Ultrashort laser pulses are new tool for mechanical engineering
30 million products at Bosch by end of 2013 - three-fold increase likely in the medium term
Ditzingen and Stuttgart – Publicly funded projects involving companies and universities are one of the best ways of preserving and increasing Germany's innovative strength. For Volkmar Denner, the Bosch CEO, and Peter Leibinger, the deputy chairman of the Trumpf board of management, there is no doubt that this is true. “This path can be a decisive one for German industry,” Denner said in Ditzingen, near Stuttgart, on Wednesday. He believes such alliances are a good way of translating the results of research into innovative products faster, and of securing their economic benefit for Germany.
As a positive example of such an alliance, associates from Bosch, Trumpf, and the University of Jena have been jointly nominated for the Federal President's Future Prize. The three partners have worked to develop ultrashort laser pulses, from basic research to application as a new tool in industrial mass production. These high-energy pulses can be used to drill extremely small holes in the hardest metals, or to cut sapphires and diamonds.
They are fired at the material up to 800,000 times a second, ablating microscopically small surfaces. This gives rise to holes or incisions. Trumpf currently supplies the most powerful industrial lasers in the field. Bosch has already used the technology in its own industrial series production. Many of the basic principles behind this process are the result of work done at the University of Jena. The parties presented the technology to journalists on Wednesday. The winner of the award will be announced in Berlin on December 4. Two other teams are in the running for the federal president's prestigious award.
Speaking to journalists, the Bosch laser expert Jens König said: “At Bosch, this technology is on the point of making its impact felt in huge production volumes.” By the end of 2013, it will have been used to manufacture 30 million products at Bosch alone, he pointed out. “A three-fold increase is likely in the medium term.” One such product that has been especially successful is a fuel-saving gasoline injection system that uses 20 percent less gasoline. But the laser pulses can also be used to cut extremely hard glass for smartphones or to shape medical products such as stents.
Denner and Leibinger unanimously agreed that many of the fundamental principles behind the laser were set down years ago in the “PRIMUS” and “PROMPTUS” projects, funded by the Federal Ministry of Research. They added that one of the conditions for such funding is that the projects involve people from different disciplines who cooperate across subject boundaries. They feel that this plays a decisive role in generating new ideas for innovative products. “Such innovative strength is crucially important for our country. Politicians, society, and companies should never forget that,” Denner said. “The joint nomination for the Future Prize is an especially good example of such collaboration.”
Topographical data to provide the driver with an extended “vision” of the road
A new sensors function to optimise vehicle safety and comfort
Bosch and PSA Peugeot Citroën, along with other partners, are cooperating on the OpEneR (Optimal Energy Consumption and Recovery) research programme, designed to improve the range of future hybrid and electric vehicles and optimise driver safety and comfort. Two new technologies developed for the OpEneR project will be available for all types of motors (gasoline, diesel, hybrid and electric).
Navigation data for an extended vision of the road and 15 percent energy savings OpEneR now includes navigation data for predictive driving adaptation. The driver's vision is considerably extended with a preview of the road, based on topographical data such as slopes, bend radii and infrastructure data, with indication of road signs and speed limits. This innovation means gains in efficiency, with energy savings of up to 15 percent. Thanks to the road preview feature, the engine management system performs a dynamic calculation of the energy required from the electric motors.
On-board video camera and radars to optimise vehicle safety and comfort Sensors to help with driving comfort and safety, such as video camera and radars, are used to detect objects, other cars and pedestrians, as well as to recognise road signs, and also help bring down consumption. For instance, on the basis of the journey to be covered, a computer determines the vehicle's future speed curve, by integrating data going beyond the next bend. The Adaptive Cruise Control function automatically regulates the vehicle's speed and brakes before entering the bend, built-up areas and speed limited areas, as well as in the presence of obstacles and slower vehicles. This function means greater comfort and safety for the driver, who can concentrate on the wheel and the surrounding traffic.
In addition to its two new innovations, OpEneR enables the driver to reduce energy consumption, either by coasting, or by means of braking energy recovery for hybrid and electric vehicles. To date, more than 15,000 km of intensive testing have been carried out in real driving conditions and on varied road profiles, with consumption down by between 10 percent and 15 percent. The two partners have thus developed three technological innovations:
An electric drive train based on two electric motors, offering 4-wheel drive with zero CO2 emissions;
The new generation Stop & Start for coasting;
ESP® hev braking for energy recovery at braking and battery recharging, accompanied by the iBooster which can amplify the vacuum braking force.
