563 participants in the local “Jugend forscht” heats across Baden-Württemberg
More than 100 talented young people prove Baden-Württemberg's inventive spirit in the regional round
Projects ranging from robotics and mobile observatories to balloons that can save lives
Visitors' day in Fellbach from 1 p.m. on April 10, 2014
Fellbach – 107 young researchers will demonstrate Baden-Württemberg's innovative strength and inventive spirit in the 49th regional round of the “Jugend forscht” competition, with the best ideas being selected by a judges' panel from April 8 – 10, 2014. The winners will represent Baden-Württemberg in the national competition, which will be held in May, and whose motto this year is “Make your idea happen.” The patron of the regional round is Andreas Stoch, Baden-Württemberg's minister for culture, youth, and sport. This is the 29th time that Bosch is sponsoring the regional competition. Speaking ahead of the competition, Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH, said: “The record-breaking number of participants this year shows the enormous strength of ideas that young people in Baden-Württemberg have. These young people are tomorrow's new recruits who will strengthen Baden-Württemberg as an economic region. Their inventions and approaches to solving problems will contribute to the creative variety of the companies they will work for. That is why Bosch has been involved with this competition for many years now, as a way of getting young people interested in technical careers from an early age.”
Girls, too, show a growing interest in technology Interest across Baden-Württemberg in the “Jugend forscht” competition continues to grow, with this year's number of 563 participants and 281 projects breaking all records. Compared to last year, participation has risen by around seven percent and the number of projects by around eleven percent. The number of young women taking part has also gone up. Where last year just one in four participants was female, this year it is almost one in three. The majority of entries are in the areas of technology, biology, and the world of work. “If the 'Jugend forscht' competition didn't already exist, you'd have to invent it! For decades now, it has helped to get boys and girls of school age excited about the natural sciences and technology – which means it complements a central plank of the culture ministry's educational goals: support for MINT subjects,” says the competition's patron Andreas Stoch in reference to math, IT, science, and engineering in schools. Stoch congratulated all participants on the talent, exemplary commitment, and outstanding effort they have shown.
“Jugend forscht” opens its doors to visitors The young researchers will present their projects to the general public on Thursday, April 10, 2014, with tomorrow's research experts and their project supervisors staging a question-and-answer event between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Schwabenlandhalle auditorium, Tainer Strasse 7, Fellbach. Entry is free of charge.
From life-saving balloons to robotics A total of 281 projects were entered for the ten local heats across Baden-Württemberg. Of these, 57 qualified for the regional round, where a specialist panel of judges from schools, universities, and industry will select a winning project for each of the following categories: biology, chemistry, geosciences and space, math/IT, physics, technology, and the world of work. The winners of the regional competition will be honored on the morning of Thursday, April 10, 2014. They will go on to represent Baden-Württemberg in the national competition in Künzelsau, Germany, from May 29 to June 1, 2014.
World of work category – life-saving balloon The invention that Robin Jäger, Jannik Notter, and Philip Holzinger came up with at Bosch in Stuttgart-Feuerbach can save lives. They have developed a balloon with an integrated camera that automatically goes up whenever a truck is involved in an accident. This provides emergency crews with aerial images even before they reach the scene, so they can assess the situation on the ground.
Chemistry category – fire-fighting plaster Firefighters are outpaced by the blend of plaster developed by Carolin Langner, Julian Strähle, and Leo Scheibe at the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Gymnasium in Metzingen. In the event of a fire, their plaster blend releases carbon dioxide and water to delay the fire's spread. It has potential for use in residential construction.
Geosciences and space category – mobile observatory Hannes Häbich, Henrik Jäger, and Florian Stober from Murrhardt have proved that observatories don't have to be big. They have converted a car trailer into a mobile observatory for use in research and as a star guide.
Technology category – soccer-playing robots Ruben Bauer, Eric Hauser, and Christoph Moser at the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Tuttlingen are developing two robots for a game of soccer. This sees them researching innovative drive systems, how to register surroundings with the help of various sensors, and communication between robots. They hope to transfer the knowledge this has brought them to other technology problems.
Bosch has been sponsoring young people's enthusiasm for technology since 1986 As a provider of technology and services, Bosch has sponsored not only the “Jugend forscht” competition in Baden-Württemberg since 1986, it also supports two further regional “Jugend forscht” heats. Bosch Thermotechnology took on the task of organizing the regional competition for central Hessen in 1996, while Bosch is also active in the Hildesheim region, where it sponsors “Jugend forscht” in conjunction with other companies.
In addition, Bosch is an active founding partner of the “Knowledge Factory – Companies for Germany” initiative, which is also focused on educating and supporting young people in the fields of science, business, and technology. Across the country, Bosch has established 280 partnerships with educational institutions including day-care centers and schools.
