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Four trainees from warehouse logistics


Big data, machine learning, and IoT

As a doctoral candidate at Bosch Rexroth AG in the Homburg (Saar) production plant, I am conducting research into the production methods of the future. More specifically, I am looking into such topics as big data, machine learning, and the Internet of Things. All my work is focused on bringing production to the next level in terms of its efficiency and quality.

A doctorate with practical relevance

After completing my degree in industrial engineering, specializing in production engineering, at RWTH Aachen University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, I joined Bosch Rexroth AG as a doctoral candidate. I had already decided to complete my doctorate while I was writing my two master’s theses, and when working as a student assistant at a research institute. However, I also realized that my research would have to be practical and focused on an innovative subject.

I got to know Bosch Rexroth as an attractive employer at the Hannover Messe trade fair.

Portrait of a graduate

In my search for the right doctoral position in the industrial sector, Bosch Rexroth proved to be the perfect choice. I was already familiar with Bosch Rexroth AG from earlier visits to the Hannover Messe that had been organized for students. Thanks to the “Go for Hightech” event, I was able to find out more about the corporate culture and the products. I knew from a very early stage that I had found an excellent company. That is why I didn’t hesitate to accept the doctorate position, and I’ve never regretted making this decision.

Studying for my doctorate at Bosch Rexroth gives me a great deal of freedom. Yet there is always help at hand if I encounter any problems.

At Bosch Rexroth, I have a full three years to focus entirely on my doctorate. I am given virtually unlimited freedom to complete my work. This started with the identification of my doctorate subject and extends to how I structure my working day, and even to the selection of conferences for publications. Despite all this freedom, however, I am never left alone to deal with any problems I may encounter. In such cases, I can seek help and support from my colleagues and superiors, while the broad network of doctoral candidates at Bosch Rexroth AG and Robert Bosch GmbH is another valuable source of assistance. There is usually always another person to hand who is researching a similar subject, or I can turn to the relevant working groups. I also have an excellent relationship with my doctorate supervisor, and I can exchange ideas with the other doctoral candidates in my faculty.

A challenging environment that ensures a steep learning curve

My doctoral research focuses on the assessment of workpiece quality using machine learning on the basis of production data. While I was already well versed in the area of production technology, machine learning was still something of an unknown quantity for me. My doctoral work thus gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of the subject of machine learning. This required a great deal of personal commitment, but also brought with it a steep yet manageable learning curve. My daily work now involves developing an IT architecture, programming in Python, collaborating with students, and assisting with theses. The production expertise that I acquired during my studies remains crucial to the success of my dissertation. At the same time, our production technology is currently undergoing significant development, as a result of which I am able to expand my knowledge as a production engineer with additional skills in the area of IoT.

After just half of my doctoral research period, my colleagues in the plant were able to apply the first results to their daily work, thus allowing them to raise the efficiency of the machines.

The use of machine learning requires the existence of large volumes of data in order to train the algorithms, and a mass production plant provides the perfect conditions for this work. Of course, it’s not always easy to conduct research in a production environment, and this undertaking is associated with some challenges. However, the number of potential solutions more than justifies the effort, and the successes are clear to see.

Research results welcomed at international conferences

My work is also meeting with approval at international conferences and is well received by other scientists – most recently, for example, at a conference in Shanghai on sustainable production methods. Moreover, the internal Bosch PhD Conference, which is organized by the company’s doctoral candidates on an annual basis, offers the perfect platform for presenting your work to a broad audience comprising fellow PhD students, Bosch associates, and professors as well as to gain valuable feedback.

All work and no play ...

The doctorate student network not only organizes work meetings, but also arranges a whole host of recreational activities including nights out, soccer tournaments, skiing trips, company runs, and summer parties. The Bosch Rexroth doctorate students in particular come together every year to spend two days at a Rexroth location and take part in group activities.

I am both delighted and grateful for the opportunity to conduct my research in such a forward-thinking and innovative area, and that I am able to do this work in a real factory along with all the challenges that this brings. It offers a whole different setting to a test bed or demonstration factory that is far removed from everyday practice. As I am nearing the end of my doctoral research, I am particularly proud to see the results of my work integrated into daily production and to experience them first-hand. With all the knowledge and experience that I have acquired as part of an international company, I consider myself well equipped to face whatever the future may bring.

Your future starts now!

Working with Bosch Rexroth for your dissertation will help you to achieve the ultimate culmination of your studies.

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