5G Industrial Lab Bischheim

Project description
The digital transformation of the industry can rely on digital twins to improve production costs through optimized supervision and quality control processes. Technical centres in the railways industry are truly representative; being in charge of both standard maintenance (preparation of trains between two travels) and full renewal of trains at their half-life, they are under huge constraints in terms of delivery pace, quality control, cost control and risk assessment.

The leveraging of digital twins specifically depends on two connectivity characteristics: (1) a high quality of experience (QoE) without any loss of connectivity, specifically in mobility, i.e. during movement of operators or M2M terminals, and (2) accurate position monitoring indoor and outdoor. The combination of these two characteristics is a condition for the supervision and automation of production processes led at the scale of a whole centre (around 10 to 30 Ha surface in indoor and outdoor environments), as it is for risk management when tasks involving moving tools and train parts are under consideration.

The work environment in such production and storage facilities is particularly complex, with a typical size in the range of 10 to 30 Ha, concrete and steel buildings, faraday cages, catenaries and other elements with strong impact on electromagnetic waves. 5G local networks are unprecedented opportunities for the digital transformation on industrial centres. They have the ability to provide the needed QoE for a wide range of current and future use cases. Today railways maintenance centres use public networks when available and, in some cases, they deploy WLAN for indoor coverage, LPWAN networks for M2M applications and TETRA for p2p voice communications. Even though of this multiple network choices, the user satisfaction is not met, since for instance wireless LAN is neither adapted nor optimized to their mobility work pattern and to multiple access. Thus, the deployment of a local 5G network gives them the opportunity to use a single telecommunications technology to address all their needs with a better satisfaction level.

Our aim is to deploy a local 5G network dedicated to quality management through supervision and automation/teleoperation of processes, industrial asset tracking and servitization in the industrial centre of Bischheim. The centre is currently in full transformation, and a new building will be built during year 2023. The maintenance process will be updated with the introduction of movers (ground drones dedicated to moving wagons and power cars) inside this new building. The 5G network will be used for the supervision and automation of the drones. Geo-localization functionalities will be evaluated for this specific use case, and the design of the network will be studied and optimized for different accuracy specifications, e.g. less than 1 m, 2 m and 3 m. The best precision will be needed for movers' operation, but other use cases will benefit for lesser performance, i.e. localization of tools.

At the end of the project, the partners will have defined an optimized scenario for 5G local network, demonstrated their potential for supervision and quality control management of train maintenance processes and analysed the potential extension to any industrial context.

Germany: Fraunhofer IIS (lead), Evocortex GmbH
France: SNCF Voyageurs SA (lead), Nokia, CRAN – University of Lorraine

5G, campus networks, Internet-of-Things, localization, automation, quality management, transport robotics

November 2022 – October 2025

Total funds: 4.4 m. EUR
Funding amount: 2.3 m. EUR