Swedish telecom giant Ericsson announced it has chosen Lewisville for its new 300,000-square-foot, fully automated smart “Factory of the Future,” where it plans to produce 5G and Advanced Antenna System radios, according to a statement.
Ericsson expects its products will boost network capacity and coverage to meet the demand for rapid 5G deployment across North America. With the Ericsson North America headquarters in Plano, the new factory—announced in June—will broaden Ericsson’s presence in North Texas. It’s the company’s first 5G smart factory in the United States.
The smart factory will begin commercial operations early next year, and will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment, according to a statement. The term 5G stands for the fifth generation of cellular network technology.
Roughly 100 people will initially be employed at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a flexible production setup enabling quick developments of 5G equipment. Ericsson’s direct investment in the factory is about $100 million.
At the facility, fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable quick operations and flexible production, according to a statement.
The company’s 5G industrial solutions include automated warehouses, connected logistics, automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts.
Ericsson worked in close partnership with city, county, and state officials to bring economic development and jobs to the region and state.
“Lewisville is very honored to be home to Ericsson’s 5G radio ‘Factory of the Future,’” Lewisville Mayor Rudy Durham said in a statement. “As one of the largest providers of information and communication technology in the world, Ericsson has consistently delivered innovative and sustainable products and services.”
Durham went on to say, “Innovation and sustainability are also key priorities for the Lewisville community and our vision for the future. We look forward to our partnership.”
Ericsson’s new factory expects to help accelerate 5G innovations
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott noted that he’s proud Ericsson chose the Lone Star State for this endeavor.
“From manufacturing to technology, the Texas economy is firing on all cylinders thanks to investments of world class companies like Ericsson,” Abbott said in a statement.
Ericsson’s Lewisville factory, combined with other strategic investments in North America, are expected to accelerate 5G innovations and develop the ecosystem around Industry 4.0 in the region.
Industry 4.0 is a term that describes the significant transformation in how we produce products because of the digitization of manufacturing.
The company believes combining 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning will create an ecosystem that develops innovation and technology leadership to drive the rapid deployment and adoption of 5G in the United States.
Lewisville factory called a symbol of Ericsson’s 5G commitment
Ericsson said the Lewisville factory is an example of its commitment to the rapidly increasing demand for 5G in North America.
In the past two years, Ericsson has made significant investments in the region, including:
- Opening a 5G ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, to help accelerate 5G product development
- Creation of Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator innovation hubs in Santa Clara, California and Montreal, Canada, to speed up adoption of AI and machine learning advancements
- Launch of D-Fifteen in Santa Clara, California, a new co-creation center in Silicon Valley for industrial partners and service providers to drive the next industrial revolution, powered by 5G, IoT, and AI
- Opening Ericsson’s Center of Excellence training facility in Lewisville to attract, train, and develop industry-leading tower climbers and field services staff
- Production of the first 5G radios in the U.S., with a production partner in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2018
- Establishment of a new radio network software R&D center in Austin
“We continue to increase our investments in the U.S., so that we can more rapidly respond to customer demands, accelerating our pace of innovation and time to market for critical new products,” Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America, said in a statement. “Lewisville is an ideal location for this factory of the future, demonstrating how 5G, IoT and AI will transform industries, leading the way for increased investments in smaller, nearshore manufacturing sites with unique mass customization capabilities and significant positive impact on sustainability and customer experience.”
The company said it is investing in innovative technologies to reduce energy costs and consumption, such as friction-free magnetic levitation chillers and thermal energy storage banks that hold ice made at night, which is melted during the day to provide cooling. The Lewisville factory is designed to be up to 28 percent more energy efficient that comparable buildings, which Ericsson said reflects its commitment to creating a positive sustainability impact.
Ericsson also plans to install solar panels to generate onsite renewable energy and will install 26,000-gallon tanks for rainwater capture and reuse.
Ericsson is pursuing LEED Gold and LEED Zero Carbon certifications for the Lewisville factory. It would be the first Ericsson factory globally to achieve that distinction, according to a statement.
The company is expanding its production capabilities across the globe, also announcing this month that its smart factory in Nanjing, China, has opened where it produces 5G and 4G radio technology products.
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