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The Bosch plant in Feuerbach – where tradition meets high-tech

Dennis Christmann

Dennis Christmann >

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Feuerbach, in Germany, is home to Bosch’s biggest, as well as oldest, location worldwide. It was established by Robert Bosch himself in 1909, and is home to a Bosch plant that has been in existence for more than a century. In other words, it has a rich history. At the same time, it also has a very bright future – not least because the plant has kept pace with progress and is now profiting from the benefits of Industry 4.0 in the areas of manufacturing, maintenance, transport, and monitoring. For example, with a network of over 550 items of connected machinery throughout the plant, the condition of individual production systems can be monitored via a graphic display showing their current operating status. Equipped with this knowledge, plant engineers can intervene at a first sign of a problem, thereby reducing machinery downtime and increasing output.

At the same time, the plant also benefits in the field of logistics, where seamless connectivity has substantially enhanced processes and brought greater transparency. For example, a smart supermarket system with put-to-light technology automates the management of inventory and simplifies sorting in a materials store that is located close to the production line. All parts removed are recorded by the inventory management system, and replacement orders automatically dispatched. The resulting transportation is undertaken by digitalized milk runs or fully autonomous ActiveShuttles.

Alongside the extensive deployment of software-based solutions, the Feuerbach plant is also driving forward the development of human-machine interaction. This includes the use of APAS, an automatic production assistant that works hand in hand with human operatives without the need for a protective fence. In other words, Industry 4.0 is changing the face of manufacturing and, with it, the nature of manufacturing jobs. Feuerbach has been quick to respond to this trend. In spring 2018, skilled workers from the plant commenced training for the new, nationwide qualification for Industry 4.0 specialists established by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK).

In addition, in its role at Industry 4.0 lead plant, Feuerbach is doing pioneering work on 5G for the entire Bosch manufacturing network with its approximately 270 plants. For this purpose, Bosch has applied for a 5G license to build a private campus network.

General information

Plant nameFeuerbach Plant
Established1909
Surface areaapprox. 109,100 m²
Workforceapprox. 3,000
ProductsHigh-pressure pumps and components for exhaust-gas treatment
Core competenciesLead plant functions, digitalization/Industry 4.0, carbon coating, contact measurement, Bainitic hardening
DivisionPowertrain Solutions

Facts and figures: Industry 4.0 in Feuerbach

  • Over 550 items of connected machinery
  • 10 percent reduction in cycle times
  • Over 50 percent reduction in administrative overheads for production management due to introduction of the Active Cockpit interactive communication platform
  • Over 50 percent reduction in energy requirements (as per January 2019), also as a result of smart connectivity for diverse data sources
  • 47 percent reduction in CO2 emissions (as per January 2019)

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2019). The company generated sales of 77.7 billion euros in 2019. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. 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 Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs some 72,600 associates in research and development at 126 locations across the globe, as well as roughly 30,000 software engineers.

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 upfront 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, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

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