Stuttgart/Munich/Brussels – The European Patent Office in Brussels announced on Wednesday that Bosch was ranked first for patents in Europe in 2012, with 838 patents granted to the company over the course of the year. The company currently holds a portfolio of more than 90,000 active industrial property rights. In total, Bosch filed more than 4,700 patents in 2012. The European Patent Office regulates the granting of property rights in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg).
Bosch spends more than 8 percent of its sales on research and development, with R&D expenditure reaching 4.5 billion euros in 2012. More than 42,000 associates work in R&D worldwide, 20,700 of them in Germany. Patents protect the company’s innovations from being imitated, while licensing allows third parties to benefit from Bosch’s technological edge.
From patent to product: a long and winding road Not every good idea leads to a patent, and not all patents go on to become products. The process is generally a long one. “One example is the snap electrode, which is part of our particulate filter for the clean combustion of biomass in the wood-burning stoves of private households,” says Dietmar Steiner, one of the inventors at Bosch.
High-voltage dust-catcher While heating with renewable materials such as briquettes or wood pellets is carbon-neutral, the exhaust gas contains unwanted particulate matter. However, it can be removed by means of a particle separator. Steiner, a physicist in the research department in Schwieberdingen close to Stuttgart, explains how this works: a strong electric field is created in the exhaust pipe, as a result of which free charge carriers attach themselves to the dust. An electrode then attracts the charged dust particles, which stick to it.
Longer maintenance cycles thanks to snap electrodes At some point, the electrode is so covered in dust that it has to be cleaned. Steiner and his project team first began to devise solutions in 2006. The dusty electrode can be briefly shaken by a bimetal element that folds over (“snaps”) as the stove heats up. As a result, the dust is shaken off the electrode into the stove’s ash pan.
“Our aim was to have a filter that required maintenance only twice a year, and we have achieved this,” Steiner says. The filter prevents more than 85 percent of particulate matter from being emitted. By using mass-produced parts that Bosch is able to manufacture in large numbers and to high quality standards, costs were significantly reduced. Lower limits on particulate matter will take effect in Germany from 2015. The new filter will make it possible to comply with them.
The first prototypes were built in 2006, and a patent was filed in 2008. In 2010, the snap electrode patent was published. It was then legally granted in 2011. A number of other companies in the heating industry have expressed interest in the technology, and licensing negotiations are currently underway.
Background information on patent statistics: The statistics include all patents granted between January 1 and December 31, 2012.
Italian service provider in the combined heat and power generation technology sector
Expansion of energy-efficiency activities
Stuttgart/Rome – Plans are in place for the Bosch Group to acquire Astrim Energia S.r.l., an Italian-based energy service provider offering combined heat and power generation technology. A contract to this effect has already been signed with the parent company Astrim S.p.A. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The acquisition remains subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.
Astrim Energia S.r.l., which employs around 130 associates, generated sales of some 31 million euros in 2011. “After Germany, Italy is one of the most important and highly developed markets for energy-efficiency services in Europe. We are very excited to be acquiring a company that is established and well recognized within this market,” says Michael Blichmann, the general manager of Bosch Energy and Building Solutions GmbH. Astrim Energia S.r.l. is one of the ten largest energy service providers in Italy. The company's operations are primarily based in northern and central Italy.
Public procurement certification The core competencies of Astrim Energia S.r.l. include the planning, implementation and operation of energy technology systems within the context of long-term customer projects. Combined heat and power generation technology is predominantly used in these projects. Astrim Energia S.r.l. is one of the few companies in Italy to have public procurement certification. At present, the company has long-term energy efficiency contracts in place with around 75 customers, including public-sector clients and manufacturing companies as well as hotels, hospitals, and shopping malls.
Giorgio Bergamini, the general manager of Astrim Energia S.r.l, sees the planned acquisition by Bosch as an important milestone in the development of the company: “We are looking forward to working with Bosch in unlocking further market potential and in successfully moving our company forward.”
Saving energy costs over the long term Astrim Energia S.r.l. will form part of the Energy and Building Solutions business area, which offers owners of large building complexes comprehensive services relating to the efficient management and supply of energy, with the aim of ensuring long-term energy cost savings. The range of services available in this business area includes everything from advice and the optimization of existing systems to constructing and operating entire systems and local heat networks.
“In addition to the expertise our experienced engineers have to offer, one of the strengths of Bosch Energy and Building Solutions GmbH is our ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of other Bosch Group divisions,” Blichmann says. These areas include HVAC, photovoltaic, and security technology, as well as software and systems technology. “This wealth of expertise enables our company to offer customers a range of services that goes far beyond the portfolio of providers that focus solely on energy services,” Blichmann adds. The acquisition of Astrim Energia S.r.l. also marks the Bosch subsidiary's entry into the international market for energy-efficiency services.
Facility offers local service to African and Middle Eastern markets
Bosch sees substantial market potential in Africa
Bosch Packaging already major supplier in South Africa
Waiblingen / Cairo – Bosch Packaging Technology, one of the leading suppliers of total solutions in packaging and process technology, has announced the opening of a new sales and service office in Cairo, Egypt. With a population of over 80 million and growing, Egypt is experiencing tremendous growth in the food, confectionery, and pharmaceutical industries. Bosch’s new office provides local sales and service support to meet the increasing packaging demands of the food, confectionery, and pharmaceutical markets in Egypt and beyond, including large parts of Africa and the Middle East. Bosch has seen substantial market potential in Africa, which is the reason it became the first major supplier of packaging machines to have an assembly location in South Africa.
