With the opening of the second building, our Customer and Innovation Center in Ulm now brings together all our expertise in factory automation, industrial hydraulics and mobile machines at one site. Named CU.BE, which stands for CUstomer BEnefits, the new building reflects our drive to create a customer-focused experience, customer-facing solutions, and a space where you can come face-to-face with current and future innovations.
As well as serving as a central point of contact for customers, users, partners and our employees, CU.BE is a place where we can work collaboratively, exchange ideas and make plans for new projects – always keeping customer benefits at the heart of what we do. The Bosch Rexroth Academy is now based at the venue too, providing customers and users with training and education in all our technologies and areas of expertise.
Split across two buildings, the Customer and Innovation Center includes CU.BE and the Innovation Lab, both of which house laboratories, workshop areas, offices, seminar and training rooms, and an exhibition space. Outdoors, there’s a 10,000m² area called TechPark, which is dedicated to mobile machines. A strip of rough terrain is available for earthmoving work as well as agricultural tests and demonstrations.
The complex has been built in an environmentally friendly manner, in accordance with the latest standards. CU.BE has a low CO₂ energy supply, as well as a photovoltaic system on the green roof to make the most of solar power, and wall panels made of renewable building materials. Thanks to their open architecture, the buildings’ control systems are ready for further measures to increase energy efficiency and conserve resources during operation.
CU.BE gives you a "One Bosch Rexroth" experience, with numerous exhibits, components and system solutions providing an up-to-date overview of all our technologies in one place. Demonstrators and prototypes provide a glimpse of innovations and disruptive developments at an early stage, so you’ll get valuable insight into upcoming trends.
Our vision of the Factory of the Future is brought to life in the Model Factory, also housed within CU.BE. Using specific use cases and a real production scenario, including intralogistics, we showcase our powerful, yet workable, portfolio – to give you a real sense of what manufacturing will look like in the future.
Meanwhile, for mobile machines, the TechPark provides a high-performance test bench dedicated to electrification, workshops for retrofitting mobile machines, and a training center, as well as a test track and area where typical work tasks can be carried out.
Customers can either visit the center by appointment or at one of our events, such as our Tech Days, hackathons and trade fairs. If you can’t visit the center in person, digital options are available.
With the opening of CU.BE, the center will become one of the main locations for the Bosch Rexroth Academy, offering a state-of-the-art venue for the training and further education of technical specialists and managers. The range of training available includes technology-specific courses, as well as wider topics like energy efficiency, the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and machine safety. The training rooms are equipped with all the relevant systems, but courses can be carried out on site, in a hybrid format or completely digitally.
The Innovation Lab serves as a place to focus our expertise in software solutions and the digitalization of all our technologies. Developers from different divisions share their knowledge in agile teams, while also collaborating with customers, business partners, start-ups and experts from the scientific community. By working closely together from the outset, we’re able to rapidly develop holistic, innovative, customer-facing solutions.
Disruptive developments start with minimum viable products (MVP), which users can provide immediate feedback on, in order that their feedback can be incorporated into the functionalities. Prototypes and demonstrators then enable developers and customers to test the actual functions with current products at an early stage. This means that we can swiftly develop innovative new solutions, which focus on the needs of our customers.
For a number of years, we’ve been driving cultural change within our business – towards more diversity, a greater willingness to change, customer centricity and the use of agile methods. Our CU.BE. will not only act as a home for innovation but also as an "incubator" for our forward-looking working culture. An aim of the center is to establish international networks made up of people from different divisions and encourage project-oriented working – so there are more workstations than needed, enabling employees to choose their workspace according to their team requirements each day.
As well as being built in an environmentally friendly manner, the center also has other important climate related benefits. One of the key areas we’ll be focusing on at the Innovation Lab is the development of solutions that will enable customers and users to improve their energy efficiency and conserve resources.
An example of this is mobile machines. The new facilities are enabling us to work with customers to provide electrification solutions for off-highway vehicles, such as construction and agricultural vehicles. Factory automation is another example, and this is demonstrated in our Model Factory. Because the Factory of the Future will be so flexible, fewer factories will be needed, which will clearly have environmental benefits. Re-using components and solutions will also help to use resources efficiently.
Digitalization is an issue that spans all our technologies and is an important focus for our developers at the Innovation Lab. We’re driving forward the electrification and digitalization of hydraulic solutions to further increase the energy efficiency and productivity of fluid technology.
Meanwhile, the Model Factory is completely digitalized and has digital twins, not just for the individual solutions but for the production lines too. The Internet of Things is also playing an increasingly important role in mobile machines, be it in updating subsystems or providing diagnosis remotely. At our new center in Ulm, we’re able to install new technologies in real vehicles and optimize them together with OEMs.
The more complex and versatile technology becomes, the more important it is to make things easy. In the Model Factory, we’re turning the Plug & Produce promise into an achievable reality. Components, modules, subsystems and system solutions identify themselves, recognize their tasks and are ready for use at the touch of a finger. In fact, the Model Factory can already be operated with a tablet PC.
Robotics is playing an increasingly important role in factory automation, helping and working alongside people. In the Robotics Lab at the Customer and Innovation Center, we’re collaborating with our customers to deliver the next generation of robots. The aim is to develop programming-free robots for various tasks, whilst ensuring safe operation in all situations. The developers are also tasked with innovatively linking robotics and image processing systems.
Artificial intelligence and data analytics are key technologies of the future, and we have a dedicated area for this at the Innovation Lab. Our experts’ focus is on real world applications, such as our use of artificial intelligence in welding technology for in-situ monitoring of welding procedures and adaptive control in conjunction with cloud connection. This will enable users in the automotive industry to achieve measurable improvements in quality assurance and productivity.
Services, including maintenance and servicing, have a huge impact on the performance and cost-effectiveness of machines. So, in Ulm, our service experts are exploring the growing potential of digital services – the customer touchpoints of the future. This also involves the integration of new services into existing structures or setting up remote shop floor access, in order to guide employees through monitoring and maintenance processes.
As with everything at our CU.BE, the focus is on exploring technologies, using our cross-divisional expertise and finding the best ways to create innovative solutions with real CUstomer BEnefits.