Rami Al Ashqar, Bosch Rexroth Middle East

Rami Al Ashqar, Bosch Rexroth Middle East

Factory of the Future: Now, next & beyond

Bosch Rexroth explains what the company already offers (now) for connected factories, what solutions will soon be ready (next), and what it is developing for the future (beyond)

October 2018

Through the Factory of the Future, Bosch Rexroth is leading the way in demonstrating the potential of an automated future; a future in which manufacturers can easily adapt to changing trends, meet the demands of shorter lead times, produce customised products as required by consumers, and deliver, fast. In line with the slogan “Factory of the future. Now. Next. Beyond,” Bosch Rexroth explains what the company already offers (now) for connected factories, what solutions will soon be ready (next), and what it is developing for the future (beyond).

Rami Al Ashqar, business development manager at Bosch Rexroth Middle East explains the concept.


What is the difference between Industry 4.0 and the factory of the future?

The design of an Industry 4.0 was an important initial spark. A starting point for the industry to address the challenges of digital transformation. There is still a lot to be done after six years. Especially when developing standards.

As users and providers of solutions for industry 4.0, Bosch and Bosch Rexroth have meanwhile developed a concrete idea of what properties the factory of the future must have. It is not only about what will be technically possible but how the customer’s needs can best be met. From the digital configuration of the end product to the fully digitised value stream, fully networked machines and systems will produce large series and individual items in a highly flexible manner, setting new standards in the cost-benefit ratio.


Why Now, Next & Beyond?

Anyone who develops products and technologies today needs a clear idea of what customers will demand in the future and what can drive the necessary factory of the future. We already offer numerous solutions that can be integrated into current concepts of the smart factory or help to network existing plants and machines.

Numerous products and solutions are in the development pipeline and marketing initiatives will begin in the next months and years. They provide our customers with important orientation aids in the current development of new machines and show end customers possibilities that they can specify. In advance development, we also deal with technology trends that define the framework conditions for future product generations.


What do Bosch and Bosch Rexroth offer for the factory of the future?

As a leading supplier, the Bosch Rexroth portfolio comprises decentralised intelligent automation solutions for horizontal and vertical networking of machines and systems based on open communication standards. Intelligent hydraulics give Bosch Rexroth all the physical advantages of fluid technology, even in networkable applications. In assembly technology, intelligent solutions link real process steps with the virtual world of software. In linear technology, sensors directly at the point of motion open up new possibilities for condition monitoring and process improvement. All solutions support perspective embedded, edge and cloud-based applications and decouple hardware from software. They enable new business models that reflect the shift from ownership of means of production to pay-per-use models.

Bosch offers software and services for a transparent, networked, and efficient value stream. The Nexeed portfolio links the entire value stream and includes real-time services for production and logistics. All solutions serve to increase the transparency, efficiency, agility and flexibility of our customers.


What are the core messages of the factory of the future?

Four messages sum up the characteristics and advantages of the factory of the future: Connect Your Factory; Digitalise Your Value Stream; Maximise Your Flexibility; and Add Value with Digital Business Models.

Stepping into the Factory of the Future with Bosch Rexroth

Stepping into the Factory of the Future with Bosch Rexroth

 Connect Your Factory: In the Factory of the Future from field level to cloud based IT systems everything is connected. Automation solutions fit into this environment only with open standards but must be easy to (re)configure, encompass predefined app-based functions but open up at the same time the highest degree of freedom to adopt them to the special needs.

Bosch Rexroth simplifies the networking of complete factories through open interfaces and the electrification of all drive technologies. The intelligent components and system solutions support all relevant real-time Ethernet protocols and OPC UA. Bosch and Bosch Rexroth have already implemented more than 100 projects around the factory of the future in their own plants. All the solutions Bosch and Bosch Rexroth offer for the factory of the future have already proven themselves in their own plants.

Bosch and Bosch Rexroth offer complete solutions from sensors to components and system solutions of all automation technologies and software from a single source. They cover the entire value stream and internal logistics. A list of products, solutions and services here:

We use open standards wherever possible. We currently support all common Ethernet protocols with the Multi-Ethernet interface in electric and hydraulic drives as well as our controls. In hydraulics, with IO-Link we also offer a very inexpensive networking of analog valves and sensors.

