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KPN, Shell and Partners Test Industrial 5G Applications in the Port of Rotterdam

Nov 06, 2018

[Rotterdam, Netherlands, November 6, 2018] In the Rotterdam harbour, KPN, Shell, Huawei, ExRobotics, Accenture and ABB have tested the first industrial 5G-applications with the new generation of mobile networks. Thanks to 5G manufacturing can be optimized, industrial maintenance can be better predicted and safety further enhanced. With 5G technology, large-scale deployment of wireless sensors is also possible and the process industry is given direct access to relevant digital information from the production environment.

Partner photo

During tests at Shell Pernis, 5G technology has been successfully tested, among other things, for preventive maintenance of approximately 160,000 km of pipelines. By using Ultra High Definition (UHD)-cameras connected to 5G combined with machine learning algoritms, future maintenance can be better predicted. 5G technology is also used to give inspectors and engineers access to additional information from the process installation via tablets and the use of augmented reality. This allows the work processes of Europe's largest refinery to be further digitized and optimized.

KPN has built an experimental 5G network in the Rotterdam harbor using temporarily allocated 5G test frequencies in the 700MHz and 3500MHz spectrum. In addition, the 2300 MHz frequency band is also used. Thanks to these frequencies and the latest network and Huawei antenna technologies, the network capacity is increased vastly, the reaction time of the network is becoming real-time and the reliability is higher. This makes the Port of Rotterdam the first area in the Netherlands that is equipped according to 5G standards and therefore suitable for the latest video and augmented reality applications.

Joost Farwerck, COO and Member of the Management Board KPN: "In the industrial 5G Field Lab in the Port of Rotterdam, together with Shell and various partners, we investigate what value we can create with 5G. In addition to making business processes more efficient and increasing safety, the cooperation between the various parties that make the Netherlands stronger as a connected society is also very valuable." Jos van Winsen, General Manager Shell Pernis: "The port of Rotterdam is the perfect place for the industrial 5G Field Lab. We can achieve a lot in terms of reliability and efficiency with new digital technologies, helping to improve industry safety performance even more. Shell, KPN and other partners are therefore pleased to be at the forefront with this industrial 5G Field Lab in the Netherlands."

Abot the industrial 5G Field Lab in the Rotterdam Harbor

The 5G network at Shell Pernis is the largest Industrial 5G field lab in Europe and contributes to the ambition of the process industry in the port of Rotterdam to make the best and most flexible connected production network of Europe in 2021. Several partners work together, including KPN, Shell, Huawei, ExRobotics, Accenture, ABB, SPIE and the Port of Rotterdam. The first 5G applications that have been tested:

  • Mobile inspection robot connected to 5G The inspection process for gas leaks is critical to the security and safety of Shell Pernis. During tests a mobile inspection robot is connected to the 5G network resulting in a much more accurate and reliable remote control.
  • Perform critical inspections faster during large maintenance stops with 'smart 5G helmet' In case of a large turnaround, in which all production work on a part of Shell Pernis is shut down, it is important to carry out maintenance as efficiently and carefully as possible. For example, internal inspections of pressure vessels and storage tanks. During a test, maintenance personnel are equipped with a 5G smart helmet. The inspector can stay in touch via video and audio with experts and can immediately decide which repairs are needed. This shortens the total lead time of these critical inspections from a few days to a few hours.
  • More efficient industrial maintenance thanks to the use of augmented reality During testing engineers from Shell are equipped with an industrial tablet connected to 5G. Augmented reality information, such as temperature or pressure of the process installation, is added to the information on the tablet. This results in more efficient maintenance and moreover all processes are fully digitally recorded and shared with all relevant parties.
  • Predictive pipe maintenance thanks to 5G technology and machine learning At Shell Pernis tests are carried out with UHD cameras and the use of Machine Learning for preventive maintenance. This makes it possible to inspect approximately 160,000 km of pipelines very efficiently and accurately in order to pre-detect and execute necessary maintenance. This ensures inspection of all pipelines runs much faster and more efficiently and safety is further increased.