ST 006-13 Lohr am Main, 2013-03-12

New directions for machinery construction: Short engineering times through development partnerships

Paul Cooke

Paul Cooke

In times when the economy is weak, machinery and plant manufacturers are working hard on new concepts that will enable them to catch the next upswing at the front of the pack. At the same time, many companies are dealing with a shortage of design engineers and programmers. "An efficient way for our customers to nonetheless master the challenge within the shortest possible time is to enter into a development partnership with Rexroth," explains Paul Cooke, Senior Vice President Sales and Industry Sector Management Machinery Applications and Engineering in the Business Unit Industrial Applications of Bosch Rexroth AG. "Our industry specialists are familiar with the special requirements and support machinery manufacturers with engineering competence and new engineering tools right from the initial idea."

The spectrum ranges from individual components to complete multi-technology drive- and control solutions. One such example is the finely tuned interaction of hydraulic and electric drives within one single control unit. A growing number of machinery manufacturers are taking advantage of this possibility to significantly increase their productivity and energy efficiency. "The digital controllers, regardless of whether they are decentralized in the drive or centralized in the machine's control unit, must be designed taking into consideration the particular characteristics of the hydraulic system," emphasizes Cooke. "If you start at zero here, programming will take several man-years." Bosch Rexroth has integrated numerous controllers for standard hydraulic operations such as die cushions, position/force control, or position-dependent braking as function blocks into software of machine control systems and intelligent drives. The result: Machinery manufacturers no longer need to program these movements themselves, but merely have to parametrize them, which is a lot less time-consuming. Building thereon, Bosch Rexroth's industry specialists quickly create customized motion profiles.

Through this collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, machinery manufacturers are also bringing about quick and sustainable results in the area of energy efficiency. Replacing conventional hydraulic systems with variable-speed pump drives, for instance, results in significant energy savings. "It is, however, not enough to simply replace the existing fixed displacement unit and leave the remaining hydraulic system untouched," explains Cooke. Depending on the motion profile, only certain drive and pump combinations meet the requirements of the application. The components must be designed to perfectly work together and the software must take into account the specific characteristics involved in fluid technology. The experts at Bosch Rexroth determine through simulations in advance whether the required performance parameters are reached, and by how much, for instance, the energy required for cooling will decrease. System specialists simplify the hydraulic control and replace the previously required valves with software functions.

An example of the outcomes of such development partnerships can be seen at Hannover Messe, where Bosch Rexroth will present a straightening press with which the press operators can reduce energy consumption by between 30 and 90 percent depending on the cycle, while productivity has increased. "And the development partnership also saved the manufacturer many man-years in engineering," underlines Paul Cooke.

Bosch Rexroth AG is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of drive and control technologies. Under the brand name of Rexroth, the company supplies more than 500,000 customers with tailored solutions for driving, controlling, and moving. Bosch Rexroth is a partner for mobile and machinery applications, engineering, factory automation as well as renewable energies. The company covers the requirements and special needs of each of these markets. As The Drive & Control Company, Bosch Rexroth develops, produces and sells components and systems in more than 80 countries. In 2011, Bosch Rexroth, part of the Bosch Group, achieved sales of around 6.4 billion euros with 38,400 employees.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. According to preliminary figures, more than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology in fiscal 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent more than 4 billion euros for research and development in 2011, and applied for over 4,100 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

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