Stuttgart – Digitalization and connectivity are transforming manufacturing at breakneck speed. Connected production lines permanently monitor their own condition and warn experts before breakdowns. Robots are collaborating ever closer with workers in manufacturing and logistics, boosting productivity. In Germany alone, McKinsey forecasts a revenue potential of just under 9 billion euros in the digitalization of manufacturing by 2020. The greatest potential in the long term is not only in hardware or device connectivity, but also in smart software – the essential enabler of internet of things applications. Bosch has made structural changes in a bid to continue growing in the software business as well: at the beginning of January 2018, a new operating unit, Bosch Connected Industry, began operations with 500 associates in Germany, Hungary, and China. Bosch is pooling all its Industry 4.0 activities in this new unit, including the fields of software and services. “We want to make the most of the potential inherent in connected industry, which means we need to assemble the best possible team,” says Bosch board of management member Dr. Stefan Hartung, whose responsibilities include manufacturing coordinating and, in turn, Industry 4.0. By 2020, the Bosch Group aims to generate more than a billion euros with Industry 4.0.
Connectivity throughout the value chain
Bosch’s Connected Industry unit has a clear objective: to support customers in connecting the value chain from end to end. The portfolio of software allows companies an entry point into the connected factory that is tailored to their needs, from starter kits and retrofit solutions to the complete package. That means that individual lines can be combined, and factories and plant networks, including their internal and external logistics, interconnected. A variety of apps and software solutions support workers in their daily tasks. Relevant manufacturing data are more quickly accessible using mobile devices, which ultimately leads to greater machine availability in production. Internal transport processes and flows of goods outside the company can be seamlessly monitored and traced back. Workers are kept permanently informed of the location, condition, and delivery time of goods. The result is increased productivity and agility, which boosts competitiveness.
Dr. Stefan Aßmann heads new unit
The Bosch engineer Dr. Stefan Aßmann is the head of the new operating unit. His previous positions at Bosch include plant manager both in Germany and abroad, and head of internal special-purpose machinery. Under his leadership, numerous Industry 4.0 solutions have already been commercialized, including the automated production assistant APAS, for example. This “robotic arm” is the first assistance system used in manufacturing that humans can work alongside without any additional protective equipment. Aßmann reports directly to Bosch management board member Hartung.
Advisors help businesses enter the Industry 4.0 age
As they seek to transition to connected manufacturing, many companies are faced with the question of which solution is best suited for their specific needs. For instance, how can machines be interconnected in a manufacturing environment that has grown organically over decades? The newly established Bosch Industry Consulting unit provides the answers. The aim is to assist businesses and their employees along the path to a transparent, efficient, and connected factory. In this context, Bosch can draw on its extensive experience as leading user and leading supplier of Industry 4.0 solutions.