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A step ahead, through knowledge

 A step ahead, through knowledge
Marginal Column

Above: Hydropracticator, 1971 (left) and a modern automation training system (right).

For any technology-based company, know-how is the foundation for business success. Bosch Rexroth has been passing such knowledge along for fifty years now.


Even the finest technology isn’t worth a lot if the customer doesn’t understand how it works. Bosch Rexroth discovered this in the early 1950s, when the firm began dealing with hydraulics. In Germany the new hydraulic technologies were still in their infancy. It quickly became clear: Customers can be convinced by the new technology only if they recognize its use to them. As of the 1960s the company started teaching the basics of hydraulics not only to its own employees, but to interested customers, as well.

No theory without practice

The first scheduled training sessions took place in 1962 – each hosting about fifteen participants. But numbers quickly rose. In 1975 between three and four hundred interested persons took advantage of the schooling. “In 1987 we had about 2,500 attendees per year,” recalls Arno Schmitt, who further expanded the curriculum, then acting as the technical training manager and later as the apprentice training manager. It was he who published the first hydraulic textbook, The Hydraulics Trainer, now a Rexroth A step ahead, through knowledge For any technology-based company, know-how is the foundation for business success. Bosch Rexroth has been passing such knowledge along for fi fty years now. classic. And quite early on the company’s philosophy included not only theoretical learning, but practical experience as well, even though there were no teaching aids available. That is why Schmitt assembled the first teaching system for hydraulics, a system he had worked out while writing his thesis and prior to publishing his textbook. He dubbed that system the “Hydropracticator”. This was followed by instructional systems for proportional and servo technologies, for pneumatics and mechatronics. “With these systems the trainees were able to set up their own circuits and learn how devices respond,” he recalls. “This information is important for operating, troubleshooting and fine-tuning systems.” The courses on “Hydraulic System Commissioning and Maintenance” are also much in demand among assemblers. Vocational schools and even universities profit from the implementation of these teaching concepts.

Knowledge in transition

In the 1990s, modern training concepts flanked Rexroth’s expansion as it turned into a system developer and automation specialist. New drive and control technologies and system simulations were included in the teaching system. They became more complex and that also had an impact on the teaching concepts. “It used to be that the focus was on individual components. Today it is more a matter of observing the system as a whole.” Modern automation training systems, which can simulate complex processes, have in the meantime supplanted the Hydropracticator. Not only the content, but the methods and didactics have changed. Today the Drive & Control Academy is the site where Bosch Rexroth imparts knowledge to its customers and its junior technicians. Classroom teaching is still one component, but e-learning is advancing , while blended learning is a model that combines e-learning and classroom activities. Close cooperation with vocational education centers and universities has always been a part of the training spectrum, right from the very beginning. That has not changed, even down to the present day.