OpEneR is part of the European Commission's “Green cars initiative” call for project proposals, with partners from the industrial and university worlds. Five partners are today working together on this research project: Bosch, AVL List and PSA Peugeot Citroën, representing industry, and the Karlsruhe research centre in Germany and the Galician Automotive Technology Centre, representing the world of university research.
About PSA Peugeot Citroën With its two world-renowned brands, Peugeot and Citroën, PSA Peugeot Citroën sold 2.9 million vehicles worldwide in 2012, of which 38 percent outside Europe. The second largest carmaker in Europe, PSA Peugeot Citroën recorded sales and revenue of €55.4 billion in 2012. The Group is the European leader in terms of CO2 emissions, with an average of 122.5 grams of CO2/km in 2012.PSA Peugeot Citroën has sales operations in 160 countries. It is also involved in financing activities (Banque PSA Finance) and automotive equipment (Faurecia).
About Bosch Group Automotive Technology is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2012, its sales came to 31.1 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. Its roughly 177,000 Automotive Technology associates worldwide mainly work in the following areas of business: injection technology for internal-combustion engines, alternative powertrain concepts, efficient and networked powertrain peripherals, systems for active and passive driving safety, assistance and comfort functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as car-to-car and Car2X communication, and concepts, technology, and service for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP® anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In fiscal 2012, its roughly 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.5 billion euros. Since the beginning of 2013, its operations have been divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.8 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for nearly 4,800 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”
Access for other manufacturers and service providers
Certainty for end customers
Different appliances, but just one common standard for data exchange
Stuttgart and Munich – ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG aim to set up a consortium to provide a software platform for smart homes. The companies have now signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. The plan is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
Under the memorandum, the parties intend to develop an open architecture for data exchange. The software platform would allow diverse devices and services to interoperate, and to exchange information with each other. Application software distribution will also be enabled. This will allow appliances and devices made by different manufacturers to be part of home automation, security, healthcare, and entertainment services. A common platform such as this has not been available up to now, making it a challenge for appliances and devices – light switches, motorized roller blinds, washing machines, multimedia equipment, smartphones, and tablets – to communicate with each other or to simply exchange information over the internet in a standardized way. The common platform is one more step toward the internet of things for the home, in which physical objects will be networked.
The software platform is intended to make the standard available to all manufacturers, software developers, and service providers. It is intended to unite diverse services in areas such as energy management, security technology, and convenience and consumer electronics. This will enable new business models: software developers, for example, will be able to develop diverse apps for these areas. And in the future, end-users wanting to have automated control for their electronic appliances in residential buildings will no longer have to choose between different technologies.
Safety, convenience, efficiency Thanks to sensors and software, for example, a smart home will be able to detect things such as upstairs windows that are still open, and combine this information with weather forecasts on the internet to close the windows and lower the blinds before a thunderstorm breaks. To give another example, during vacations, the controls can switch on lights at random to deter burglars. What is more, if a motion sensor is triggered, the smart home can alert a security service and feed a video stream to the owner’s smartphone.
Diverse appliances, but one language The above applications are already possible today. However, each of them requires a technical solution of its own, and the various solutions are not always compatible with each other. ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG intend to develop a common language that allows the appliances to communicate with each other. Under the standards that the consortium intends to establish, and that would be available to all manufacturers, appliances would be connected to a home gateway, which itself would be connected to the internet and a software platform. In this way, the services of different providers can interoperate. In the future, anyone who buys a new refrigerator, washing machine, heating system, or other type of electrical appliance featuring the consortium’s certificate of compatibility can expect that the appliance will interact and be compatible with the other appliances already in their smart home.
Technology Once these open standards have been developed, the parties’ aim is that these compatible appliances will communicate with each other over radio networks such as WiFi, ZigBee, and other wired connections like KNX. A central control unit in the building manages all the individual appliances, and also creates a secure internet link. Any control unit can perform this function, regardless of manufacturer, provided the unit runs on software that satisfies the relevant standard. Independent software developers can also program new apps that allow the central control unit, the heating and air-conditioning, and the electrical appliances throughout the building to be controlled over the internet. The software platform’s sophisticated security architecture helps to ensure that only authorized persons can access the functions in any one smart home.
About the smart home “Smart home” is used to describe buildings whose appliances are connected with each other, and thus offer their occupants new functions and services. In most cases, these can be controlled remotely over the internet. The terms “smart house,” “smart living,” and “e-home” are sometimes also used to describe the same approach. Whatever the term used, the meaning is the same. One of the benefits of such intra-connectivity in smart homes is efficient energy use, an important issue for the future. For example, if energy prices are available on the internet, homes can react automatically to them to cover their needs as cost-effectively as possible – and this without their occupants themselves having to act. The washing machine would then start when electricity is cheap. A further central issue in smart homes is security through things such as condition monitoring. Smart homes will also make ambient assisted living possible, for example in homes that are adapted to the needs of the elderly.
