Ericsson picked Lewisville, Texas, as the location for a new $100 million 5G smart factory, its first in the U.S. The Swedish company will employ about 100 people at the 300,000-square-foot facility.
The automated plant is expected to open early next year and produce advanced antenna system radios for 5G deployments, the company said.
Using an innovative design, Ericsson claimed it will be up to 28% more energy efficient that comparable factories.
Ericsson will use its own 5G connectivity in the plant. The network will support automated warehouses, automated assembly, packing and product handling and autonomous carts.
Ericsson worked with state and local officials to bring the plant to Lewisville which is “an ideal location for this factory of the future,” said Niklas Heuveldop, president of Ericsson North America, in a statement. Lewisville Mayor Rudy Durham and Texas Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the plant’s arrival.
An Ericsson spokesman said the Lewisville plant will be built from the ground up and produce products that are focused on 5G for North America operators. Ericsson just opened another smart factory in Nanjing, China, that took an existing factory building and upgraded it to “smart” status over 18 months.
The Nanjing facility makes 5G and 4G radio technology mostly for service providers in China. There are no current plans for more smart Ericsson factories in the U.S., the spokesman said.
Ericsson is committed to rapidly increase demand for 5G in North America, the company said, and has opened a 5G ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, and AI innovation hubs in Santa Clara, California, and Montreal, Canada. Ericsson also has a D-Fifteen co-creation center in Santa Clara and a training facility in Lewisville. Ericsson produced the first 5G radios in the U.S. in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2018 with production partner Jabil. The company also has a new radio network software research center in Austin.
The Texas facility will help cut energy use and costs with technologies such as friction-free magnetic levitation chillers and thermal energy storage banks that hold ice made at night, which melts in the day to provide cooling. Ericsson also plans to install solar panels and large tanks to collect and reuse rainwater. It will be the first Ericsson factory globally with LEED Gold and LEED Zero Carbon certifications.