Since its doors first opened in July 2012, the office has gained ten associates. Additionally, the company has plans to double its staff by the end of 2013, continuing to generate employment opportunities in Cairo.
Previously, Bosch companies abroad supported regional and multinational customers. Now, these customers will benefit from a local presence backed by an international network.
Mazen Touban, general manager of the new office in Cairo said: “In every country I’ve worked, the key to success is always personal contact with the customer. Our Egyptian office gives us a local presence to better serve our customers with packaging technology and after-sales services.”
Born in Syria, Touban brings 20 years of experience working for Bosch in France, Germany, and India, and managed markets in Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East. His experience brings an unparalleled ability to link different cultures, critical to prospering in today’s global marketplace.
Bosch’s extensive competence as a single-source supplier of processing and automation technology, as well as primary and secondary packaging technology, has earned the company a solid reputation as a trusted partner that is able to meet the varied challenges of the Egyptian market. Due to imperfect food distribution channels in Egypt, all food products must be packaged and consumed quickly, before they become unfit for consumption. This is also the case elsewhere in Africa. In addition, middle class consumers are increasingly shifting from small shops to large supermarkets, while the lower income population prefers to buy in smaller quantities. From single flow wrappers to full packaging systems, Bosch provides flexible solutions that allow manufacturers to meet the needs of all consumers. In addition, according to the Oxford Business Group, the Egyptian pharmaceutical market is expected to grow at a rate of 11 percent through 2015.
Bosch has set a 2013 sales target for its Cairo office in the mid double-digit million euro range for machines and services, for which key markets are the pharmaceutical and food industries. In particular, Bosch already has a strong reputation in the regional food industry. An example is its partnership with one of the largest tea manufacturers, which uses Bosch machines to package approximately 5,000 tons of tea annually on bag-in-box lines.
Meet Bosch at the Dubai Gulfood 2013, February 25-28 in the Dubai World Trade Centre, booth S1-F23.
Energy for own consumption or energy trading – even when there is no wind
Braderup/Stuttgart – In future, a battery the size of a small sports hall will store the energy generated by the community wind farm in Braderup in northern Germany. Less energy will therefore be lost when power grids on the coast are overburdened and unable to transmit electricity. Large batteries are also useful when more energy is being produced than is needed at the time. They store energy and release it later – for example, during periods of calm winds or high demand. To realize this project, Robert Bosch GmbH and the community wind park run by BWP Braderup-Tinningstedt GmbH & Co. KG agreed on February 4, 2013 to form the company Energiespeicher Nord GmbH & Co. KG with the aim of building and operating a giant battery.
“The project is a milestone on the way to a future powered by renewable energies. We expect to gain many new insights into how batteries can help stabilize power grids. Batteries play a key role in ensuring energy supplies on days with little wind or sun,” says Cordelia Thielitz, Bosch project manager and member of the board of management of the new company.
Enough energy to power 400 single-family detached homes for one day Braderup is just a few kilometers from Sylt and the North Sea coast. Due to the rapid expansion of wind power, grids in northern Germany are often overburdened. Individual wind farms then have to be removed from the grid – and the wind power remains unused. To prevent these losses, in addition to the six wind turbines planned by the community wind farm in Braderup Bosch will build and operate the new megawatt battery system and integrate it into the power grid.
The battery can deliver one megawatt of power for four hours. In other words, it has a capacity of four megawatt hours, enough to power around 400 single-family detached homes for one whole day.
The giant battery will be housed in a building with almost 600 square meters of floor space. There are also plans to install a photovoltaic system on the roof to harness additional energy. If everything goes to plan, the wind turbines will be up and running by July 2013 and the battery by December. The wind farm will be connected to the power grid of E.ON Hanse.
Power – even with no wind Jan Martin Hansen, fellow member of the board of management of Energiespeicher Nord GmbH & Co. KG alongside Cordelia Thielitz, explains: “Once the battery is installed, we can offer renewable energies even when the wind is not blowing. Our community wind farm therefore solves an important problem. This makes us a reliable partner that can ensure a constant supply of renewably generated electricity.” Hansen is a farmer in Braderup, which has a population of 700. The new wind farm will provide an additional source of income for the rural region.
The new company will operate and manage the battery system that will store the energy from the planned six wind turbines (3.3 megawatts each). The technology and services company Bosch is developing the control electronics, is responsible for systems integration, and is testing different operating variants in Braderup. These include trading on the power exchange and stabilizing the power grid. These tests aim to validate the technical and financial benefits of the battery and provide valuable insights for new commercial projects.
By offering greater flexibility, such storage systems promote the more efficient use of renewable energies. Biogas or solar systems and co-generation plants can also store generated energy in the same way. The initiators of the wind farm benefit, among other things, from higher revenues.
Background: Overburdened power grids and climate protection Energiespeicher Nord GmbH & Co. KG was formed against the backdrop of rising demand for energy around the globe. We are also experiencing fundamental changes in energy supply – moving away from large power plants that burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas toward renewable energies. However, the supply of renewable energies fluctuates constantly with the wind or sun. The German government expects renewable energies to account for around 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.
Fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil are increasingly being replaced by renewable energies – this reduces CO2 emissions and promotes climate protection. Batteries can reduce the strain on overburdened power grids and are therefore an important part of state-of-the-art and sustainable energy systems.
For more information, see: The German government's National Action Plan for Renewable Energy: http://bit.ly/Sdr2SW The German Renewable Energy Federation BEE's comments on the future of energy supplies: http://bit.ly/13LxoMN
Contact person for press inquiries: Cordelia Thielitz, phone +49 711 811-38291