United Kingdom

Select your location

United Kingdom

The Essential Features of Smart Manufacturing


Smart manufacturing will realise the promise and potential of Industry 4.0. In many cases, a tipping point has been reached, where machine builders and manufacturers are actively engaged in implementing smart manufacturing systems.

Based on our experience in pilot projects in our own plants, we have identified seven essential features that are necessary for the implementation of Industry 4.0.

People as key players

Digital assistant functions and intelligent workplace design support people with production-related information and improved ergonomics, thereby increasing the level of individualisation of the work environment.


Bosch Rexroth provides numerous hardware and software solutions. This begins with assembly areas that can automatically identify workers and create a work environment that is tailored to them individually; show workers instructions that are oriented to their knowledge; and provide them with smart assembly tools and devices that are intuitive to operate.

Distributed Intelligence

Decentralised intelligent automation components with integrated software perform their tasks independently, according to the specifications of higher-level systems, and make autonomous decisions.


Bosch Rexroth is a pioneer of decentralised intelligence with intelligent electronic drives and motion controls for hydraulic drives. Distributed intelligence is a basic requirement for modular machines and flexible facilities that adjust themselves to changing market and manufacturing conditions.

Fast integration and flexible configuration

With Plug and Produce, people, machines, processes and the flow of goods are networked together on an ad hoc basis. Software tools simplify multiple smart manufacturing machine steps: commissioning, integration and (re)configuration, as well as preventive maintenance of all components, modules and machines.


Our Open Core Engineering includes all the software tools, function toolkits and open standards for efficient software engineering and rapid networking. Software wizards and tools support commissioning engineers, operators and maintenance technicians in their tasks and reduce complexity. Open Core Engineering enables users to work with their preferred development environment and programming languages from the IT world to maximise the efficiency and versatility of automation development.

Open standards

Open Standards that extend across manufacturers and are platform-independent form the basis for horizontal and vertical integration and thus for the seamless exchange of information in value-creation networks.


We have always supported open standards such as Sercos, IEC 61131-3, PLCopen or OPC UA. With multi-Ethernet interfaces and Open Core Engineering, Bosch Rexroth has completely opened up automation to the IT world.

Virtual real-time representation

All components and objects are represented as virtual real-time representations across the entire value creation process. These virtual elements are closely linked to their physical counterparts and provide in-context information for continuous process improvement in real-time.


Bosch Rexroth automation components and systems record all relevant data using their own software functions and sensors and exchange these via multi-Ethernet interfaces. Industry 4.0 solutions such as ActiveCockpit evaluate the relevant data and display it in real time. This provides operators and managers with a solid base of information for rapid process improvements as production proceeds.

Digital life-cycle management

The comprehensive networking of all automation components, machines, processes and product data — from development and production to recycling — decreases development time and therefore development costs, for both completely new smart manufacturing lines and upgrades to existing platforms. In addition, this also ensures the application-oriented design of all components.


Bosch Rexroth supports digital lifecycle management with model-based simulations for motion-logic systems. OEMs can validate and optimise the interaction between hardware and software in a virtual system in parallel or before machine assembly. They save time and can bring new designs to the market more quickly.

Security and safety for Industry 4.0 includes protecting people from machinery-related hazards (safety) as well as the protection of production facilities and corporate IT from attacks and faults from the surrounding environment (security). This involves securing sensitive data as well as the prevention of intentional and unintentional malfunctions.


Secure value-creation networks

Bosch Rexroth works with all relevant standardisation committees for security and is already implementing the most up-to-date technology. More and more of Bosch Rexroth's intelligent components and solutions have a forgery-proof digital identity — an important prerequisite for secure value creation networks.