Nokia and Orange deploy private network for Butachimie

Butachimie is a French chemical giant that makes adiponitrile and hexamethylenediamine, which in turn are used to make nylon 6.6, used in automotive manufacturing and performance fabrics. Both chemicals can be toxic to humans, and Butachimie prides itself on its safety record.

Digital transformation is a key part of Butachimie’s effort to increase efficiency while maintaining safety, and the backbone of the company’s digital transformation will be a private wireless network.

“Our digital transformation and modernization plan must meet very strict challenges in terms of security and availability,” said Cazabonne. He added that the private network was the right solution for Butachimie because it is “tailor-made” to suit the chemical company’s business needs.

Orange Business Services and Nokia are deploying the private network at Butachimie's Chalampé plant in Alsace, France. The network uses the 2.6 GHz TDD spectrum, which the French regulator Arcep has designated for mobile networks built to meet businesses’ specific needs.

Butachimie will connect factory equipment and assets to the network, which is expected to allow technicians to geolocate assets with pinpoint accuracy. Nokia supplies a dedicated core as well as RAN equipment, meaning that all network data stays onsite.

The companies said both the factory equipment and the data it generates will be visible on the network at all times, enabling the manufacturer to prevent failures and ensure continuous production.

“Thanks to Orange Business Services and Nokia, we are opening a new stage toward the development of our Factory of the Future by offering our employees a better on-site experience and by securing our performance and competitiveness in our sector,” said Stéphane Cazabonne, project director at Butachimie.

The French government has already started to plan for 5G in the 2.6 GHz spectrum, and the Butachimie private network is upgradable to 5G, the companies said.

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Denis de Drouâs, director of the private radio networks program at Orange Business Services, said that Butachimie chose a private network that is “totally independent from the public network,” but other manufacturers will select different solutions.

For example, Schneider Electric is using a hybrid model that combines private and public 4G and 5G infrastructure. The network uses Orange's commercial 5G frequencies in the 3.4-3.5GHz bands, but Schneider’s critical data is kept on its campus and can be used for low-latency, edge-based applications.

Orange slices its public network for enterprise customers as well, de Drouâs said. Commercial frequencies are used, and the private slice guarantees the customer a specific quality of service.