“Let’s take our homes into the internet!” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “An open standard for data exchange is the basis for this. At the same time, our innovative and beneficial services can improve quality of life in the homes of the future, and allow us to use energy efficiently, safely, and comfortably, both in our homes and our cars.”
“This consortium represents an opportunity to bring together a variety of business ecosystem partners, all working together to help make the Internet of Things for the home a reality,” says Jesper Andersen, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group. “Cisco is looking forward to participating in the consortium and creating a standard that allows consumers to experience a connected home.”
“This consortium is a solution that maximizes collaboration and customer value,” says Byunghoon Min, Senior Vice President, Convergence R&D Laboratory, LG Electronics. “LG Electronics will present never experienced smart home life to customers by creating synergy within the consortium.”
Contact persons for press inquiries: Dr. Ingo Rapold, phone: +49 711 811-48905 Thilo Resenhoeft, phone: +49 711 811-7088 Christian Hoenicke, phone: +49 711 811-6285
Investment in traffic infrastructure a requirement for future mobility
Technical potential of traffic management not exploited
Exploratory field tests of solutions and concepts in Germany
Berlin – Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the supervisory board of Robert Bosch GmbH, is calling for more investment in an intelligent infrastructure to facilitate future mobility. “The transportation of the future must be realized in Germany first. To enable this, we need more investment – and more sensible investment – in our mobility infrastructure,” Fehrenbach said at the 30th German Logistics Congress in Berlin. Above all, Fehrenbach sees the country lagging behind considerably in the area of traffic infrastructure. Catching up will involve not only bridge repairs and the construction of more freeways, he said. It will also require investments in infrastructure to be oriented toward the fundamental trends in mobility. According to him, electrification, automation, and connectivity are placing new demands on infrastructure. One of these is efficient traffic management. A first step toward this could be made by implementing a road toll, he explained. “The potential offered by traffic management as well as the other technical possibilities of a networked traffic infrastructure are currently still being ignored in public debate,” Fehrenbach said. Instead, the argument is centering on the question of scope and how the revenue generated by a vignette-based road toll system should be used.
Germany: exploit opportunities offered by trend towards connectivity Fehrenbach believes that the global trend toward digital connectivity will also fundamentally transform mobility – and with it, traffic. “We must make Germany a hub for this technology. In order to do this, we need the necessary infrastructure,” he said. The shape of future traffic flow – whether of people or goods – is still to some extent the subject of research. However, the mobility trends of the future are already clear. “Achieving electrified, automated, and connected mobility will only be possible if we create the necessary technological conditions and framework in advance,” Fehrenbach continued. This includes, for example, interfaces between renewable energy and alternative powertrains, telematics services, and the efficient management of traffic flows. “With a modern, integrated system, Germany could further extend its expertise in the realm of intelligent traffic management.” The limited discussion surrounding the topic of a road toll is thus disappointing, he said.
Mobility concepts are an export opportunity In particular, the megacities that are emerging worldwide need new mobility concepts. “Intelligent, resource-conserving, and hence sustainable mobility could be the next big export opportunity for Germany,” Fehrenbach said. However, Germany has up to now been lacking the necessary infrastructure to “field test” new concepts and solutions, he argued. “The role of infrastructure as a vehicle of innovation has been fundamentally underestimated. This has been demonstrated in the discussions about investment priorities and their financing.”
Competition: engine of progress rather than threat to it Fehrenbach currently sees considerable potential for efficiency in many of Germany’s markets and sectors. He believes that in some areas, a lack of competition, state intervention, and over-regulation could be leading to a lack of transparency, inefficiency, and undesirable market developments. “Competition is perceived as a threat rather than as an engine of progress,” Fehrenbach emphasized. Only by strengthening the principles of Germany’s social market economy will the country’s future as an industrial location be assured. “Competition as a core element of a social market economy guarantees progress, growth, and thus prosperity.”
Shaping the future: no letting up now With respect to the coalition negotiations between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, Fehrenbach pointed to the great need for reform which continues to exist in Germany. He warned against letting Germany’s momentarily strong economy divert attention away from the real challenges. “If we let up on shaping the future now, we will fall behind globally.”
About the German Logistics Congress The German Logistics Congress has been staged by the German Logistics Association (BVL) since 1983. It has become the most important annual logistics event in Europe. It is an important forum for German industry. The share of international participants is constantly increasing. The anniversary event is taking place from October 23–25, 2013, in Berlin.
More information on the event and the BVL is available online.