Research

Bosch heads up research project IT solutions to stabilize connected logistics systems Using real time data from production and logistics to aid decision making

  • ProveIT project receives funding from German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Focus on developing a software platform for informed manual interventions in connected logistics systems
  • Aim: cost-effective and reliable supply chains
Stuttgart – Industry and commerce now depend more than ever on reliable logistics. In practice, however, supply chains face numerous challenges from disruptions such as traffic jams, technical issues, missing goods, and any number of other unforeseeable circumstances. This then calls for manual correction. In the ProveIT project (production plan based recovery of vehicle routing plans within integrated transport networks), researchers are now developing an IT platform that will give dispatchers the tools they need to make objectively assessed and dependable interventions in connected logistics systems. The aim is to build up reliable, cost-effective supply chains that are not disrupted due to misguided reactions and interventions. Following approval by the German parliament, the research project is receiving funding of 2.8 million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Robert Bosch GmbH is acting as the lead partner.

Logistics chains and the butterfly effect
The logistics sector still lacks this sort of decision aid. As supply chains become more and more complex, covering large areas and running according to tight schedules, any disruption – as well as any reaction to a disruption – has a knock-on effect on the entire logistics network. Without access to a reliable set of data and a high-performance IT platform, it is extremely difficult for logistics employees to assess what corrective action makes sense in any given situation. The ProveIT platform will supply dispatchers with the information they need to respond correctly to disruptions. It is also designed to restore disrupted transport networks to their normal operational state quickly. Reliable logistics networks are also a core component of connected industry (industry 4.0).

Incorporating production data
The project team is drawing on a range of familiar technologies, including vehicle tracking using GPS and software for transport planning. What's new is that production information is also incorporated into the decision making process. How urgently does the auto plant, say, need the materials it ordered? Is it a case of topping up supplies, or will production break down if the materials are not delivered promptly? Big data relating to unit sales of products and the traffic situation can also be incorporated into the platform, which will pool all this information and provide users – both companies and logistics service providers – with a range of services for planning and managing logistical processes. For instance, if actual data begin to depart from target data, the platform will warn users and display appropriate responses. The responses offered will take into account the implications for the whole transport network, considering actions holistically rather than in isolation. To enable the platform to factor in real-time data such as vehicle position or delivery status, the project partners are also developing an application that truck drivers can use on their mobile devices.

Bringing together partners from industry, IT development, and research
Together, the members of the project consortium possess all the expertise needed to develop and run the ProveIT platform. Robert Bosch GmbH is heading the project and, like ZF Friedrichshafen AG, is an industrial user of the platform. The logistics service provider Geis has assumed responsibility for the planning of transport operations and operational implementation. The IT providers LOCOM and PTV are developing system solutions for transport planning and management, while the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is overseeing the components used to manage irregularities and disruptions. Responsibility for the global concept and scientific approach lies with the Institute for Materials Handling and Logistics (IFL) at the KIT. In the first phase of the project, the consortium will build up a common system architecture, which will then be tested and refined in pilot operation.

More efficient logistics
ProveIT won't just benefit industry and its suppliers; commerce and transport companies stand to gain as well. The project provides improved tactical support by stabilizing logistics systems in the event of disruption and bringing them back on schedule. This makes supply chains more cost-effective – the project partners anticipate that ProveIT will be able to reduce total mileage by 5 percent for a given transport volume, with all the savings that brings in terms of energy, costs, and CO2 emissions. The project is due to run until fall 2016.

Project partners:
Robert Bosch GmbH
ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Geis Transport und Logistik GmbH
LOCOM Software GmbH
PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG
Research Center for Information Technology (FZI) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Material Handling and Logistics (IFL) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
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  • December 16, 2014
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International presence Bosch forecasts strong growth in India Denner: We want to double our Asian business by 2020

  • More than 680 million euros invested in India since 2010
  • Substantial increase in number of innovations per year
  • Excellent growth potential for motorcycle powertrain systems
Bangalore/Stuttgart – The Bosch Group is forecasting further strong growth for India over the next few years, and expects to see positive economic development in the country over the medium and long term. Accordingly, the company sees India as a key pillar of its growth strategy in Asia Pacific. “Over the past ten years, Bosch has doubled its sales in Asia Pacific to 11.1 billion euros in 2013. By 2020, we are aiming to double our sales in the region again,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, during a press briefing in Bangalore, India. Denner forecasts that after registering projected economic growth of around 4.8 percent this year, India will likely grow by 6 percent in 2015. This makes the country one of the global engines of growth alongside China. “We expect to see India establish itself as the world's fifth largest vehicle manufacturer by the end of this decade,” Denner said.

