What’s claimed to be Ireland’s “first indoor 5G campus network in a live manufacturing environment” has been launched in a new collaboration based at a Glanbia processing plant.

Three Ireland and Ericsson have announced a new strategic partnership with Glanbia Ireland to increase manufacturing efficiency by installing an indoor 5G network at the company’s largest Irish plant.

The new 5G network, inside the cheese plant at Glanbia Ireland’s facility in Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny, is the first implementation in a live manufacturing environment in Ireland, the partners say.

Three is working with Ericsson and Glanbia on the rollout to demonstrate how 5G can be utilised in manufacturing environments, “developing further use cases which in time can be applied across a range of sectors”.

According to the company, the new network solution will enable faster and more accurate maintenance tasks on the plant floor and will assist in problem solving, providing for richer analysis of plant processes and reducing manual administration.

L-R: Brian Farrell, Glanbia; Karl Duffy of Three Ireland; and Robert Stack, Ericsson. Image source: Jeff Harvey

The new indoor network will bring greater connectivity and data security, allowing Glanbia to trial AR and VR applications, and test how 5G can provide enhanced connectivity solutions for their wider production facilities.

Karl Duffy, head of enterprise and public sector at Three Ireland, described the move as “delivering a real step-change from 4G”, adding:

“This is the first indoor 5G network of its kind in Ireland and will deliver real efficiencies for Glanbia. The opportunity is there for companies of all sizes to create a pilot and scale over time.

John Griffin, CEO of Ericsson Ireland, said: “5G offers the biggest ever potential platform for innovation and this exciting strategic partnership between Three Ireland, Ericsson and Glanbia will unlock the real value of Industry 4.0 for Ireland’s manufacturing sector.

“From enabling true digital transformation to helping boost productivity and creating operational efficiencies, 5G can provide the foundation for Ireland to revolutionise critical industries and lead the way for future innovation and economic growth.”

Brian Farrell, engineering manager at Glanbia Ireland, Ballyragget said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this ground-breaking initiative with Three Ireland and Ericsson.

“It’s allowing us to bring to life some of the early learnings from our participation in an EU funded Horizon 2020 5G project,” the engineering manager added.

From a technical perspective the project will see 5G radio coverage provided by Ericsson’s Radio Dot System utilising Three Ireland’s 5G spectrum. This solution offers customers the indoor 5G coverage needed for bespoke use cases.

The partners say they “enable faster and easier installation in comparison to Wi-Fi, while offering greater performance, security and latency”.