Ericsson is set to build its first fully-automated smart factory in the U.S., expected to be up and running in early 2020. The factory will produce the company’s Advanced Antenna System radios which will be used to boost network capacity, and rural coverage for 4G and 5G mobile network deployments.
Ericsson says that the creation of this factory is in-line with its plans for a more flexible global supply chain, and builds on the firm’s previously announced strategic initiative is the U.S. market. The company is also fast-tracking the launch of the next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing own factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.
The exact location of the U.S. factory will be announced upon concluding discussions with state and local authorities.
The smart factory will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment. The firm says that fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable agile operations and flexible production. This will be achieved through automated warehouses, connected logistics and automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts.
The latest technology products created in the 5G factory will enable a faster rollout of commercial 5G across the region. To ensure the high quality of products, Ericsson runs its new product introduction** and early production in-house. Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G is built.
Ericsson plans to initially employ approximately 100 people at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a modular and flexible production setup to enable quick ramp up and rollout.
*Advanced Antenna Systems radios enable large scale deployments in 4G and 5G mobile networks. Street Macro radios for urban use are radios with integrated RAN Compute baseband functionality that allows network densification in metropolitan areas, where no new rooftop sites are available.
** New Product Introduction (NPI) is the process that new products must pass through in order to get a product prototype from design to market introduction.