Tuesday, July 07, 2020

5G milestone for SCG, AIS: Unmanned forklift run from 110km distant

Jan 24. 2020
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Advanced Info Service (AIS) and business conglomerate SCG have signed a pact on 5G research and development for multiple projects.

They and Prince of Songkhla University on Friday (January 24) demonstrated the use of 5G technology for industry in operating an unmanned forklift from 110 kilometres away.

The forklift was at an SCG plant in Saraburi, the operator at SCG headquarters in Bangkok, using the 2.6-gigahertz bandwidth of the AIS 5G network to hoist and move around material.

“This industrial test paves the way to increased productivity and safety and opportunities for staff training by remote,” the companies declared in a press release.

They intend to build a 5G ecosystem to enhance sustainable innovation and increase Thailand’s industrial competitiveness and quality of life.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will auction off four 5G spectra on February 16.

Wasit Wattanasap, head of Nationwide Operations and Support Department at of AIS, said the technology will “dramatically change the way we do things in Thailand”.

“Users will benefit in three ways: faster data speed, internet-of-things connectivity, and a stable and responsive network. Needless to say, developing a 5G ecosystem involves many players, including the government, companies and academics. Everyone has a part to play.”

Attapong Sathitmanothum, director - Mechanization Automation & Robotics (MARs) and Industry 4.0 at SCG, said his firm aimed to “improve work operations in various fields and business units, including cement and building materials, packaging and chemicals”.

“A working group in Mechanisation, Automation and Robotics [MARs] was established in 2016 to be a catalyst in levelling up the production process to create a ‘smart factory’.

“Investing more than Bt860 million during the first three quarters of 2019, SCG achieved predictive maintenance to notify us before a machine breaks down [‘smart maintenance’], use of robots in the laboratory [‘smart laboratory’], automated dispatching to deliver cement to customers automatically [‘smart dispatching’] and use of digital technology enabling data accessibility throughout the supply chain so that everyone can utilise the same data as a single, factual source, perform analytics to improve competitiveness and enhance responsiveness to customer needs.”

Attapong said 5G technology can strengthen SCG’s efficiency in many ways.

“Workers will be safer, especially with machinery in risky areas such as mines and confined spaces such as inside a cement kiln. Efficiency will be increased as the transmission of big data becomes easy.

“Several plants in different locations can send data to a control centre capable of managing information in real time. Customers will be more satisfied because logistics will become more effective.”

Associate Professor Dr Peerapong Teekasakul, director of Innovation Hub at Council of University Presidents of Thailand, noted that Prince of Songkhla University has, through its Institute of Research and Digital Innovation, been actively conducting research and development with the private and industry sectors.

“We co-study and co-test 5G technology in many dimensions, with the goals of building and preparing it for actual industrial use which, in turn, will increase competitiveness for Thai industry.”

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