faster decision-making and improved operational efficiency
- Siemens set to release private 5G infrastructure in summer 2023
- Prototype successfully working in Siemens manufacturing site Karlsruhe
The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) is a rapidly evolving trend in the industrial sector. As companies increasingly look for ways to optimize their operations and improve efficiency, the need for seamless communication between traditionally separate systems becomes paramount. The rise of Industrial 5G networks, offering low latency and high reliability, presents an opportunity to bridge the gap between IT and OT, enabling a new era of industrial automation and digital transformation.
“The convergence of IT and OT enables the Digital Enterprise. It lays the foundation for data-driven decision making”, says Axel Lorenz, CEO Process Automation at Siemens. “The integration of IT and OT systems requires a robust communication infrastructure that can handle the demands of both realms. Private Industrial 5G networks, with their capacity for ultra-reliable, low-latency communication, offer the perfect solution for connecting these two domains.”
Industrial 5G networks enable seamless communication between devices, sensors, and systems across both IT and OT environments. This facilitates real-time data exchange, allowing for faster decision-making and improved operational efficiency. Additionally, the massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) capabilities of 5G allow for the deployment of a large number of IoT devices, further enhancing data collection and analysis.
Improved operational efficiency and flexibility
The low latency and high reliability of private Industrial 5G networks support mission-critical applications such as mobile robots, autonomous logistics, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These applications can help optimize production processes and reduce downtime, contributing to overall operational efficiency. Moreover, the flexible nature of 5G networks allows companies to adapt their infrastructure to support evolving business needs and industry trends. As the integration of IT and OT systems increases, the need for robust security measures becomes essential to protect sensitive data and prevent cyberattacks. Private 5G networks offer improved security by allowing companies to establish their own local networks, tailored to their specific requirements. This enables better control over network access and data flow, ensuring compliance with industry regulations and safeguarding critical infrastructure.
Siemens leads the way in Industrial 5G infrastructure development
Siemens is currently developing a prototype private Industrial 5G infrastructure to address the challenges of integrating 5G technology into industrial environments. The network is designed to be compact, OT-focused, and capable of withstanding harsh industrial conditions. This solution runs on Siemens Industrial PCs. The 5G Core manages the complete 5G network including the Radio Access Network (RAN). The RAN consists of three different elements: the Central Unit (CU), the Distributed Unit (DU), and the Radio Units (RU). The CU connects the 5G Core and the DUs and provides high-level coordination of the 5G radio network. The DU converts the data packets into a digital radio signal. The RUs are the network’s radios, and they convert the digital radio signals sent and received into a radio signal. Siemens’ private 5G infrastructure is set to be released in summer 2023.
Siemens is testing its private 5G solution in actual production environments, such as the Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe (MF-K) facility. Implementing and operating the prototype network in their own manufacturing facilities allows Siemens to refine the technology and ensure it meets the requirements of industrial use cases.
5G availability still a challenge
Despite the potential benefits of Industrial 5G for IT-OT integration, challenges persist such as a reliable availability of products with the right feature set. 5G is not a single development but comes in multiple iterations called releases. In December 2018, Release 15, the first release of 5G was completed by the industry body 3GPP. The latest release available now is Release 17. However, products for industrial use are not yet widely available. The main reason for this is that it takes about three years to move from a finished release to a finished product that can be used in harsh industrial environments. What’s more, most of the industry specific features are part of the newer releases – and products follow roughly three years after the corresponding release.
A further challenge is that the 5G user equipment ecosystem is insufficiently developed yet. However, once this has been resolved an uptake in the number of installed private Industrial 5G networks is to be expected. As Industrial 5G networks continue to advance, the convergence of IT and OT systems will become more seamless and efficient, driving digital transformation, and revolutionizing the industrial landscape. By embracing this technology, companies can unlock new opportunities for growth, innovation, and competitive advantage, ensuring their success in the rapidly evolving digital age.
Summary: Key aspects of Siemens’ Industrial 5G infrastructure
- Private Industrial 5G network: Siemens is developing a private Industrial 5G network infrastructure to address the challenges of integrating 5G technology into industrial environments. The solution is designed to be compact, OT-focused, and capable of withstanding harsh industrial conditions. This solution runs on Siemens Industrial PCs, which manage both the 5G Core and a part of the Radio Access Network (RAN).
- User-friendly interface: Siemens emphasizes the need for a simple and intuitive user interface for the daily operation of their Industrial 5G network. This focus ensures that operators can manage and maintain the network efficiently and effectively.
- Testing in real-world environments: Siemens is testing its private 5G solution in actual production environments, such as the Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe (MF-K) facility. Implementing and operating the prototype network in their own manufacturing facilities allows Siemens to refine the technology and ensure it meets the requirements of industrial use cases.
- Industrial 5G routers: Since 2021, Siemens has been offering Industrial 5G routers, such as the SCALANCE MUM853-1 and MUM856-1, to connect robots, AGVs, and other industrial devices to their private 5G network. These routers play a crucial role in enabling efficient wireless connectivity for various industrial applications.
Siemens Automotive Showroom and test center, Nuremberg
Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe, AMR (Automated mobile Robot) using a private 5G network
Further information on Siemens Industrial 5G can be found at https://www.siemens.com/industrial-5G
Reference video showing the connection of a mobile robot via Industrial 5G, including practical experiences: https://www.siemens.com/global/en/products/automation/industrial-communication/industrial-5g.html#%E2%80%9EIndustrial5Gwork%E2%80%9D
Recent press releases about Industrial 5G
Real-time communication via 5G with Profinet: https://press.siemens.com/global/en/pressrelease/real-time-communication-5g-profinet
Siemens makes first industrial 5G router available:
Contact for journalists
Phone: +49 162 7436402; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us in Social Media:
Siemens Digital Industries (DI) is an innovation leader in automation and digitalization. Closely collaborating with partners and customers, DI drives the digital transformation in the process and discrete industries. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, DI provides companies of all sizes with an end-to-end set of products, solutions and services to integrate and digitalize the entire value chain. Optimized for the specific needs of each industry, DI’s unique portfolio supports customers to achieve greater productivity and flexibility. DI is constantly adding innovations to its portfolio to integrate cutting-edge future technologies. Siemens Digital Industries has its global headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, and has around 72,000 employees internationally.
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, transport, and healthcare. From more resource-efficient factories, resilient supply chains, and smarter buildings and grids, to cleaner and more comfortable transportation as well as advanced healthcare, the company creates technology with purpose adding real value for customers. By combining the real and the digital worlds, Siemens empowers its customers to transform their industries and markets, helping them to transform the everyday for billions of people. Siemens also owns a majority stake in the publicly listed company Siemens Healthineers, a globally leading medical technology provider shaping the future of healthcare. In addition, Siemens holds a minority stake in Siemens Energy, a global leader in the transmission and generation of electrical power.
In fiscal 2022, which ended on September 30, 2022, the Siemens Group generated revenue of €72.0 billion and net income of €4.4 billion. As of September 30, 2022, the company had around 311,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at www.siemens.com.