Bosch is a leading supplier and leading user of connected industry
Bosch pools its own expertise and benefits from a broad-based footing
The real Industry 4.0 revolution is in business models
Hannover – “At Bosch, we’re not just making connected industry a reality, it already is – and its future is bright around the world.” These were the words of Bosch board of management member Dr. Werner Struth at the CeBIT Global Conference. The technology and services company is relying on its own expertise and on its broad-based footing to implement connected industry (“Industry 4.0”). “We have all the competencies we need to turn connected industry into reality, both for ourselves and for our customers and partners,” Struth continued. Bosch is not only a leading supplier but also a leading user of these technologies. The company already offers software and hardware solutions for connected industry, and has successfully introduced aspects of connected industry at its own plants, including standardized data exchange between companies.
Exploratory approach and broad-based footing “Worldwide, we’re currently running some 50 pilot projects to put beneficial use cases for connected industry to the test,” said Struth, whose responsibilities as a member of the Bosch board of management include manufacturing systems. The company’s approach is both centralized and decentralized: it gives the various projects attached to different Bosch units a great deal of freedom in how the functional specifics of each use case are defined. Meanwhile, it sets up a central organizational unit to act as global coordinator for the various initiatives, in particular as regards a unified software and hardware architecture. “Working in this way allows us to realize economies of scale in how we grow our knowledge base,” Struth continued. “The exploratory approach we’re taking leads to new, inspiring, and innovative solutions.” He went on to say that from the user’s point of view it is important for technical standards to be defined that allow easy configuration of systems, and that it is also essential to give due weight to security considerations.
With more than 260 manufacturing sites worldwide, Bosch has extensive manufacturing know-how, stretching from the manufacturing of millions of automotive components to the customized manufacturing of packaging machinery. This know-how is complemented by the software expertise of the company’s own software and systems unit, Bosch Software Innovations.
The real revolution is in business models Struth pointed out that the current phase is centered on two key tasks. One of them is to develop further enablers for connected industry, for instance data recording and transmission using RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags or web-enabled sensors, along with data mining. The other task is to develop beneficial use cases and new business models. “In what people are calling the fourth industrial revolution, the real revolution will be in new business models. And those who stand to gain from connected industry are those who can develop user-oriented solutions,” Struth stressed.
Wide range of applications planned, including in the automotive sector
Stuttgart – Complex construction projects show us how important it is to work through the scenarios of all possible future uses and plan accordingly. But this isn't true for construction clients alone; industrial companies, too, can plan more accurately and cost-effectively if they put their products through a “virtual stress test” early on in the development process. The EffektiV research project aims to develop just such a testing method, initially for at the automation industry.
Making entire systems fault-proof The research team's first task is to develop a testing method for motion control systems, which are used in the automation industry to electronically control the movements of conveyor belts, robot arms, and the like. Motion control systems are made up of a whole series of components that must interact absolutely smoothly. But what happens if one of these components develops a fault during operation? For instance, individual chips within the control unit might malfunction, a motor might overheat due to faulty bearings, or a sensor might provide erroneous data. Faults of this kind must not be allowed to cause the entire system to breakdown, nor to irreparably damage individual components. It is just as important to prevent incidents in which people are injured – when a robot arm wheels around, for example.
Tests on virtual prototypes Using the method developed in the EffektiV project, motion control systems can be put through their paces early on in their development – by employing virtual prototypes. A virtual model of the system is created in advance of the real prototype. Playing out all relevant fault scenarios in this model makes it possible to avoid faults and make the entire system safer and more robust. Currently, the automation industry relies on traditional hardware prototypes – but this means that it is only relatively late in the development process that the various components are brought together for testing as an overall system. “Virtual models can be tested much earlier and more comprehensively than today's hardware prototypes. That brings down the number of development cycles and avoids costly redesigns,” says Dr. Jan-Hendrik Oetjens, who coordinates the EffektiV project at Robert Bosch GmbH. Since the risk of discovering a malfunction at a late stage is particularly high in new, highly complex products, it is for these that stress testing makes the most sense.
Safety despite increasing complexity Even though this testing method is being developed for the automation industry, it is intended to be applicable in a range of other branches as well. For instance, it can help to make a vehicle's ESP® electronic stability program, driver assistance systems, and airbag systems even safer. The EffektiV project is also helping to prepare the German economy for “Industry 4.0”, a vision of future industrial manufacturing that is heavily networked and hence extremely complex. Here, products themselves will be in charge of their own production process, adjusting it to match custom requests. It is a vision that depends on what are known as cyber-physical systems, which combine real objects with the virtual world. In this way, EffektiV is helping to keep up the pace of innovation while maintaining the highest possible level of operational safety – and to improve the competitiveness of Germany's high-tech sector.
Three companies working with four research institutions EffektiV stands for “efficient fault simulation with virtual prototypes for the qualification of smart motion control systems in industrial automation.” Launched in October 2013 and set to run for three years, the project brings together three major German companies and four German research institutions. The hope is that access to such a depth of expertise will ensure the stress test and the associated method are widely applicable. Robert Bosch GmbH is the lead partner, with Infineon Technologies AG as development partner and Siemens AG as application partner. The research tasks are being carried out by the FZI Research Center for Information Technology in Karlsruhe, the University of Bremen, the University of Paderborn, and Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen.
Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing over seven million euros of funding for the EffektiV research project as part of its IKT 2020 research program.
