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Is your Factory Smart?

Transform your Supply Chain and Manufacturing Processes with 5G and Edge Computing

Manufacturing is turning raw materials or parts into finished goods using tools, human labor, machinery, and chemical processing. The supply chain is how the manufacturer brings its materials to buyers.

The three main types of manufacturing are addictive, contract, and advanced. Additive manufacturing is creating an object by building it one layer at a time — utilizing 3D designs. Contract manufacturing is when a small company hires another company to produce its products. Advanced or smart factories use innovative technologies to create existing products or build new products. Smart factories are an elevated form of the traditional manufacturing process. It utilizes smart technologies which depend on automation, compute power, always-on connectivity, software, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics.

Gartner predicts that 25% of supply chain decisions will be made across intelligent edge ecosystems through 2025. The edge is part of the puzzle, one of the game-changers transforming the manufacturing industry and supply chains.

The role of the edge and 5G are vital in the world of manufacturing. Edge computing limits the distance between the data source and the end-user, significantly reducing latency while increasing capacity and reliability. Data is processed on-site or in devices rather than at a centralized server. Edge computing is a critical component of your company’s IT infrastructure.

5G requires unprecedented rapid data transmission, achieved when organizations shift to the network edge to enable 5G-level applications and services. 5G technology delivers speed, ultra-low latency, increased bandwidth, and reliability to fuel industries with innovative advancement opportunities.

In 2022, the global smart manufacturing market size was over $277 billion and is projected to reach about $658 billion by 2029. Now that we’ve established the market value, let’s look at a few leading trends in the industry.

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)

In warehouses, AMR drives efficiency, decreases labor costs, and increases safety. Several mobile robots include self-driving forklifts, inventory robots, and aerial vehicles like drones. Self-driving forklifts are programmed to carry carts and move products between workers and stations. Inventory mobile robots combined with RFID tags — smart labels — store information including serial numbers, product descriptions, and other data. It helps managers know how much inventory is available, including expiration dates and merchandise placement within the warehouse. Aerial lightweight drones are equipped with RFID scanning technology for real-time inventory, tracking, mapping, and reporting on safety issues.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR allows workers to assemble, repair, and service machines and products quickly. Without AR, technicians would need to receive a service order, then go out to the factory to identify what part needed to be replaced or fixed. AR allows a technician to scan a QR code or machine ID to identify the machine, then select any part of the machine. Once the part is determined, the technician will be able to gauge how long the part will take to be delivered along with a step-by-step visual aid to show how to repair or replace the part.

Big Data

Big Data is at the core of manufacturing and includes extensive data collected during the production process up to and including the supply chain process to track, trace, analyze, streamline, and improve efficiencies to maximize output, and ensure smooth delivery of products, thereby increasing revenue.

Asset Condition Monitoring (ACM)

The average large manufacturing plant loses $532,000 per hour, which equals $172 million per year due to machine failure. This disruption causes missed deadlines, damaged company reputation, decreased customer loyalty, and potentially loss of clients. Asset condition monitoring detects faults and predicts machine failures. ACM reduces unscheduled downtime and increases productivity and, therefore, revenue.

Real-time Video Analytics

Video analytics uses video streaming across the factory floor to make real-time decisions to improve efficiencies, quality control, processes, and maintenance needs. Video analytics provide the operation team with additional insights to help detect issues and denote where it is occurring in the machine, and how often, to ultimately prevent unscheduled downtime and improve productivity.


5G requires an unprecedented level of rapid data transmission. Industries across the board will need to shift to the network edge to enable 5G-level applications and services. Smart manufacturing without ultra-low latency can’t experience the full benefits of the Internet of Things. If a connected machine on an assembly line recognizes a malfunction, any delay in transmitting that signal is costly.

Edge computing enables complex, real-time processing for data-heavy business analytics and other business-critical applications to be performed quickly with always-on availability. The edge provides the power to maximize operational efficiency, improve performance and safety, and automate many complex processes. Edge computing is a critical requirement for smart manufacturing. You need a solid infrastructure in fiber-connected, urban-situated colocation facilities at the edge to get you closest to your users to enable interconnection that combines high-performance networks with physical proximity.

Leaders in the manufacturing industry require infrastructure equipped to support the emerging technologies that enable critical data analytics. The industry relies on such data to prevent disasters, serve a global community, and operate distributed supply chains.

Netrality delivers best-in-class interconnection and colocation services through its operator-owned buildings, featuring cloud-neutral Meet Me Rooms with a robust ecosystem of providers delivering ultra-low latency, high performance, scalability, and network reliability.

Contact us today to learn more about our strategically located data centers!

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