Paving the Way for Smart Factories

Intel, EXOR International, TIM, and JMA Wireless collaborate to demonstrate the benefits of an on-premise 5G private network alongside AI. 


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Image credit: EXOR

Intel, EXOR International, TIM, and JMA Wireless teamed together to build an end-to-end smart factory in Verona, Italy, as an example of the benefits of Industry 4.0 digitalization to manufacturers of all sizes. Based on a breadth of Intel products, including Intel Atom® processors, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® FPGAs, Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial software and Intel® Edge Insights for Industrial software, the factory shows what is possible with the latest networking, cloud and edge computing technologies in an agile and modular application environment.

The global smart manufacturing market is expected to reach roughly $506 billion by 2027 – a compound annual growth rate of 12.2 percent. Manufacturers are evaluating ways to take advantage of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G to reduce maintenance and energy costs and improve workforce productivity. Yet, questions remain. EXOR’s smart factory aims to demonstrate the operational benefits of digitalization, including:

  • Autonomous human resources scheduling, reacting to changes in orders and employee availability in real time.
  • A clear indicator of whether everything planned for the week, including supplies, components and documentation, is in order and ready for production.
  • Real-time updates on order status and work-in-progress advancements, regardless of order size.

Experimenting with 5G

The smart factory will also include an on-premise 5G lab to demonstrate how manufacturers can build private networks and integrate with existing solutions to deliver business value. The lab will explore 5G’s ability to:

  • Improve communication in an extreme factory design setup.
  • Enable peer-to-peer communication through the use of industrial robots.
  • Impact edge computing cluster connectivity versus wired connections.

EXOR, an industrial PC and human machine interfaces manufacturer, is partnering with local service provider TIM to provide the 5G spectrum (sub 6GHz and 26GHz). This allows EXOR to capitalize on the benefits of Industry 4.0, providing engineers the ability to collaborate, explore, test, deploy, and enable digitized technology. EXOR will open a portion of its smart factory floor and 5G laboratory for other companies to prove how they can move to Industry 4.0 with wireless communication.

EXOR will also pilot a visual quality inspection machine, leveraging Intel® Movidius™ VPU and Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit to automatically flag defects, dust and scratches in near real time. The solution will also classify those defects before sending the information to factory workers for assessment.


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