Automated production assistant: Bosch “APAS assistant”: a flexible, mobile automation solution for connected production Machine “feels” thanks to “sensor skin”

  • “APAS assistant” – the first industrial robot system certified for collaborative operations
  • “Sensor skin” detects if a person comes too close, and a proximity-switch function stops the system
  • Features sensitive gripper system and camera-based parts recognition
  • Touchpad for intuitive operation and instruction of the system
  • Product family rounded off by APAS inspector, a mobile optical inspection system, and APAS base, a flexible automation platform
  • Equipment is networked to allow exchange of data
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  • April 07, 2014
  • Business/economy
  • Press releases

press release

Bosch’s APAS family systems – “APAS assistant,” “APAS inspector,” and “APAS base” – offer a glimpse of the technologies that will be put to work in tomorrow’s connected industry (“Industry 4.0”). Flexible, networked, smart factories will see people, machines, and products all communicating with each other and working together. The APAS automation solutions, which are ready to go straight away, are ideal for these factories. They can take over dangerous, strenuous, monotonous, and dirty work, leaving people free to do higher quality work. Unlike many other systems available on the market, however, they can be used as mobile and flexible solutions, without any guards.

At the heart of the “APAS family” is the “APAS assistant,” an automated production assistant which has a “sensor skin” that enables it to avoid collisions. This makes it suitable for a wide range of applications in which it will work together with people in a guard-free workplace. And it is why “APAS assistant” is the first robot system to be certified for collaborative operations by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) association.

For example, the manufacturing worker can place empty pallets on a table in front of the robot. “APAS assistant” will then position them correctly and load them, while the worker performs other tasks, such as optimizing processes at other machines. The sensors fitted to “APAS assistant’s” housing will detect whether its human colleague has come too close. It will stop before it touches its human colleague, and resume its work once its colleague has left the system’s immediate operating zone.

Flexible, mobile, fast-learning – and connected
“APAS assistant” is designed to be slim and compact, and it has rollers and an easy-to-operate lock. This means it can be put to work quickly and easily at various locations within a production facility.

“APAS assistant’s” sensitive three-finger gripper is capable of gently or firmly grasping a wide variety of parts with complex geometries. Meanwhile, integrated cameras help it not only to register its surroundings autonomously but also to recognize parts for itself and manipulate them with precision.

The machine operator can use a touchpad control panel to teach the “APAS assistant” work plans – graphical step-by-step representations of the task it is to perform – within a very short space of time. The production assistant stores tasks once it has learned them, so they can be called up at any time at the push of a button. Since the “APAS family” systems are networked with each other, they can exchange any work plans that have already been put together. The fact that all devices in the family have an Ethernet connection also allows high-performance remote maintenance.

Alongside “APAS assistant,” the “APAS family” offers two further automation devices for specific tasks, “APAS inspector” – a mobile optical testing system with 3D imaging – and “APAS base” a flexible automation platform for specific tasks such as parts labeling. These can operate to the full breadth of their flexibility when working together with “APAS assistant.”

The “APAS family” will be on display at the Automatica fair in Munich in hall A5, booth D317.
The “Bosch APAS family” homepage is

Wolfgang Pomrehn,
phone: +49 711 811-21150

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves 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 company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

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PI8141 - April 07, 2014

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