Ericsson Factory a Global Lighthouse per World Economic Forum

March 15, 2021
The factory runs on 100 percent renewable electricity.

Ericsson's SA 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a global front runner in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Forum has awarded the site with its “Global Lighthouse” designation in recognition of Ericsson’s deployment of next-generation technology at the site and its subsequent impact, including an impressive 2.2 times improved output per employee when compared to a similar site without the automation and 4IR improvements.

The site is the first Ericsson factory to receive this recognition by the Forum for adoption of 4IR technologies at scale with demonstrated benefits to date. Since commencing operations in early 2020, the USA 5G Smart Factory team has developed 25 different use cases, to be deployed at scale in less than 12 months.

When compared to a similar site without its automation and 4IR improvements, the 5G automated factory with connected robots has delivered 120 percent improved output per employee and 65 percent reduction in manual material handling.

Integrated environmental systems have been designed to reduce energy consumption by 24 percent, indoor water usage by 75 percent when compared to a similar building and the factory is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, according to Ericsson, which is pursuing LEED Gold and LEED Zero Carbon certifications for the smart factory, which will make it the first Ericsson factory globally to achieve this distinction.

Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson executive vice president and head of networks, said, “Running fully automated factories using the latest technologies is part of our strategy for a more resilient and sustainable global supply chain. It shows our commitment to continue working close to our customers, ultimately enabling us to reduce emissions. This World Economic Forum designation highlights the transformative impact of 5G technology in general—and on our factories in particular—to benefit business and society at large.”

“This is a time of unparalleled industry transformation," added Francisco Betti, head of shaping advanced manufacturing and production with the World Economic Forum. "The future belongs to those companies willing to embrace disruption and capture new opportunities. Today’s disruptions, despite their challenges, are a powerful invitation to re-envision growth. The lighthouses are illuminating the future of manufacturing and the future of the industry.”

Ericsson has invested in the next generation of supply chains to create a customized, sustainable, and end-to-end connected supply chain across the globe, they note. In the US, Ericsson has invested more than USD $100 million in its first 5G Smart Factory. The factory primarily serves Ericsson 5G customers in North America.

Ericsson also claims to be fast-tracking next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its factories in Estonia, China, and Brazil. This will ensure close working with customers through Ericsson’s European, Asian and American operations.

Ericsson supports the 1.5 C° ambition set up by the Paris Agreement. Digital technologies such as 5G and IoT deployed across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, can help reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030, they believe.