Bosch showcases contact-free collaborative robots for the flexible factory

Sabina Kentsch >


  • Humans at the heart of industry 4.0
  • Direct human-machine interaction without safety fence
  • Project AQUIAS: how robots can learn from severely disabled people

Stuttgart, Germany – At the international trade fair Motek 2016 in Stuttgart, Bosch shows examples of flexible human-machine interaction (hall 7, booth 7225). The APAS assistance systems are mobile automation devices for the use in flexible and connected factories of the future. “Products are becoming more and more individual, their life cycles are shortening, batch sizes are getting smaller,” says Wolfgang Pomrehn, product manager of the APAS assistance systems. “To adapt to changing market requirements quickly, we need new models of human-machine cooperation, where humans should always come first. The APAS assistant, for instance, works directly with the staff without a safety fence, and supports employees in their daily work.”

Collision-free cooperation at a joint workplace

If an employee gets too close to the APAS assistant, the robot stops immediately – even before man and machine touch – and only resumes his work when the employee has left the close range. This contact-free interaction is facilitated by the specially developed sensor skin from Bosch, which encloses the robot arm entirely. An optional function further makes it possible to monitor the extended far range via laser scanner. As long as no employee is located in the far range, the production assistant operates at maximum speed. Once the monitored zone is entered, the APAS assistant automatically drops to a lower speed. This tiered safety concept allows the assistant to adjust its operating speed to the presence or absence of humans.

The robot kinematic of the APAS assistant can also be integrated into a standardized workplace as individual component. The employee receives an individually aligned, ergonomic working environment. Table height and lighting automatically adjust to the user. The intuitive, dialog-controlled user interface projects information right onto the work space, thus offering further relief, while the user has all required information available at a glance.

The APAS assistant can be trained for new jobs without special programming skills. Moreover, it can be connected with further assistance systems and integrated into existing production lines. In the background, the IT Shopfloor Solutions – a combination of scalable hardware and software modules – which Bosch has been continuously developing for 15 years, ensure safety, communication, efficiency and transparency along the entire manufacturing chain. The Bosch solution connects different machines, such as the APAS assistant, regardless of product or brand.

Project AQUIAS: more quality of work despite disability

The mobile production assistant can also be used in non-industrial surroundings, as the project AQUIAS, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, shows. Together with two Fraunhofer institutes, Bosch is investigating the cooperation of the APAS assistant with physically and mentally disabled people. “We want to find out how the production assistant can best support these people,” Pomrehn says. “The robot should learn to adapt to their requirements and enable them to participate in attractive work.”

More information about the APAS assistance systems is available at

Contact person for press inquiries:

Sabina Kentsch

phone: +49 711 811-30503

Based in Waiblingen near Stuttgart, Germany, and employing 6,100 associates, the Bosch Packaging Technology division is one of the leading suppliers of process and packaging technology. At over 30 locations in more than 15 countries worldwide, a highly-qualified workforce develops and produces complete solutions for the pharmaceuticals, food, and confectionery industries. These solutions are complemented by a comprehensive after-sales service portfolio. A global service and sales network provides customers with local points of contact.

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The Bosch Group The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 403,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2019). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 77.9 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 company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. 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 deliver innovations for a connected life. 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. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 72,000 associates in research and development.

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