The open standard OPC UA with the real-time extension Time Sensitive Network (TSN) is becoming increasingly important. Most of our controls and drives already have OPC UA capabilities. OPC Unified Architecture, shortly OPC UA, is an industrial M2M-communication protocol. In just a few years› time, the new 5G mobile communications standard will provide sufficient bandwidth and robustness to wirelessly transmit the entire machine-to-machine communication.


What role does security play?

Security, the protection of data, is one of the most important challenges. Our solutions meet the strict security requirements of the Bosch Group. These are constantly evolving. Security standards are therefore not an actual status, but a continuous process. There can therefore never be absolute security. However, this must not be an excuse not to concentrate intensively on the factory of the future. No company can afford to do its administrative work with typewriters for fear of hacker attacks.


Does connectivity only affect automation?

No, all components of a production can be networked. Even purely mechanical components such as the machine bed can be equipped with sensors. The only thing that will not be networked with everything in the factory of the future are the floor, the walls and a roof.


What is Digitalise Your Value Stream all about?

In the Factory of the Future value streams are fully digitised. All hardware modules and functions are represented digitally in real-time. Sophisticated software solutions collect, transfer and process data from manufacturing and logistics to analyse, simulate and improve all processes across the value stream – from procurement (source) via production (make) right through to the customer (deliver). The ultimate goal is to increase transparency, productivity and efficiency. The end user can decide if data processing will happen in embedded systems, edge or cloud-based.


What happens to older machines?

With our IoT Gateway software we also network installed machines and make their condition digitally visible with the help of sensors. This allows users to record operating states online with very little effort and significantly increase availability.

In complex processes, networking even increases transparency and helps to maintain an overview. With the Device Portal we enable the central administration of all IoT devices of a user. At the click of a mouse, it can simultaneously install function and security updates worldwide, remotely diagnose each individual device or evaluate the availabilities.

While production through networked production systems already has a high degree of transparency, logistics is often still a black box. With Nexeed software solutions, Bosch is creating a level of transparency comparable to manufacturing for the first time. Nexeed always locates the position of the goods and monitors their environmental conditions. In the future, intralogistics will also grow ever closer to assembly technology. A demand-dependent material supply helps to eliminate interim storage facilities that were previously necessary in production. This lowers inventories and frees up valuable space on the shop floor.


What does embedded, edge/fog and cloud-based mean to us?

Depending on the application and individual strategy, end users will process their data at different levels. Our software works equally on all hardware platforms and thus offers users maximum flexibility. With Embedded, the data required for the process is processed on site in the controller. At Edge/Fog, computers in the physical vicinity of the production facilities take over. This makes sense, for example, where there is not enough bandwidth for high data volumes. Cloud-based refers to processing in data centers that can be located anywhere in the world.


Maximise Your Flexibility: What is this about?

The Factory of the Future sets the stage for increasing productivity in serial production and is prepared to manufacture even smallest lots economically. Therefore the equipment is based on production modules which can easily be (re)configured to fast changing requirements, decoupling hardware and software. Power supply and communication of these modules will be wireless without central cabinets.

With drive technology without control cabinets and software-based control technology, we already offer the entry into a new dimension of modularisation and flexibility. With ActiveAssist, we support our employees in assembly technology up to batch sizes of 1. assembly lines equipped by Bosch Rexroth are already highly flexible and can be regrouped very quickly. All components and systems are interoperable across hierarchical levels. This guarantees maximum flexibility in (re)configuration of the equipment and plug & work functionalities. Pay-per-use models will further increase flexibility in the future.

The transfer of functions to the software is crucial. Bosch Rexroth is driving them forward massively in all divisions, thereby increasing the independence of our customers and end users from hardware. At the same time, we simplify the handling of software. For example, software wizards suggest suitable parameters when commissioning hydraulic axes. This means that even inexperienced technicians can quickly achieve stable results.

We have a unique wealth of experience from the 270 plants of the Bosch Group. Here, the solutions from Bosch Rexroth and the other Bosch divisions are proving their worth in day-to-day business. In addition, we can combine a wide variety of domain knowledge internally. Take ActiveShuttle, for example: it will be the first vehicle to travel autonomously according to Level 5 for internal goods transport. It does not require any ground markings and will comply with all accident regulations. In combination with Nexeed software solutions for intralogistics, ActiveShuttle will replace the previously necessary intermediate warehouses, supermarkets and milk runs.


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