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Vodafone to install private 5G network on Ford’s Essex campus

Jasper Hart
June 25, 2020

Network will power welding machines for electric vehicles

Vodafone will install a private 5G network in a new part of car manufacturer Ford’s Essex campus.

The installation, which is expected to be completed in the autumn, will see the network set up in Ford’s new Electric Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering (E:PriME) facility.

Ford will use the low-latency connectivity to power its welding machines that make electric vehicles.

“5G mobile private networks act as a springboard for organisations, allowing them to rethink the way they do business,” said Vodafone Business CEO Vinod Kumar.

“In this case, Mobile Private Network technology makes the factory of the future possible. It allows machines and computing power to coordinate in real time, improving precision, efficiency and safety. We’re excited to help Ford plan for the future of its business.”

Ford’s 5G-enabled manufacturing project lead Chris White added: “Connecting today’s shop floor requires significant time and investment. Present technology can be the limiting factor in reconfiguring and deploying next-gen manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform the speed of launch and flexibility of present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.”

As of April this year, Vodafone had rolled out commercial 5G in 44 UK locations and 70 EU locations.

In the automotive space, O2 is also conducting 5G trials with driverless cars.

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