UScellular is contributing a private cellular network that includes 5G technology to expand the capabilities of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s manufacturing research facility, called the Connected Systems Institute (CSI).
With a private 5G wireless network, students, faculty and industry partners can securely work together to develop and test new solutions for smart manufacturing.
CSI is the state’s first comprehensive academic-industry consortium, focusing on technologies related to the data generated by the industrial Internet of Things (IIot).
The donation is supported with technology from Ericsson and Rockwell Automation.
The partners will investigate the use of 5G to address needs that require seamless connectivity.
The first uses that CSI will study include connecting manufacturing facilities with IIoT sensors, optimizing plant digital twins, improving augmented and virtual reality, and controlling autonomous robotics.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how our private cellular network can support additional growth and learning from the near real-time automation within the CSI lab,” said Kim Kerr, senior vice president, enterprise sales and operations, for UScellular. “This is an incredible opportunity to bring our wireless expertise in private cellular networks to advance the vision in smart manufacturing developed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Connected Systems Institute.”
UScellular is also providing content on the use of private cellular networks to enrich the Digital Manufacturing Leadership course developed by CSI. The digital manufacturing curriculum includes in-person training and classroom education around concepts of supply chain, the IIoT and smart manufacturing.
“The CSI plays a critical role in Wisconsin and beyond to accelerate innovation, develop a highly skilled workforce and drive economic growth,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “UScellular’s investment in CSI allows us to advance research and business use cases, while helping our students develop skill sets needed for Industry 4.0.”
The institute launched in November 2017 with a $1.7 million investment from Rockwell Automation. Currently, there are six CSI industry members – Rockwell Automation, Fortinet, UScellular, Brady Corp., Heartland Business Systems and Revere Electric. Another 11 companies are collaborators on various projects at the institute.