Business/economy

Bosch board member Struth speaks to CDU economic council Bosch: partnerships and high-speed internet are paving the way to Industry 4.0 in Germany “Broadband internet is as important as electricity and roads”

  • Connected industry is already enhancing competitiveness
  • Cross-industry partnerships help secure lasting success
  • Bosch dual strategy: lead provider and lead exponent
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  • April 22, 2015
  • Business/economy
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press release

Stuttgart – At a recent event of the CDU’s economic council in Berlin, the Bosch board of management member Dr. Werner Struth argued that connected production, known as Industry 4.0, offers Germany a major opportunity to enhance its competitiveness. To this end, more partnerships between companies are required. “We actively seek cooperation with our partners to create links between value-added networks, as well as to improve them. Connected production can only take full advantage of potential if it reaches beyond a company’s physical and mental boundaries,” Struth said. As member of the Bosch board of management, his responsibilities include the Bosch Industrial Technology business sector and the company’s production system. The global provider of technology and services has more than 250 manufacturing sites around the world. At present, over 100 ongoing projects address Industry 4.0. At many sites, production costs have already been cut and flexibility increased.

Germany is well prepared for Industry 4.0
Compared to many other countries, Struth believes that Germany is well prepared for connected production. “We have unique expertise in mechanical engineering, as well as in the areas of production systems and embedded software. In addition to this, research, education, training programs, and supplier networks are strongly interconnected. And our associates have a broad range of skills and extensive expertise.” Just as it has in the past, Germany stands to benefit from knowledge sharing between mechanical engineering manufacturers, users, and suppliers, as well as from strong research partnerships.

“If we complement all of this by building on our expertise in the realm of internet technologies and innovative business models, we will be very well prepared for the networked production of the future, both in technical and strategic terms,” Struth said. At the same time, he argued that technical solutions should not be the only focus of companies’ efforts. Rather, customers’ needs should be a central consideration.

Success factors: fast internet, European data protection standards
In particular, Struth sees data protection in Europe as an area in which action is urgently needed. At the moment, different EU regulations hinder the success of connected solutions in a number of European markets. “It is crucial that the EU Council of Ministers make a final decision regarding the EU General Data Protection Regulation before the summer. This will make it possible to adopt the regulation by the end of 2015.” Once this has been done, companies will be better able to take advantage of major business potential in European markets.
In order to share data quickly and safely – a basic prerequisite for Industry 4.0 – all parties depend on high-speed internet connections: “We have everything it takes to realize Industry 4.0, but slow internet connections are preventing us from moving forward. Today, a reliable internet connection is just as important as running water, road infrastructure, and electricity,” said Struth.

“We must be able to implement new solutions quickly”
“To survive in global competition, we must be able to implement new technical solutions quickly,” said Struth. He then mentioned the successful example of Bosch’s cooperation with Cisco and Tech Mahindra in the framework of the Industrial Internet Consortium. The first outcome of this collaboration is the ability to determine the position of an industrial nutrunner on the shop floor with extreme precision. This positioning information is used to automatically select the correct torque for the respective task, making it possible to tighten safety-relevant bolts with exactly the required torque, for example. Potential applications include aircraft maintenance. “We used available software and combined it to develop a completely new solution architecture. The result was an eco-system of equal partners that shared their respective expertise on open standards and the corresponding interfaces. Such partnerships make it possible to overcome the heterogeneity of technical systems and pave the way to new solution architectures,” said Struth. He also pointed out that connected industry will not only affect Germany, but also all cooperation between international companies.

Bosch: pursuing a dual strategy
When it comes to Industry 4.0, Bosch is both a lead provider and lead exponent. At the recent Hannover Messe 2015, the company presented new solutions that can enhance its own competitiveness as well as that of its customers. This can be done in several ways, for instance with networked sensors, innovative software solutions, internet-enabled drive and control systems, as well as with APAS-family collaborative production assistants.

Industry 4.0: background
With connected production, work pieces and machines can share information with one another. They are equipped either with barcodes, RFID chips, or internet-enabled sensors. Thanks to partially or fully automated information gathering and transmission, a virtual copy of the physical world can be created. The network of software programs, mechanical parts, and electronic parts communicates around the world via the internet. This makes constant coordination and improvements between locations or even beyond the walls of the company possible.

Business models are expected to see the most dramatic change, for instance in the area of new operator models. In the future, manufacturers of production machinery may retain ownership of their machines. Rather than selling them, they may offer their customers specific produced quantities or operating hours. The potential for the development of new and profitable business models is practically unlimited. Industry 4.0 will also give rise to cost benefits, for instance as a result of resource conservation or increases in productivity.

Internet:
Bosch on Industry 4.0:
http://bit.ly/1HteYWu
Interactive infographic on Industry 4.0:
http://bit.ly/1Gi8ael
Bosch pools Industry 4.0 expertise
in the “Connected Industry” innovation cluster “:
http://bit.ly/1CE9p6n
How Bosch is saving time and money with Industry 4.0:
http://bit.ly/1ybCuV4
Industry 4.0 Award for Bosch Rexroth assembly line:
http://bit.ly/1HiHbvU
Foundry produces cores and molds with 3D printers:
http://bit.ly/1CM9jbd

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.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com and www.bosch-press.com, http://twitter.com/BoschPresse.

PI8901 - April 22, 2015

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