By Juan Pedro Tomás
Japanese company Fujitsu announced the start of of operations of a private 5G network at its Oyama plant in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.
In a release, Fujitsu said that the network consists of a 4.7 GHz band SA and a 28 GHz extended frequency band NSA network, and will allow the company to play an important role in delivering digital transformation for plant operations, including field automation and remote support.
Fujitsu Telecom Networks Limited, which manufactures private 5G and other network equipment, will pursue “human-centered smart manufacturing” while utilizing advanced technologies such as AI and IoT at the Oyama plant, the company said.
“Fujitsu aims to efficiently facilitate technological skill transfers and increase the precision and automation of operations in its manufacturing processes at the plant by leveraging big data, including high-definition video and sensor data. To this end, Fujitsu has built a private 5G network to handle the range of radio waves and the applications demanded in plant operations and will leverage the new network to streamline field operations at the facility,” the company said.
Specifically, Fujitsu has introduced a 4.7 GHz band network, which it says can cover a wide range, to automate highly accurate position measurement and route control through real-time communication with automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) traveling inside the factory during the transportation of parts within facilities. For assembly work, a 28-GHz band network transmits images of products and work procedures taken by a large number of 4K cameras installed in the factory at high speed to an edge computing environment. This enables real-time AI image analysis and offers workers instant feedback as to whether the correct movements are being performed during assembly, the company said. Fujitsu added that it will also provide field work training and remote support using mixed reality (MR) devices.
Going forward, the Japanese firm said it will apply its private 5G technologies to a variety of operations at the Oyama plant with the aim of providing services to the manufacturing industry by the end of fiscal 2021.
In related news, Fujitsu announced the establishment of Fujitsu Ventures Fund, a corporate venture capital fund totaling JPY10 billion (US$90.3 million). The new fund will target investments in promising tech companies globally, including in Japan, the US, Europe, and Israel, and represents a key tool in a growth investment strategy to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation.
“Partnering with dynamic startups represents an increasingly important priority in today’s competitive business environment, serving as an engine for growth through innovation and digital transformation,” the company said. “To this end, Fujitsu will establish a new CVC fund to further enhance the Strategic Growth & Investment team’s startup investment capabilities and to enable more agile investments and further amplify the impact of its growth investment strategy, which remains a central element in its management direction policy.”