Nokia has provided a private 5G wireless network to support industrial connectivity at the production development centre and pilot hall at Volkswagen’s headquarters plant in Wolfsburg.

VW plant in Wolfsburg, Germany

VW plant in Wolfsburg, Germany

Volkswagen is piloting a 5G system at its Wolfsburg factory to expand flexibility in EV production

The telecoms company deployed a private 5G standalone wireless network for VW at the OEM’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. The exclusive campus network uses the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) solution to provide reliable, secure, real-time connectivity and enable Volkswagen to trial new smart factory use cases.  

The 5G wireless network covers the Wolfsburg plant’s production development centre and pilot hall. Volkswagen will test whether the 5G technology meets the requirements for vehicle production to increase efficiency and flexibility of future output.  

Nokia DAC’s first use cases will include wireless upload of data to manufactured vehicles and intelligent networking of robots and wireless assembly tools.  

The project’s aim is eventually to provide high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity for sensors, machines, vehicles and other equipment used throughout VW plants.  

The deployment also means that all data remains on the campus, processed at the network edge in real time, giving complete control to VW. Furthermore, the network operates in the dedicated 3.7-3.8 GHz band for local private wireless networks that Volkswagen applied for and was allocated by the Federal Network Agency.  

Dr Klaus-Dieter Tuchs, from network planning at Volkswagen, said: “Predictable wireless performance and the real-time capabilities of 5G have great potential for smart factories in the not-so-distant future. With this pilot deployment, we are exploring the possibilities 5G has to offer and are building our expertise in operating and using 5G technology in an industrial context.”  

Nokia is making inroads in Industry 4.0 digital transformation, with its 380 large enterprise customer deployments, of which more than 75 incorporate 5G.  

“By deploying private wireless to explore and develop its potential in manufacturing, Volkswagen underscores its leading position in leveraging digitalization to enhance efficiency and productivity. We are delighted to support this effort with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and our extensive experience in private wireless networks,” said Chris Johnson, head of global enterprise business for Nokia  

This follows VW testing 5G network systems intended for ‘smart factories’ to push for more flexibility in EV production. 

Nokia initially introduced the experimental system in its main production development centre and the pilot hall, assessing if 5G technology effectively meets the detailed requirements of vehicle production.  

A dedicated 5G radio frequency will be used to secure data transmissions. VW’s Transparent Factory in Dresden has also put a so-called “5G island” into operation.   

The German carmaker has been focusing on developing 5G infrastructure in-house to improve its competitive expertise to ensure data security.  

With flexibility in mind, 5G networks allow for terse latency times of up to one millisecond, data transmission rates in the gigabit range, as well as considerable reliability even with high use compared to other systems. The goal is to see wireless communication expand possibilities for many smart factory applications to work for the first time.