, 2017-04-25

Bosch Rexroth Promotes Networked Production

The supplier for the mechanical engineering industry relies on technical differentiation, synergies within the Bosch Group and new product developments

  • Incoming orders increase in 2017 thanks to strategic restructuring measures
  • Growth in mobile hydraulics and factory automation nearly compensates for the market slump of resource-related industries
  • Considerable investments in R&D enable new Industry 4.0 solutions

Lohr/Hanover. Over the past year, Bosch Rexroth has nearly been able to offset the sharp declines of resource-related industries, thanks to market share gains in mobile applications and factory automation. “Considering the very difficult situation around the world, we held our ground in 2016, with a 2.5 percent decline in sales to EUR 5 billion, and we were able to meet our targets with this result,” said Rolf Najork, Chairman of the Executive Board at Bosch Rexroth AG. “With new product developments and improved market access, we plan to significantly increase our sales revenue in 2017,” announced Najork, also pointing out that incoming orders increased by 3.7 percent in 2016 compared with the same period of the previous year. “It is clear that this encouraging rise in incoming orders will continue in 2017.”

Mining, metallurgy, oil and oil production: Industries dependent on natural resources scaled down their capital expenditures to a considerable degree again in 2016. This decline of key industries for Bosch Rexroth was imminent – the company had already drawn attention to this trend at the annual press conference in 2016. “We have successfully concentrated on balancing out to a large extent the negative trend in the industrial hydraulics sector thanks to market share gains in mobile applications and industrial automation,” explained Najork. In addition, the supplier for the mechanical and plant engineering industry, with approximately 29,500 employees worldwide, is restructuring. “We rely on technical differentiation to set ourselves apart from the competition, as well as synergies within the Bosch Group and new products and services,” emphasized the chairman.

Investments in R&D clearly above industry average

Despite the difficult economic climate, Bosch Rexroth invested more than EUR 100 million during the reporting year, primarily in networking its production facilities. “In the previous year, we invested an additional EUR 330 million in developing new products and solutions, and, with an R&D ratio of 6.5 percent, we are once again clearly above the industry average of 3.7 percent,” affirmed Najork. “Thanks to our comprehensive expertise, our customers benefit from technical capabilities that others just can’t provide.” This is the primary reason why Bosch Rexroth received a major order from Meyer Werft in 2016, with the contract to furnish its cruise ships with stage technology running until 2023. With help from Bosch Rexroth, the Italy-based Palmieri Group designed an eight-and-a-half meter mountain saw , which the Italian road construction company Ghella S.p.A. used to widen the Montedomini Tunnel from two to three lanes – without disrupting the flow of traffic on the Italian Autostrada Adriatica.

New high-voltage drives in mobile technology

For decades the company has been developing and producing high-performance electric drives for the mechanical engineering industry. Based on this technology, specialists from Bosch Rexroth and other Bosch divisions are now also developing solutions for the electric drive systems of mobile machinery, such as tractors and construction vehicles with a voltage supply of 700 volts. “We adapt the existing electrical components and, as a system partner, we work closely with the manufacturers of such vehicles to achieve complete electrification of the drive systems,” said Najork, describing the state of the technology.

Rexroth presents numerous Industry 4.0 solutions in Hanover

An additional focus is also the core topic of the Hanover Messe in 2017: Industry 4.0. Rolf Najork is convinced that Bosch Rexroth’s portfolio of solutions ideally complements those of other Bosch divisions; for example, in collaboration with the Bosch subsidiary Bosch Software Innovations GmbH. The portfolio of Bosch Rexroth includes intelligent hydraulic and electric drives and control systems as well as linear motion and assembly technologies that can be integrated in networked production environments. As a technology leader, the company is driving innovation in electrohydraulics and making fluid technology fit for Industry 4.0. “At the Hanover Messe, we demonstrate how data and information from the field level is already being processed by Rexroth machine control units from Bosch IT systems directly or in the Bosch IoT Cloud. As a result, manufacturing companies increase their productivity and flexibility,” said Najork, describing the concept.

As an example for Industry 4.0, he presented the Online Diagnostics Network (ODiN) , an innovative service package that is already being used by a number of customers. ODiN uses numerous sensors to record operational data from large-scale industrial plants and sends the data to a cloud server, such as the Bosch IoT Cloud, where self-learning software analyzes the data and detects wear before a machine failure can occur. “In large-scale plants, unscheduled downtimes can cost tens of thousands of euros per hour,” calculates Najork. “ODiN is so sophisticated that the prediction rate of defects at our pilot customers in the metallurgy, paper and sugar industries is now over 95 percent.” Thus, ODiN is converting unplanned outages into planned maintenance.

More customer-oriented and flexible

Bosch Rexroth expects only moderate changes in the world economy in 2017. The company sees potential risks due to unchanged, weak forecasts in some growth markets and the persistently weak investment activity in industries that produce raw materials. New opportunities will open up primarily in the areas of mobile applications and factory automation. The reorganization announced for this summer as part of the new corporate strategy will take account of this. Rolf Najork: “We want to pool our strengths to enable us to use and implement our know-how in the best possible way. In particular, this will require us to become more customer-oriented, quicker and more flexible.”

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, and Factory Automation to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 29,500 associates generated sales revenue of approximately 5 billion euros in 2016.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 390,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2016). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 73.1 billion euros in 2016. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected industry. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life, and to improve quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 450 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 120 locations across the globe, Bosch employs 59,000 associates in research and development.

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