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It’s hard to evaluate the metrics on traditional networks accurately.

Rage against the machine

Or just connect fiber to it. First Auto Works did, with good results

FTTM Enables Smart Manufacturing

Automobile manufacturing has been one of the first industries to undergo digital transformation, a phenomenon that has enhanced product development, design verification, quality control, and process improvement.

Last year, First Automobile Works (FAW), a Chinese automobile manufacturer, opened a facility called the FAW Technology Innovation Space, a smart industrial campus in the northeastern city of Changchun. Aimed mainly at developing and testing new energy vehicles (NEVs), the facility performs passive security tests and verifications using digital simulations and real vehicles. (Passive security refers to any measure aimed at preventing injury). The facility also supports testing of electronic controls, human-machine interaction, and vehicle parts.

FAW Technology Innovation Space uses many high-tech systems related to data collection, particularly systems that collect data using high-speed cameras. Each system requires a network with high-bandwidth and fixed latency to ensure that concurrent services are transmitted quickly, reliably, and securely. (Latency means delay on the network when traffic gets heavy; fixed latency means the network has a known maximum latency – in other words, a guaranteed performance standard that keeps delay to a minimum.)

For example, high-speed cameras in the labs can generate up to 1000 frames per second, while data bursts may occur on the network, threatening to slow network traffic to a crawl.

Traditional networks use one “pipe” to transmit services, leading to bandwidth congestion. It’s hard to evaluate the metrics on traditional networks accurately, so performance can’t be guaranteed.

Such shortcomings meant that traditional networks were not suitable for FAW’s Technology Innovation Space.

A future-proof network built to last

To solve this problem, FAW implemented a solution called Fiber to the Machine, or FTTM, which applies fifth-generation fixed network technology, to support technology innovation and testing.

The FTTM network uses fiber as the transmission medium. It is immune to electromagnetic interference and corrosion, and has a long service life of more than 10 years.

High-density 10G fibers (i.e., fibers that can transmit 10 Gigabits of data per second) are extended to each room, desktop, lab, and – crucially – each machine in the entire factory. These high-capacity fibers carry all applications on a single optical network, delivering premium performance.

This allows the system to dynamically adjust the service bandwidth and expand capacity. A powerful network analyzer is also provided to visualize many network metrics and meet the network requirements for automobile development and tests. More importantly, the technology is highly reliable.

For example, the battery lab needs to detect data such as the voltage, current, temperature, capacity, and internal resistance, then upload in real time it to a cloud data-management platform. This would be impossible without the ultra-reliable low latency of FTTM.

Fueled by the Huawei FTTM solution, the FAW Technology Innovation Space has created a campus network that features ultra-high bandwidth and reliable services, helping FAW embrace the trend of smart manufacturing.

Redefining productivity

The digital transformation of manufacturing should center on technologies and devices that upgrade production lines, workshops, factories, and the supply chain. The ultimate goal is to create a smart system that integrates the virtual and physical worlds, and is dynamic, efficient, and secure.

Thus far, Huawei’s FTTM network solution has been adopted by more than 20 industries including educationhealthcare, energy, transportation, and manufacturing, and has redefined their capabilities in the process.

Smart manufacturing represents the ever-increasing requirement of manufacturers for data connectivity and convergence. The FTTM solution can help unleash the potential of digital development by providing stable connectivity and excellent network performance.

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