Ericsson has announced plans to build its first fully-automated smart factory in the US.
The state-of-the-art factory will produce Advanced Antenna System radios to boost network capacity and coverage, including rural coverage, as well as 5G radios for urban areas, both necessary for rapid 5G deployments in North America.
The new smart factory complements Ericsson’s global supply chain, which ensures the company is working close to customers through its European, Asian and American operations, securing fast and agile deliveries to meet customer requirements. This builds on Ericsson’s previously announced strategic initiative is the US market.
Ericsson 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.
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks at Ericsson, said: “We continue to focus on working closely with our customers and supporting them in the buildout of 5G globally and in North America. In addition, we are digitalising our entire global production landscape, including establishing this factory in the US. With 5G connectivity we’re accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future.”
The exact location of the facility will be announced upon concluding discussions with state and local authorities. The company is committed to the factory being operational in early 2020. The smart factory will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment and will also advance Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability, including registration to pursue LEED Gold Certification.
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. 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.
Ericsson began operations via a production partner for the first radios for the US market produced at the end of 2018. The company also established a new R&D site – a software development centre – in Austin, Texas. It is located close to the Austin ASIC Design Centre, which opened in late 2017 and focuses on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations.