Packaging Technology

Motek 2015 Comprehensive automation solutions for the factory of the future Robert Bosch GmbH, hall 7, booth 7512

  • APAS family: automated, mobile production assistants
  • World debut: APAS safekin and APAS speedswitch for safe human-machine collaboration without safety guards
  • IT Shopfloor Solutions offer Industry 4.0 solutions to manage the entire production and logistics chain
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  • September 10, 2015
  • Packaging Technology
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press release

Stuttgart, Germany – Flexible, connected, safe and collaborative: at Motek 2015, the international trade show for production and handling automation in Stuttgart, Robert Bosch GmbH presents its comprehensive automation solutions portfolio. At the centre of booth 7512 in hall 7: the mobile production assistants of the APAS family, which Bosch has developed especially for collaboration with humans. The APAS assistant with its patented sensor skin, for instance, has been certified by the Germany occupational health and safety agency to work directly alongside people without the need for safety guards. This safety concept is now expanded by the new option APAS speedswitch and the robot kinematics APAS safekin, which will both be presented to the public at Motek for the first time. In addition, the company's IT Shopfloor Solutions will make their debut in Stuttgart. The modular automation system makes it possible to control production and quality data, as well as logistics processes along the entire value chain.

Tried and tested solutions for the factory of the future
All solutions shown at Motek are already successfully in use within the Bosch group, as Volker Hartmann, Deputy Vice President Business Unit Assembly Systems and Special Machinery at Bosch, points out. “The APAS assistants have been tried and tested in many Bosch facilities throughout the world. Now they are also available for external customers.” Thanks to its standardized operating concept and its interconnectivity, the APAS family, which currently consists of three production assistants, can be flexibly integrated into manufacturing processes. “The factory of the future requires more and more machines and robots that can flexibly take over from stationary manufacturing systems along the entire production chain,” says Wolfgang Pomrehn, product manager of the APAS family. “At the same time, the possibility of direct interaction with humans and subsequently safety aspects play an important role.”

All three APAS production assistants are therefore designed to support technical staff with critical process steps, monotonous and messy jobs, and above all to collaborate directly with human beings. The APAS inspector, for instance, is equipped with a high-definition camera and an innovative 3D technology and inspects highly delicate surfaces or performs complete checks. The APAS flexpress, in turn, is a mobile production assistant for highly flexible and highly accurate assembly. The integrated safety technology ensures that staff and production assistants can work together smoothly.

APAS assistant: human-machine collaboration without safety guards
The safe interaction of humans and machines is at the heart of the APAS assistant. It is equipped with a six-arm industry robot arm, a sensitive three-finger gripper and a 3D camera system, and was developed especially for direct collaboration with human beings – without special safety guards. As opposed to other robot systems, the gripper arm of the APAS assistant is covered with a highly sensitive sensor skin. Even without direct contact, this skin allows the system to realize whenever a member of staff comes too close. It then immediately stops its work and waits until the employee has left the danger zone. “This application is unique in the market and enables man and machine to work hand in hand,” Pomrehn explains.

Market launch: APAS safekin, safe robot kinematic for separate application
To date, customers could only use the robotic arm with its sensor skin as a fixed component of the APAS assistant. Under the name of APAS safekin, it will now be presented as separate component at Motek for the first time. “We are reacting to the large number of requests we have received,” says Pomrehn. “As of 2016, the robot kinematic with its sensor skin protection can also be applied independently from the APAS base – in this case preferably firmly incorporated into a certain production section.”

World premiere for APAS speedswitch
APAS speedswitch will also complement the safety concept of the APAS assistant from the beginning of 2016 on. The new function, which is showcased at Motek for the first time, makes it possible to monitor the entire immediate vicinity of the sensor skin, and to adapt its working speed to the presence or absence of human beings. The extended far range is controlled via the speedswitch interface. “Currently, the APAS assistant always reduces its speed and adapts it to humans,” Pomrehn says. “In the future, it will flexibly adapt its speed to its surroundings thanks to APAS speedswitch as long as no staff is nearby, it works at maximum speed. As soon as someone enters the close range, the APAS assistant automatically switches to a safe speed. This results in higher productivity without cutbacks on occupational safety.”

Comprehensive shopfloor management
The IT Shopfloor Solutions also offer maximum safety, flexibility and transparency along the entire production chain. “The IT Shopfloor Solutions have been continuously refined for more than 15 years and is used for the control of hundreds of production machines within the Bosch group,” Hartmann explains. In Stuttgart, Bosch focuses on the Shopfloor Management module, which enables an efficient planning and control of production, quality and logistics processes. Thanks to its large range of software modules, the Shopfloor Management module makes it possible to connect different machines and to analyse production data in real-time.

The easy-to-operate graphic tools support staff in detecting critical conditions, localizing defects and initiating countermeasures. Thanks to a collaboration with Fraunhofer IGD institute in Rostock, visitors to Stuttgart will be able to see a 3D visualization of an entire production process, monitored and managed via a big touch screen.

The Shopfloor Dashboard, a central and interactive display system for production processes, provides higher transparency and control. Reports, machine and quality indicators, as well as KPIs such as OEE values can be compiled and analysed on the touchscreen. The Management View enables managers and production directors to retrieve real-time information from production equipment all over the world. The Shiftbook further facilitates a complete digital shift planning, including records of machine downtimes and disruptions. The Dashboard and Shiftbook are complemented by new applications for mobile devices, which support production personnel in performing fast monitoring and failure analysis. Thanks to the new smart Maintenance application, service and maintenance orders can be placed directly at the machine. A new augmented reality app enables staff to retrieve information such as current production data or user manuals on-site, while looking into the machine without even opening it.

Wolfgang Pomrehn
phone: +49 711 811-21150

Contact person for press inquiries:
Josef Neubrand
phone: +49 711 811-33029

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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PI9071 - September 10, 2015

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