Inside Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience

  • August 06, 2019
  • Bosch Rexroth
  • Feature
Inside Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience
Inside Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience

By Bill Lydon, Contribuiting Editor,

Continuous manufacturing improvement is fundamental to remain competitive. Understanding new technologies, methods, and what these technologies and methods make possible is important for manufacturers to prosper in the new wave of manufacturing digitalization.  One learning experience for me came when I visited the new Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience. It showcased several new automation technologies providing manufacturers with insights and ideas that can help them improve their manufacturing performance and competitiveness.  The Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience is located at the Bosch Rexroth Automation & Electrification business unit in Hoffman Estates, IL, outside of Chicago.  Bosch has experts on site providing visitors the opportunity to take advantage of their knowledge and experience.  Bosch hopes that users who understand their manufacturing operations can take advantage of these experts to identify innovative applications and improve their manufacturing.


Catering to SME & Machine Builders

There seems to be a tendency among many to believe that manufacturing digitalization is only for large companies that can make large-scale investments, but with the advances in technology there are also many opportunities for small/medium manufacturers and machine builders. An example of this in the Bosch Rexroth’s Factory of the Future Experience is a drill press with the addition of a Bosch universal programmable MEMS (Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems) sensor device which monitors operations and provide predictive maintenance information, communicated via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communications.

With added intelligent any machine can be monitored for several things including production information, machine health, and predictive maintenance information.

The drill press demonstration drove home the point that with the power and lower cost of technology, any asset on the plant floor can be made more intelligent to improve productivity, quality, and maintenance.


Leveraging MEMS

MEMS is an exciting technology, which Bosch Advanced Sensing IoT Toolkit leverages, through the company’s semiconductors & sensors technologies, into a package solution for the creation of applications that improve efficiency, productivity, reliability, and maintenance.

The  IoT Toolkit is designed to provide users and OEMs with a universal programmable sensor device with integrated processing and communications. The Toolkit includes accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, community sensor, pressure sensor, temperature sensor, acoustic sensor, and digital light sensor.  The unit also features a 32-bit microcontroller ARM Cortex M3, Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, Debug & extension port, Micro SD, Push buttons, Status LEDs, and a Li-Ion rechargeable battery.  The unit, including battery, is housed in a form factor of 60 x 40 x 22 mm³.  Communication options provide connection with other devices including PC or a mobile device via USB, Bluetooth or WLAN, an operating system is already on the XDK based on the open source operating system FreeRTOS enabling real time IoT applications.


Realizing the Factory of the Future

The first step in improving manufacturing for the future involves connecting all sensors, machines, systems and processes, i.e. everything that provides information in an industrial environment.  These connections provide insights and understanding that is a basis for realizing digital improvements in manufacturing.


The Rise of the Digital Twin

One opportunity that monitoring and sensing provides is the ability to create Digital Twins, or virtual copies of the equipment.  This virtual operation of manufacturing provides a method for real-time benchmarking of operations within the plant.


Factory of the Future Experience

Bosch emphasizes connectivity throughout their Factory of the Future experience.

 “In the factory of the future connectivity is key,” said Heiko Schwindt, Bosch Rexroth’s Vice President of Automation and Electrification solutions, “Everything is connected, from field level to cloud-based solutions. Sophisticated software solutions collect, transfer and process manufacturing data to provide maximum production transparency. With our Factory of the Future Experience, Bosch Rexroth is demonstrating to end-user businesses and their machine builders how they can make the Factory of the Future a reality of the present – where mobile and connected production equipment reconfigure themselves independently and flexibly to fast-changing requirements.” 

These are some key highlights for visitors:

  • The informative i4.0 Cube, a four-sided, interactive touchscreen that showcases Rexroth’s Connected Automation Solutions such as the IoT Gateway. Users can touch icons on the i4.0 Cube to explore a variety of i4.0 topics directly from the display.  
  • Rexroth’s connectivity modules that allow end users to communicate with their equipment, production lines and manufacturing facilities. For example, data collection is done with the SCD (Sense Connect Detect), a generation of sensors that are particularly easy to integrate. Bosch Rexroth will show how data from a certain number of SCD sensors can be collected, as well as analyzed and managed in the cloud.  
  • The IoT Gateway connects legacy production equipment to the Internet of Things without intervening in the automation logic. It collects sensor and process data and transmits it to MES, cloud applications or local production monitoring systems.  
  • The Mechatronics@Work demo collects and displays machine and production data to produce a customized package, showing what’s achievable with a packaging machine of the future.  
  • The motor-integrated drive technology, IndraDrive Mi, is intended to reduce the machine footprint of packaging and processing machines thanks to reduced components with up to 90 percent less wiring, and reduced cabinet size and energy consumption.  
  • Rexroth’s drive-integrated safety module SafeMotion and safety control SafeLogic ensure safe operations and unlock automation efficiencies.  
  • Suitable for all packaging, factory automation and motion logic applications, the intelligent Rexroth IndraControl XM is easy to commission and features real-time data.  
  • Rexroth’s OpenCore Engineering builds a bridge to the world of IT, enabling new levels of engineering flexibility for packaging machine design. With open standards, pre-programmed software, machine monitoring and Open Core Interface technology, Open Core Engineering connects machine control automation with IT technology.  
  • The ActiveCockpit, an interactive data visualization and process communications platform designed to support both employees and management personnel in real time.

“Imagine a factory where you can change everything directly from the floor, roof and walls within a few days or even hours. Increasingly short production life cycles, smaller batch sizes and individual product design and forms mark the requirements for future production, which have full flexibility, and are individual and scalable. This is the Factory of the Future,”

Those interested in the Bosch Rexroth Factory of the Future Experience can visit to schedule a tour.

Learn More

Did you enjoy this great article?

Check out our free e-newsletters to read more great articles..