Sep. 28, 2020
Commencement of Local 5G Pilot Experiment at Production Site
Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) will commence in January 2021 a pilot experiment on local fifth-generation mobile communication system (5G) (hereinafter, “Pilot Experiment”) at the Osaka Factory of Summit Steel Co., Ltd., which is a subsidiary of the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Sumitomo Corporation Global Metals Co., Ltd. The Pilot Experiment was selected on September 16, 2020 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) as a consignment project involving the investigation/examination of technological conditions for local 5G at manufacturing plants (automation of visual inspections and remote verification of quality) in connection with its FY2020 Development Demonstrations for Realizing Local 5G to Solve Local Issues.
5G is a next-generation telecommunications technology that enables ultra-high-speed and ultra-low-latency simultaneous connections with massive numbers of devices. Local 5G is an area-limited 5G wireless communication system operated by a local government, a company, or other bodies. Allowing systems to be built flexibly in line with the diverse needs of a specific area or industry, local 5G is anticipated to solve a wide range of industrial and regional problems. MIC formulated the guidelines for the establishment of local 5G systems in December 2019, and the spectrum for local 5G is slated to be expanded to new bands such as 4.6 to 4.9 GHz.
Production sites in Japan have been faced with a range of issues in recent years, including shortages of general workforce and skilled engineers resulting from the nation’s population ageing and low birth rate and work environment risks that need to be rectified. Local 5G is drawing increasing attention as an essential infrastructure for solving such issues by automating and enhancing the efficiency of operations.
Under this Pilot Experiment to be implemented in a local 5G environment built at the Osaka Factory of Summit Steel, an automated visual inspection based on AI analysis and remote quality verification based on high-definition video transmission will be tested. A validity verification of the results and a performance assessment of the local 5G will be performed, after which issues will be identified and solutions will be discussed. The experiment results will also be analyzed with the aim of spreading the use of local 5G for similar purposes.
The Pilot Experiment will be based on a consignment contract concluded between Sumitomo Corporation and MIC, under which the Company will be entrusted to oversee the entire project. Support will be provided by Sumitomo Corporation Global Metals, which has extensive expertise in improving plant operations; Sumitomo Shoji Machinex Co., Ltd., which has around 1,700 business partners in the manufacturing sector; Grape One Co., Ltd., which will provide the local 5G system; and other related parties including municipalities. In partnerships with the Osaka City Government and the Osaka Business Development Agency, the results of the Pilot Experiment will be shared with local corporations that seek to find solutions for their problems by using local 5G. Furthermore, Sumitomo Corporation will strive to disseminate the scheme more broadly among companies experiencing similar issues as well as other regions and fields.
Sumitomo Corporation obtained an experimental radio station license for local 5G in June 2019 and has carried out Japan’s first pilot experiment on local 5G. In December of the same year, the Company established Grape One to develop its wireless platform business using local 5G in an effort to popularize the area-limited communications system. Sumitomo Corporation will leverage the knowledge gained through the Pilot Experiment to help solve local issues and promote regional revitalization, while spurring digital transformation broadly across industrial sectors.
■Summit Steel Osaka Factory
■Pilot Experiment partners
Summit Steel Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation Global Metals Co., Ltd.,
Sumitomo Shoji Machinex Co., Ltd., Grape One Co., Ltd., Fujitsu Network Solutions Limited,
Hacosco Inc., Hutzper Inc., CHUO ELECTRIC WORKS LTD., Osaka City Government, Osaka Business Development Agency, Professor Hiroshi Harada of Kyoto University, Nakanishi Metal Works Co., Ltd., Ikuno Kinzoku Co., Ltd., Showa System Co., Ltd.
■Outline of Grape One
|Company name||:||Grape One Co., Ltd.|
|Description of business||:||Local 5G service platform business
Regional broadband wireless access (regional BWA) service platform business
Operation, maintenance, and sale of terminals and base station equipment compatible with local 5G and regional BWA
■Sumitomo Corporation’s Material Issues
Sumitomo Corporation Group positions “Six Material Issues to Achieve Sustainable Growth with Society” as an important factor in developing business strategies and in the decision-making process for individual businesses. Going forward, we will pursue sustainable growth by resolving these issues through our business activities. This Project especially contributes to “Contributing to the Development of Local Communities and Industries” and “Providing Diverse “Accessibility””.