Posted on Nov 20, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.

While 5G continues to be debated, Lacroix Electronics has been testing this technology since mid-September with Orange Business Services at the scale of a plant, in this case that of Montrevault-sur-Evre (Maine-et-Loire). This industrial site manufactures electronic cards for the industrial sectors of health, defense, aeronautics, etc. The objective is to study around thirty use cases made possible by this bandwidth. At the end of 2021, the validated applications could be implemented in factory 4.0 Symbiosis under construction ten kilometers away, in Beaupréau-en-Mauges, which will replace the one in Montrevault for an investment of 25 million euros.

Orange has therefore deployed 4 indoor 5G Ericsson Dot antennas, supported by a virtualized network core, broadcasting experimental frequencies to the production space. First of all, Lacroix expects this technology to be able to permanently reconfigure the organization of islands and machines that place the components on the cards. “The idea is to make them move more easily in order to be able to reallocate flows according to the volumes and types of production which vary from day to day”, summarizes Stéphane Gervais, responsible for the group’s innovation strategy. The low latency and the security of the 5G communication offer the possibility of a digital twin capable of collecting all the upstream data (suppliers, stocks) while downstream, “We could let our customers know where their production is in real time”, he continues. Ultimately, dynamic guidance of AGVs, these autonomous trolleys supplying machines with components, is envisioned.

Machine learning

5G should also improve quality control by taking high-resolution photos to check welds and the presence of components. These shots can be combined with machine learning aimed at improving detection algorithms and thus ensure, in real time, that there are no errors in the batches. 5G will be used for the technical management of buildings. The use of components for aeronautics, for example, requires strict regulation of temperature and hygrometry. 5G allows a massification of sensors, up to 1 million per km2, which will ultimately enable the carbon footprint of each product to be calculated.

The project

Lacroix Electronics

Creation date : 1971

Executive Director General: Stephane Klajzyngier

Turnover: 317.7 million euros in 2019

Effective : 3,200 people

Sector: electronic