Rutgers University to Research 6G for Smart Manufacturing

October 4, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives

The Rutgers University in New Jersey will carry out a project to develop the NextG-enabled manufacturing (NextGEM) research framework and explore how 6G can benefit industries in the next decade.

According to the university, other goals include an open-access NextGEM cyberinfrastructure and use-inspired testbeds to enable and demonstrate transformative manufacturing capabilities.

The NextGEM will receive nearly $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and last an estimated four years – between June 2024 and May 2028.

“The outcome of this project will not only advance the knowledge base of ultra-low latency manufacturing but also translate the enabling technologies into broad practice,” the researchers said in the initiative’s description.

“The created knowledge, methods, and tools will transform a wide spectrum of latency-critical manufacturing sectors and other industries with similar challenges to realise significant business values such as improved operation efficiencies, reduced defects, and emerging new business models to drive growth,” the document reads.

6G Goals

The 6G project, which will be built upon a trial 5G-enabled manufacturing platform at Rutgers, will focus on four areas:

  • Create a NextGEM research framework to generate the knowledge of future manufacturing enabled by the new capabilities of NextG-enabled real-time sensing and communication, dynamics-informed meta-learning, and plug-and-play edge control.
  • Create an open-access NextGEM cyberinfrastructure to provide the testbed, data, and software services for the end-user community to access, interoperate, and reuse.
  • Facilitate education and workforce development to nurture and grow the next generation of talent to strengthen the global U.S. leadership in Industry 4.0.
  • Engage the diverse stakeholders to form a public-private innovation ecosystem to advance the knowledge base and develop enabling technologies for NextGEM.

“Future smart manufacturing should be flexible, versatile, scalable, modular, and plug-and-play in contrast to the conventional static sequential manufacturing paradigm,” the researchers pointed out, adding that the current long end-to-end latency, limited flexibility, and the lack of computational intelligence in shop floors impose critical barriers.

“The advent of 5G and future 6G wireless communication holds the key to overcome these challenging barriers and reshape future manufacturing fundamentally.”

Rutgers’ NextGEM is one of ten research and 11 seed grants NSF announced in late September. The American agency distributed $35 million altogether.

Beyond the 6G project, the other initiatives focus on three areas:

  • Biomanufacturing research that harnesses biology and integrates biological materials in manufacturing.
  • Cyber-manufacturing research that transforms the predictability, security, reliability, and efficiency of manufacturing.
  • Eco-manufacturing research that redesigns entire manufacturing lifecycles and supply chains for sustainability.

The announcement coincides with Manufacturing Day, which is celebrated on the first Friday in October.

Featured image by WorldSkills UK

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