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A CBRS spectrum based, private 5G network is powering the core operations of Toyota Material Handling, The US-based maker and distributor of industrial Forklifts , at its 200,000 square-foot (19,000 square-metre) plant in Columbus, Indiana.

The company said it has replaced its Wi-Fi network with private 5G since November last year, when the network was installed by US system integrator STEP. The company claimed it has seen improvements in productivity, delivery speed, and employee satisfaction across its indoor and outdoor facilities. Toyota Material Handling is a division of Toyota Industries, which is a subsidiary of the car giant Toyota. It produces and sells forklifts, tractors, and other aerial work platforms for the US industrial market. The private 5G network was designed by Ericsson and STEP in collaboration, according to a statement. They also partnered with “three major US carriers” to extend public 5G coverage to some areas of the site that were not covered by the private network. They said they worked on the “design, deployment, and rebroadcast agreements” to enable a “coverage extension” across the venue. As a result, Toyota Material Handling is using a mix of private and public 5G coverage at the site, depending on the criticality of the communications.

Ericsson said the private 5G network provides (“optimises”) connectivity for “worker comms, IoT-based predictive maintenance, fleet management, and telematics”, as well as “boosted network reliability and security”. The public 5G “extension”, delivered with US operators, delivers a further boost, it said. A statement said: “Toyota Material Handling plans to continue its Industry 4.0 transformation with private 5G… across other operational facilities.”