Korea’s Mobile Carriers Make Big Stride in Smart Factory Field

The rapid penetration of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications technology is widely opening up new market opportunities for mobile service carriers. The ultra-high speed on-the-go mobile technology is an indispensable technology enabler in building and operating smart factories, smart cities, and even autonomous vehicles.

Cases in point are Korea’s three mobile service carriers —LG U+, SK Telecom, and KT— who are all trying to expand their respective 5G experiences to enterprise and industries.

Leveraging partnerships with key industry players, mobile service providers in Korea move toward offering smart factory solutions.

Enhancing Safety, Security

LG U+, for example, is working together with Korea Industrial Complex Corporation to deploy its 5G multi-access edge (MEG) computing technology across Ulsan petrochemical complex, the country’s largest concentration of petrochemical plants, to monitor safety and security matters.

Called Smart Industrial Complex platform, the 5G-based smart factory solution allows the corporation to monitor, diagnose, and alert impending dangers and accidents.

Key to this smart factory monitoring platform is the 5G-based MEG mobile edge computing technology, one of the main capabilities of the 5G technology.

As speed and trust is the most important factor in diagnosing and alerting potential leakage of toxic and volatile chemical substances as well as potential fires, MEG solution is a must have, enabling service providers to place computing and storage resources in the proximity of the edge of their network, or end-users’ usage sites.

Operating workloads like data processing and storing close to a multiple of end users’ sites guarantees ultra-high speed, lowest data latency, and highest security, helping to respond to possible accidents and risks in the complex’s unguarded facilities in real time. The platform also comes built with an artificial intelligence (AI) solution to prevent accident and diagnose risks by analyzing data patterns, learning machines, and then predicting accident and risk cases.

Leveraging Partnerships

KT is as ambitious in its push to address smart factory markets. The country’s second largest telecom service provider recently has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hanwha Precision Machinery to jointly release smart factory solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, both of the companies will combine their respective expertise – KT’s experiences in telecommunication infrastructure technology and Hanwha’s knowhow in factory automation and robots to create innovative manufacturing solutions.

For example, they will combine KT’s smart factory platform Factory Makers and Hanhwa’s three co-working robots to launch a new breed of cloud-based smart factory solution that can manage and monitor production processes across assembly lines and publish production analysis reports in real-time. The solution is scheduled to roll off the line sometime in the 3rd quarter. KT’s Factory Makers platform is a 5G-, AI- and cloud-based smart factory solution that connects factory equipment to 5G-based cloud platform to remotely monitor factory production processes.

Hanwha Machinery is among the many business partners that KT is presently working with to make a big stride in the smart factory market. Among KT’s smart factory business partners are Hyundai Robotics, Cognex, Telstar Hommel and Yudo Group, which are mostly robots, machinery and production equipment makers.

AI Service for Smart Factory

Korea’s largest mobile service carrier SK Telecom has also launched a cloud-based smart factory AI service called Metatron Grandview, which can smartly manage compressors on factory sites. To apply that solution to compressors, SK Telecom has joined hands with compressor maker Sungshin Compressor and internet of things (IoT) gateway solution provider Soltech System.

Deployment of the AI smart factory service is the first use case onsite. Once embedded with SK Telecom’s smart factory AI service solution and Soltech’s IoT gateway, the smart compressors can now work as a control tower to remotely monitor production facilities on the factory, maintain and control them, and even alarm for operation failures. A preventive and foresight maintenance service is also available.

SKT and Singshin Compressor will release the first smart compressor model in September.

The smart factory service will be offered on a monthly subscription basis.