The Bosch Group has been active on the subcontinent since 1922. In 2013, the company generated sales in India of approximately 1.2 billion euros, a three-fold increase over ten years ago. Bosch currently employs 27,000 associates at ten production sites and seven R&D locations in India. Since 2010, the Bosch Group has invested around 680 million euros in the expansion of manufacturing and research facilities there, of which some 160 million were invested in the current year alone.

Innovative solutions from India
India is home to the technology and services company's largest development center outside Germany, employing 10,500 engineers. “We develop innovative solutions there which are used in products around the world,” said Steffen Berns, president of the Bosch Group in India. The rising number of patents filed testifies to the successful work at the center: from 20 registered innovations in 2008, this figure rose to 220 last year. “That's a more than ten-fold increase within five years,” Berns said. Among the innovations developed by the Bangalore-based center is a compact retina camera with special software that can detect conditions such as cataracts at an early stage. This fast and cost-effective eye diagnostic tool was specifically designed to meet the needs of the Indian market, and can be easily put into use in similar regions as well.

Dynamic growth in two-wheeler market
Bosch also sees excellent opportunities in the booming two-wheeler market: last year it registered a growth rate of 14 percent, making it one of the most dynamic markets in India. “We predict that the number of two-wheelers sold annually on the subcontinent will reach 27 million by 2020,” Denner said. Worldwide, the number of motorbikes and electric e-scooters sold is expected to increase from 100 million today to 150 million by the end of the decade. By comparison, Bosch forecasts that some 110 million new cars will be sold worldwide in 2020.

Against this backdrop, Bosch is also entering the global motorcycle market with new powertrain systems. Especially in Asia and India, efficient powertrains can play an important part in reducing environmental impact. For this reason, Bosch has developed an affordable and robust engine management system that is specially designed for the Indian and Asian markets. Currently, many machines in Asia are still fitted with carburetors. It is precisely here that Bosch believes its technology offers a decisive advantage: “Compared with the mechanically controlled carburetor, and depending on situation, the electronically controlled fuel-injection system can reduce fuel consumption by up to 16 percent,” Denner said. This also significantly reduces emissions and conserves valuable resources. In addition, Bosch already supplies safety solutions for two-wheelers including ABS and the new MSC motorcycle stability control, which improves safety when braking and accelerating, even when the rider is leaning into a bend.
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  • October 30, 2014
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Innovation dialogue involving politics, industry, and academia Federal government asks Bosch CEO to join steering committee Denner: “Germany can lead the world in connectivity”

  • Dialogue participants discuss subjects with technological and future relevance
  • Bosch CEO Denner: “In the race for a connected world, Germany must use its strengths”
  • Bosch start-up platform encourages entrepreneurship in the company
Berlin – Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has appointed the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner to the steering committee of the innovation dialogue, in which the federal government consults with the business and academic communities. At its regular meetings, the committee focuses on technological subjects and the effect that political, economic, and social conditions will have on such things as Germany’s future innovative strength. The discussions are attended by the federal chancellor and the ministers for economic affairs, education, and special tasks on the one hand, and representatives of the business and academic communities on the other. The committee is chaired by Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, president of Germany’s National Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech). “The future of German business lies in connectivity, both technologically and organizationally. It is both appropriate and necessary that politics, industry, and academia should work together to strengthen Germany’s status as a seat of innovation,” said Denner, who is both CEO and CTO of the Bosch Group. “In particular, the close networks between business and science are one of Germany’s main strengths in the global competition among knowledge-based societies,” Denner went on.

Germany needs more innovative business models
The Bosch CEO is confident that “Germany can lead the world in connectivity. We are in an excellent position to do so.” When it comes to connected manufacturing, Denner stressed that Germany still has a strong industrial base. “Our know-how in manufacturing things, combined with our expertise in IT and automation engineering, gives us a very real advantage in the race for the connected world.” However, Denner does not believe that Germany’s future competitiveness is set in stone. While German industry has always been a technological pioneer, “innovative business models still tend to be the hallmark of Silicon Valley. In the internet age, German companies also have to be innovative in their business models.”

