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Strategies and best practices for implementing Private 5G in PLC-driven manufacturing

Programmable Logic Controller (PLCs), those ruggedly designed industrial computers built to withstand the conditions of an industrial environment, have been a fixture and instrumental in manufacturing automation since the 1970s.

Today, PLCs have become the central nervous system of manufacturing operations, connecting all the sensors, controllers and orchestrating the sequence of operations and ensuring process integrity. Traditionally, due to the high reliability and low latency requirements needed for real-time control, all connections to the PLC go over a wired network usually Ethernet-based, or utilizing fieldbus systems like Modbus or PROFIBUS. While wired networks deliver the performance required, connecting new machines and mobile equipment to the PLC network becomes a challenging and expensive activity. Unfortunately, legacy wireless connectivity such as Wi-Fi fail to provide the reliability and consistent low latency required for PLC connectivity.

Which brings us to the next gen of network connectivity whose uptake is surging in harsh industrial environments – Private 5G LAN.

Just as PLCs are made for rugged environments, so too is Private 5G LAN. The pervasive connectivity, reliability, low-latency and robustness of 5G LAN in industrial environments makes Private 5G and PLCs an ideal pairing.

Celona’s newly released paper, Untethering PLCs in industrial manufacturing with Private 5G, explores the synergies between these two technologies and how they support an agile approach to manufacturing operations. It covers the many challenges of Wi-Fi and wired connectivity in industrial settings and their impact on PLCs, and what PLC operations look like with Private 5G.

You can access the full report here, or read on to learn the high-level benefits of this powerful duo.

Real-time precision

Private 5G solutions provide critical low-latency and high-speed connectivity for real-time control and decision-making - enabling PLCs to operate at their full potential, without delay or interruption.

Mobility and flexibility

Private 5G LAN supports the mobility and flexibility needed in agile manufacturing operations. Unlike wired networks, which restrict the placement and movement of equipment, Private 5G is untethered. You can easily reconfigure production lines and integrate mobile robotics without having to spend a fortune on complex (re)wiring.

Data integration

When PLCs utilise ultra-reliable and low-latency Private 5G networks, they are able to seamlessly integrate with other industrial IoT devices. Real-time monitoring is enhanced, leading to, for example, improved predictive maintenance and operational efficiency, while the data-centric insights support a more agile and responsive manufacturing environment.

Robust security

Private 5G LAN offers robust security measures including strong device-level identification and authentication, plus app-level segmentation. They also provide enterprises with the tools to address strict compliance requirements including support for zero-trust strategies with APIs for extensibility and integration.

MicroSlicing™ by Celona

MicroSlicing™ is a unique and patented technology developed by Celona that creates virtually isolated zero-trust networks within the same physical infrastructure, establishing dedicated lanes for critical communications. Such segmentation ensures reliable, low-latency service level agreements (SLAs) for manufacturing-critical PLC traffic.

The paper expands on the many benefits of Celona's Private 5G technology for PLCs in high-stakes industrial operations, and also covers:

  • Detailed comparisons with Wi-Fi
  • Deployment in greenfield versus brownfield
  • The role of industrial mobile gateways and routers
  • A network performance evaluation of PLCs for a leading medical manufacturer

On-Demand Demo

Access Untethering PLCs in industrial manufacturing with Private 5G

See a Celona 5G LAN in action and learn the basics

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