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Automation, Operations & Testing

Huawei's 5G indoor positioning shows promising results in Midea's factories

by Huawei
FOSHAN, China Midea Group and China Unicom verified Huawei's 5G indoor positioning solution in Midea's kitchen appliances manufacturing factory located in Foshan, Guangdong. The solution delivered location accuracy of 1 to 3 meters in 90% of the factory's finished product areas. This marks the first such verification in an industrial factory, paving the way for 5G positioning in smart manufacturing, and bringing Midea another step closer to building 5G fully-connected smart manufacturing factory.

5G positioning test in Midea's factory in Shunde Midea's kitchen division focuses on kitchen hoods, stoves, sterilizing cabinets, and dishwashers, boasting a total production capacity of 18 million units per year. The factory in Shunde has three major campuses, all of which have built 5G MEC campus networks to support industrial Internet and smart manufacturing in core production. So far, 11 scenarios use 5G networks, including smart warehousing, vehicle management, and AI monitoring.

Warehouse logistics systems tend to have a hard time tracking and positioning personnel, machines, and goods. Industrial Wi-Fi connections are unstable in mobile use cases, incurring additional costs to find goods, while warehouses and logistics processes lose out on efficiency. This changes with 5G positioning, since it provides a location accuracy of 1 to 3 meters. It also helps quickly transmit the positions of clamp trucks to warehousing systems in finished product areas and then associate the positions to the finished products. This helps factories increase product loading efficiency by 50%.

China Unicom is always looking for innovation to bring 5G to enterprises. By working closely with Huawei, it has been continuously upgrading network capabilities to support industry applications. This verification project is based on Huawei's 5G digital indoor LampSite and leading MEC solutions. LampSite units measure and analyze the radio signals of 5G devices, and the results are fed to advanced algorithms deployed on MEC to estimate the locations of 5G devices.

Xue Jiping, senior vice president of China Unicom's government and enterprise business group highlighted the advantages of 5G positioning. Unlike other indoor positioning technologies, 5G indoor positioning uses the same networks that provide mobile 5G services. This facilitates positioning capability openness to upper layer applications through MEC. Carriers are then uniquely positioned to develop the 5G industrial ecosystem. Since it reuses existing systems, 5G positioning significantly reduces investment. He added that China Unicom Guangdong will continue to innovate and implement toB technologies to lead all-scenario 5G Gigabit in Guangdong.

Wu Shoubao, general manager of the Shunde factory of Midea's kitchen division, said that the factories plan to deploy 55 scenarios using 5G. The successful verification of 5G positioning will provide technical support for subsequent 5G applications. Midea will continue to collaborate with China Unicom Guangdong and Huawei as well as other partners to advance the digital transformation of its factories through 5G. He believes that this will help Midea's experience to serve as a best practice in smart manufacturing by 2022.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd

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