Digital assistant for the real world

Digital assistant for the real world
Marginal Column

July 2016


Whether for stationary manufacturing facilities or mobile work devices: Bosch Rexroth offers human machine interfaces that are functional and comfortable to use.

Communication skills that transcend all boundaries is the prerequisite for developing the desired interaction between people and machines in the smart factory to perfection. HMI not only builds a bridge between all parties, but it is also the filter for the vast amounts of data collected. Manufacturing and assembly are becoming more transparent thanks to the data processed in real time and HMI is becoming the central support tool for decision makers. Dr. Steffen Haack, Director of the Business Unit Industrial Applications, as well as for the coordination of sales at Bosch Rexroth AG, emphasizes that, “Only those who know their factory inside and out can make the right decisions. We have already collected extensive experiences in numerous pilot pro-jects in our own manufacturing plants and, on this basis, we have developed new system solutions that support both the employees and the processes in the networked factory.”

The Open Diagnostics Network (ODiN) condition monitoring system can thus monitor the hydraulic systems of entire plants and give early warning when maintenance operations are due. When it comes to machine tools, users can, for example, directly connect with the ABPAC hydraulic power unit by means of legitimized smart devices in order to retrieve the current state of the system and plan maintenance measures according to schedule. Especially in the automotive industry, the “Process Quality Manager” software program provides support for quality control and is a community-developed solution from Bosch Rexroth and Bosch Software Innovations. Through the system, electrical tightening systems can be networked together and capture, analyze, and visualize the data of individual screws processes in real time for example. The ActiveCockpit, in turn, creates maximum transparency along the production line as a web-based production information system. And the flexibly customizable ActiveAssist assembly assistance system supports the multifaceted assembly process. It connects the real-world work stations with the virtual world of IT and guides the employee through the installation steps with the use of configurable sensors and a wizard. But it must also be involved in the whole development, since according to Mr. Haack, “Acceptance by the users is an essential factor for the success of Industry 4.0.”

To get a deeper understanding of a user-optimized machine interface, the user experience is also an important issue for Bosch Rexroth. Customers are therefore already involved in the design of the interface at an early stage of development. The company further developed, for instance, the IndraWorks to be an intuitive engineering tool in a joint project with the Competence Center Human-Computer Interaction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization in Stuttgart . The pro-ject was based, among other things, on intensive surveys of users in very different fields: from programmers to applicators and the maintenance technicians to service technicians – everyone brought his specific requirements for the engineering software. Bosch Rexroth's commitment goes even further. In education, for example, the Cooperative State University Baden-Württemberg in Mosbach uses the mMS 4.0 mechatronics training system from Rexroth.

The latest generation of controls is also making its way to mobile working machines. With the BODAS DI4 universal operating and display unit, the operation of mobile working machines can be 100 percent customized. There are extensive options for individual visualization and function assignments. In addition, the DI4 simplifies the diagnosis and the reparametrization of BODAS controllers that are connected via CAN-bus. The latest generation of electronic joysticks, in turn, shows how to combine operator comfort and security. The internal architecture is characterized by the full redundancy of all data streams in the sticks that are designed for five million switching cycles. This guarantees safe operation in accordance with the European machinery directive.