Design-to-region: new concepts for growth markets

Illustration | Bosch Rexroth AG / design hoch drei GmbH & Co. KG
Marginal Column

European and American users often have different expectations of machines than is true in the emerging markets. In recent years, thousands of small and medium-sized suppliers have emerged there, for whom high-end solutions from Europe are too complex and expensive. They often cannot produce the required results using simple, domestically sourced machinery. In many mechanical engineering sectors, this has given rise to a new market segment for “just enough machines”. This term denotes new concepts in which the function is precisely tailored to specific applications.

Bosch Rexroth has earned its place in this new segment through a “design-to-region” strategy. The first products jointly developed by Asian and German engineers have already been successfully launched on the market. These include the IndraMotion MTX micro, a CNC system solution for high-production machine tools. This new product for the emerging markets was developed using the hardware and software cores from high-end solutions. That means that the machine manufacturer uses the same engineering tools and achieves the same precision in processing as with the familiar variants, but the functionality and operation are specifically adapted for these markets. This exploits scale effects of global product platforms while at the same time opening up applications that were previously out of reach.

A further challenge that only regional development capacities can solve is recognizing and implementing soft factors that can swing buying decisions. In the 1980s, American buyers often decided not to buy German cars because they were not equipped with cup holders. Soft factors also play an important role in the mechanical engineering sector, for example in the Asian earthmover market. For decades, users have been accus­tomed to a certain operating “feel” that sets the standard for new purchases. New emission regulations are currently forcing a technological shift toward electronically controlled hydraulics. Previously, this development, driven by Europe and America, failed to take Asian requirements into account. Now Rexroth’s Asian developers have adapted the software of a system solution so as to obtain the familiar Asian operating feeling while simulta­neously reducing diesel consumption by up to 20 percent. This solution was only possible due to the regional proximity to the OEMs and end users.