KUKA taps Nokia to facilitate industrial 5G SA private wireless network

German industrial robot manufacturer turns to comms technology provider for 5G private wireless for reliable connectivity in the development of intelligent automation

KUKA, a manufacturer of industrial robots and automation systems, is to deploy Nokia 5G SA private wireless networking at its base in Germany.

Headquartered in Augsburg, KUKA is a global automation corporation with sales of about €2.6bn and roughly 14,000 employees. The company claims to be one of the world’s leading suppliers of intelligent automation solutions, offering customers a variety of products, from robots and cells to fully automated systems, and their networking in markets such as automotive, electronics, metal and plastic, consumer goods, e-commerce/retail and healthcare.

KUKA plans to deploy 5G standalone private wireless networking and intelligent robotics and automation systems in its smart production and development centre in Augsburg. The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) campus networking and application platform will support product development with immediate effect.

The platform is said to offer reliable high-bandwidth, low-latency private networking, local edge computing capabilities, voice and video services and a catalogue of applications. It comprises network and user equipment, a cloud-based operation monitoring system and industrial connectors for standard and industry-specific protocol connectivity. It also has a new device management capability that integrates ruggedised handhelds and other wireless devices.

Through the deployment of a 5G private wireless network, KUKA believes it can maximise the potential of upcoming 3GPP Releases 16 and 17. In network deployment, Nokia DAC’s manager portal will enable KUKA to configure the network to its specific requirements. Nokia will also support KUKA with network deployment, operation support services and training, enabling integration of new use cases that include new 5G-based interfaces and components.

“In coming years, KUKA will develop solutions that harness the potential of 5G’s fast, reliable and secure connectivity,” said Michael Wagner, director of R&D at the firm’s competence centre for control technology. “By partnering with Nokia for private wireless networking, we have now established a long-term development roadmap that will allow us to capitalise on the new capabilities in future 5G releases for our automation solutions.”

Dirk Lewandowski, vice-president central and east Europe at Nokia Enterprise, added: “5G is continuously evolving with new capabilities. Advanced automation manufacturers that leverage 5G for their own solutions need to take this into consideration. With KUKA preparing to use 5G in industrial applications, deployment of a Nokia DAC platform will enable it to accelerate development of smart automation solutions for its customers.”

In the manufacturing sector, Nokia has been increasingly delivering industrial-grade private wireless networking to give customers what it says is the scalability, flexibility, low latency and mission-critical coverage needed to advance their digital transformation. It said that with a strong marketplace appetite to capture the transformational benefits of Industry 4.0, it has been working with manufacturing companies for private wireless networking, including Toyota Production Engineering Company, Arçelik Turkey and WEG Brazil.

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