It’s been an eventful few years for the manufacturing industry, but it’s also been a testament to the industry’s resilience, ability to adapt to change and its willingness to embrace new technologies. If you want to find out where opportunity might lie this year, here are six key trends to watch out for in 2022.
Industry 4.0, which combines various digital technologies, is having a transformational effect on the manufacturing industry. It’s opened up all manner of possibilities, enabling machine performance to be optimized in real time and downtime to be minimized with predictive maintenance. Not just the privilege of large companies, SMEs can also benefit from these new digital developments, adopting them in incremental steps and making small changes to see large gains.
At Bosch Rexroth, digitalization has been a hot topic for some time. We’ve been incorporating software into more of our solutions and introducing more digitalized products to our portfolios – and this will continue to be the case throughout 2022. In the Factory of the Future, value streams are fully digitized. Hardware modules and functions are represented digitally in real-time. Software solutions collect and process data for analysis, which improves all processes across the value stream, increasing transparency, productivity and efficiency.
Meanwhile, our Connected Hydraulics team is continuing to develop software-based solutions. By shifting mechanical functions, such as pump controllers, to the software, costs are reduced, flexibility is increased and lead times are shortened. Customers’ systems will be connected and all kinds of possibilities for data analysis will open up, which will enhance performance and productivity. Likewise, we’re transforming mobile machines with digital solutions that offer greater connectivity, productivity and automation.
But digitalization isn’t only a fundamental part of our products and solutions. We’re also continuing to develop our online digital presence, providing software tools, digital online assistants and a B2B store available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you find the most suitable products and systems quickly and easily. As online purchasing continues to grow in popularity, developing e-commerce channels will be a big trend this year.
The fight against man-made climate change, the economical use of natural resources and the sustainable creation of global prosperity are globally recognized by people, companies, governments and the United Nations as an urgent priority. Afterall, it’s crucial that we hand over a planet worth living on to future generations.
At Bosch Rexroth, we’re taking a pragmatic approach, which has enormous potential to sustainably lower CO₂ emissions and reduce consumption. The experience gained from the conversion of our own plants towards climate neutrality has been incorporated into the development of our products and solutions, so not only are we reducing our own environmental impact but also that of our customers.
Our range of More and Less products gives customers and end users double the added value. Not only do they reduce negative environmental and social effects, they also help to increase profitability through higher productivity and flexibility. More and Less products are available in our Factory of the Future, Connected Hydraulics and Mobile Machines portfolios and this will continue to be one of our major focus areas throughout 2022.
As companies strive to meet environmental targets and social responsibilities, the need for electric solutions is intensifying. At Bosch Rexroth we understand this need, as well as the many other benefits that electrification can offer, so we’re including electrification as one of our big topics for 2022.
In a world where caring for the planet is becoming an increasingly pressing subject, cars aren’t the only vehicles that need to go electric. Off-highway vehicles – for instance construction equipment such as excavators, agricultural equipment such as tractors, and material handling equipment such as forklifts – can also benefit.
The mobile machines market is continuously looking to boost productivity and performance, to lower operational costs through efficiency and to reduce exhaust gas and noise emissions. In order to meet these requirements, we’ve developed our eLION solutions – a new 700V electric portfolio that enables mobile machine builders to realize electric vehicle architectures. The core elements of our new portfolio are high-voltage motor-generators and inverters, combined with our gear units and hydraulics, and complemented by software. The result is a highly efficient overall system, local zero emission operation and significant noise reduction.
In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that anyone doesn’t think that diversity in the workplace is a positive thing. Afterall, it gives companies access to a greater pool of talent with a wider range of opinions, skills and experience. This in turn gives businesses insight into the different needs and motivations of their customer base, rather than a small segment of it. And it helps them to be a more innovative business. In fact, a study by reveals that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation.
With around 29,600 people working for Bosch Rexroth in over 80 countries, we see our diversity as our advantage. But we also understand that we need to continue to work towards even greater diversity, and that’s why it’s an area of focus within our policy of cultural change. Our new Customer and Innovation Center in Ulm is a good example of how we’re putting it into practice. Here, employees from 18 countries, ranging from young talents to experienced specialists, are working together to share ideas and develop innovations that will benefit our customers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to algorithms with which IT systems independently learn, understand and act from experience. When combined with the trend towards the networking of machines and IT systems for the Internet of Things (IoT), the result is a powerful combination that will dramatically shape the world of automation – AIoT.
AIoT has the potential to automate activities previously carried out by people and to significantly increase the productivity of machines and factories. With AI, machines will better understand their environment and act accordingly.
But in order for this new technology to be accepted, it must be trustworthy. Purchasers and users must feel confident that it’s safe, technically robust, transparent, secure against cyber attacks and that humans retain ultimate control of the technology and the data. These are criteria that all our AIoT solutions meet. Bosch has also recognized this industry-wide challenge and is a co-initiator of the Digital Trust Forum, a global initiative that will develop and define the framework for trustworthy digital AIoT solutions.
At Bosch Rexroth, we’re already bringing the benefits of AI to our customers in a number of our solutions. For example, in our expert systems, such as the ctrlX Configurator, which helps designers to create the optimal design and configuration of a complete system solution. Also, in our Smart Item Picking solution: with the help of AI, the software recognizes the products to be grasped and works out how to pick it up smoothly.
A series of unprecedented events over the last few years have taken their toll on the manufacturing industry. A global trade war, a pandemic, labor shortages and shipping costs to name but a few. So it’s more important than ever that the companies that service the industry understand the difficulties their customers are facing and are on hand to provide high levels of service and availability where and when they need it.
With locations in over 80 countries, we have a global presence that ensures our experts are available locally for our customers. Additionally, we’re expanding our global footprint with local Certified Excellence (CE) Partners, making it even quicker and easier for customers to access our solutions, products and services. Certified to our own high standards, they’ll provide the same level of excellence and expertise as our own staff. Local partners complement our portfolio with their own services and products from other suppliers to offer a unique one-stop-shop experience.