Information in real time thanks to fully virtual supply chain
Bosch board member Asenkerschbaumer: networks are now more efficient, flexible, and eco-friendly
VDA president Wissmann: intelligent production a major competitive advantage for Germany
Expert judges praise the solution's consistency
Frankfurt. Bosch has received the Association of German Car Manufacturers' (VDA) Logistics Award. The global supplier of technology and services has been awarded the prize for completely virtualizing physical flows of goods, which can now be tracked in real time with intelligent software systems. The analysis of the data obtained helps manage and further improve processes. Successful data sharing across the company has been one of the project's major achievements. Standardized data can now be exchanged and shared between companies seamlessly and in real time. This makes it possible to optimize production and supply networks in a comprehensive manner. “Suppliers and customers can open up their processes for each other and integrate them with each other. This is making the vision of consistent data transmission in industrial supply chains reality. The result is efficient, flexible, and eco-friendly production and logistics networks,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the awards ceremony in Frankfurt. For instance, over the course of a pilot project at Bosch's Homburg site in Germany, the efficiency of logistics processes was improved by some 10 percent.
Intelligent production strengthens Germany as an industrial location Matthias Wissmann, the VDA president, emphasized the significance of the awarded innovation: “Intelligent production and logistics processes strengthen Germany's competitiveness as an industrial location. With their product and process innovations, German suppliers are playing a major role in ensuring that the German automotive industry is always one step ahead of the competition. With the help of the award, outstanding, innovative logistics concepts can serve as inspiration for all companies that are looking for creative and intelligent logistics solutions.” The standardized data-sharing concept that Bosch has now applied across the board is based on the findings of the RAN research project (radio frequency identification (RFID)-based automotive network). The project was set up with the aim of developing new management concepts for automotive industry production networks.
Using virtual reality to improve the real world “Changes in industrial production, which in Germany are generally referred to as Industry 4.0, have long been underway. These changes are now being put into practice and are thus becoming visible,” said Asenkerschbaumer, the member of the Bosch board of management responsible for purchasing and logistics. On the path to integrated industry, the company is building on the Bosch Production System, which has been successfully applied for years. In the past, the approach focused on optimizing physical production and logistics processes – in other words, on the things that take place in the real world. But new IT technologies have now made it possible to virtualize these processes and flows of goods. This is done via automated data collection, which gathers data on the status of products or transport containers throughout the production and logistics process. Technical aids such as RFID technologies can be used for this purpose. In the past, the physical flow of goods was entered manually into an IT system, a time-consuming exercise that reflected past status rather than present status. Error rates were high and data was never up to date. The flow of information was not in sync with the flow of goods.
From data to knowledge, from knowledge to benefit The large quantity of current and thus high-quality data can be analyzed with the help of software. Intelligent algorithms are applied to illustrate the relationships and interactions between parts of the process. This information can be applied to help further improve the entire system. “The production process optimizes itself,” says Andreas Müller, a Bosch project manager, pointing out the benefits of the modern approach. “New data provides new insights, and these make it possible to further improve the system. In turn, the improved system generates new data, which helps build new, beneficial knowledge. It's a virtuous circle.”
Cooperating to improve the value-added chain By standardizing the flow of data between companies, additional partners can be involved in efforts to optimize processes, including customers and suppliers. “Networked and thus intelligent production and logistics can only become reality once solutions are consistently applied between companies. By implementing this approach with its partners, Bosch has successfully realized the vision of supply chain management,” said Professor Wolfgang Stölzle of the University of St. Gallen, in explaining the judges' decision. Over the course of the pilot project, Bosch is working an engine manufacturer and a supplier of reusable containers.
Outlook: process, sensor technology, and software expertise Bosch is currently implementing the new approach at its own manufacturing sites around the world as well as with additional partners. The company is also working to further develop its technical solutions. Today, RFID tags are common information and data carriers. In the future, web-enabled sensors will also transmit status information about objects. The quantity and quality of data will continue to increase. Intelligent software solutions and high-performance algorithms will evaluate data, and this will open up new potential for improvement. As a leading global manufacturer of sensors, Bosch can rely on its own products in this area. Bosch Software Innovations, a Bosch subsidiary, offers customized software and system solutions. “By combining our expertise in the areas of processes, sensor technology, and software, we can further enhance our own and our partners' value added. On the path toward integrated industry, we see ourselves as a leading user and a leading supplier of software and hardware,” Asenkerschbaumer said. Especially at the interfaces between value-added networks, there is potential to cut costs and create new services.
About the VDA Logistics Award The VDA Logistics Award was presented for the seventh time this year. It was the second time that Bosch received the honor. An innovative Bosch logistics concept was also singled out by an expert panel in 2009. The award recognizes the efforts of companies whose logistics solutions serve as role models for other companies in the automotive industry. The judges' evaluation is based on the cost-effectiveness of the solutions in question. With the prize, the VDA aims to highlight projects that can increase the competitiveness of the German automotive industry. The judges panel is made up of representatives from academia, an OEM, a supplier, specialist media, a logistics association, and the VDA.