Business/economy

High-ranking guest in Stuttgart Sigmar Gabriel, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, learns about industry 4.0 at Bosch Connected manufacturing creates a competitive edge

  • Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Gabriel: “Mastering Industry 4.0 is an essential task if Germany wants to remain a manufacturing hub.”
  • Bosch board of management member Struth: “Industry 4.0 calls for well-qualified people”
  • Technology turns associates into well-informed decision-makers
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  • January 26, 2016
  • Business/economy
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press release

Stuttgart, Germany – During a visit to Bosch in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs, learned about the current status of Industry 4.0 activities at the international supplier of technology and services. “Intelligently connecting machinery and analyzing data from production are central to making Industry 4.0 a reality. Achieving this successfully is essential to secure German industry’s future competitiveness and preserve its position as a manufacturing hub. In our ‘Plattform Industrie 4.0’ initiative, we are working with business, associations, academics, and unions to come closer to this goal,” Gabriel said.

Improved competitiveness
“Bosch has already successfully implemented Industry 4.0 in well over 100 projects at its more than 250 plants around the world. This results in better quality and lower costs in areas such as warehousing or the production of small batches,” said Dr. Werner Struth, member of the Bosch board of management, after touring the facilities with the minister. Struth’s responsibilities at Bosch include coordinating the company’s worldwide manufacturing system. In the years leading up to 2020, he expects Industry 4.0 to save hundreds of millions of euros annually for Bosch alone. “This will strengthen the competitiveness, and thus the appeal, of the products we manufacture.”

Sigmar Gabriel: Industry 4.0 creates high-quality jobs
“I am impressed by what I’ve seen at Bosch today. It clearly shows that German industry is in an excellent state when it comes to putting Industry 4.0 into practice. The Bosch projects demonstrate what connected manufacturing is already capable of, and why investing in connectivity is worthwhile.”

Rising demand for software expertise
Struth underlined the increasing importance of software competence: “Industry 4.0 needs experts who understand manufacturing machinery as well as products and sensor data from production. And they have to be able to apply that knowledge in algorithms and software. The foundations for this should be laid early, perhaps by teaching programming languages in school. Young people have to be capable of doing more than just using the apps on their smartphones, and programming languages are the only tool that will allow them to make their ideas reality.”

How intelligent maintenance saves time
During Gabriel’s visit to Feuerbach, one of the things Struth showed him was intelligent and predictive maintenance. Sensors make this possible by collecting data on the machines’ condition. Before there is a machine failure, a software program notifies the plant maintenance technicians as to which parts need replacing and what servicing needs to be done. The system sends notifications to this effect to associates’ smartphones. This often means that down times can be avoided, or at least cut in half, and plant productivity increases. “The tour showed how effectively Industry 4.0 supports our associates. Thanks to connectivity, they are better informed about the machines’ condition than they were before, and thus are becoming well-informed decision-makers in connected industry,” Struth said.

APAS production assistant makes work safer for people
Struth used Bosch’s mobile APAS production assistants to demonstrate the close cooperation between people and machines. The assistants relieve human workers of repetitive or dangerous tasks. The robot arm is covered in a sensory skin; when the skin recognizes that a person is getting too close, the assistant stops immediately. APAS is certified by the German employers’ liability insurance association as safe for working directly with people.

Two-pronged strategy
To advance Industry 4.0, Bosch pursues a two-pronged strategy. The first is to be a leading exponent of connected technology. The second is to offer its customers a wealth of solutions in this area, such as sensors, drives, software with solution packages, and even robot assistants. “Our dual role as a leading provider and leading exponent gives us an edge over the competition. We use our experience for our human resources activities and for shaping tomorrow’s working world. In doing so, we work very closely with employee representatives,” Struth said. At the same time, he emphasized that automated processes provide workers with greater safety and support.

Contact persons for press inquiries:
Bosch: Thilo Resenhoeft
Phone: +49 711 811-7088

BMWi: Dr. Beate Braams
Phone: +49 30 18 615-6132

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.

PI9169 - January 26, 2016

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