Bosch start-up platform: encouraging entrepreneurship in the company
The Bosch CEO sees a need to catch up in two areas above all: first, in technical infrastructure (e.g. poor broadband networks) and, second, in its culture of entrepreneurship, which is still underdeveloped. “The number of start-ups in Germany has fallen constantly over the past ten years. This is clearly not the development we need,” Denner said. Increasingly, therefore, Bosch is encouraging entrepreneurship within the company. Only recently, the company’s own start-up platform went into operation. It provides support to Bosch associates wanting to set up their own company. Denner went on: “Our associates have proved that they are good researchers. Now we want them to be good businesspeople as well.” While associates focus on making their innovations ready for the market, the start-up platform helps them with administrative matters such as management accounting and financing.
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  • October 14, 2014
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New Bosch Center for Research and Advance Engineering Associates begin moving to new research campus Building project to be completed by early summer 2015

  • Some 800 associates expected to move in by the end of 2014 Project on schedule: Remaining construction and move to be completed by early summer 2015
  • Bosch CEO Denner: “The new Renningen location will enhance the Bosch Group’s innovative strength”
  • Campus-like atmosphere promotes creativity and more networking
Renningen – The time has finally come for the first researchers and engineers to move into the Bosch Center for Research and Advance Engineering in Renningen. Almost two and a half years after the groundbreaking ceremony, some 800 associates are set to start working at the new research campus by the end of 2014. The center in Renningen will be the hub of Bosch’s global research network. Until now, corporate research and advance engineering activities have been spread out at locations in Gerlingen, Schwieberdingen, and Waiblingen. With the move of the first 800 out of a total of 1,700 associates, the Bosch location is now officially open for business. By tightening its network of researchers, the global provider of technology and services aims to further enhance its innovative strength. “The new Renningen location will enhance the Bosch Group’s innovative strength. Bosch’s strategic aim is to develop solutions for a connected life. To this end, we are creating an even tighter network of researchers and engineers in Renningen and beyond,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management. With its new hub, the research network of the global provider of technology and services will comprise eight locations in six countries from 2015 onward. Bosch is investing some 310 million euros for the new research center, which is located outside of Stuttgart.

Logistical challenge – A move in several steps
By the end of 2014, Bosch researchers will have moved into buildings at the eastern end of the site, as well as into the main building. The buildings on the western half of the site will be completed in the first quarter of 2015, at which point associates will be moving in. The move to the new research campus is gradually taking place over a period of about six months, and involves mastering special logistical challenges. Many of the laboratories and research facilities must be carefully dismantled, packed, transported, and rebuilt for operations in Renningen. In total, some 1,800 machines and technical equipment from 270 laboratories are being moved from existing locations to Renningen. By early summer 2015, more than 12,000 boxes will be moved to the new research campus.

Campus with ideal research conditions
“For the first time, Bosch is pooling its research and advance engineering activities in the greater Stuttgart region at a single location. This highlights the importance of research at Bosch,” said Dr. Michael Bolle, president of corporate research and advance engineering at Bosch. The new research center is tailored specifically to the needs of researchers. Based on the concept of a university campus, the buildings are generously spread out across a large site. The specially developed office concept offers an attractive work environment that promotes creativity and cooperation. “The interior design of the buildings and the floor plan reflect our innovation process. For each phase of this process, our associates will have ideal working conditions,” Bolle said. Thanks to the close proximity of office spaces to workshops and laboratories, researchers can put their ideas to the test without delay.

A powerhouse of innovation – 20 patents per working day
In 2013, Bosch filed a total of 4,964 patents, an average of 20 per working day. This makes the company one of the world’s top ranking in terms of patent applications. Last year, the global provider of technology and services spent 4.5 billion euros on research and development, almost 10 percent of its sales. The company currently employs some 42,700 researchers and engineers. At locations around the world, some 1,300 associates work for the company’s corporate research and advance engineering department.

More information on the new Center for Research and Advance Engineering can be found at www.bosch-renningen.de.

Factsheet "New research and advance engineering center in Renningen"

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  • October 09, 2014
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