Bosch recently launched a new operating unit, Bosch Connected Industry, to extend its industrial internet software portfolio. Bosch’s newly established Industry Consulting unit assists businesses transition to connected manufacturing.
Digitalisation and connectivity are transforming manufacturing at breakneck speed. Connected production lines permanently monitor their own condition and warn experts before breakdowns. Robots are collaborating ever closer with workers in manufacturing and logistics, boosting productivity.
Findings from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the global market for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will rise by 15 per cent this year, and will be worth a trillion dollars by 2020.
The potential in the long term is not only in hardware or device connectivity, but also in smart software – the essential enabler of IoT applications. The IDC research describes how software and services will play a major role in the success of IoT.
“By 2021, more than 55 per cent of spending on IoT projects will be for software and services. This is directly in line with results from IDC’s 2017 Global IoT Decision Maker Survey where organisations indicate that software and services are the key areas of focused investment for their IoT projects,” said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president, IoT and Mobility at IDC.
“Software creates the foundation upon which IoT applications and use cases can be realised. However, it is the services that help bring all the technology elements together to create a comprehensive solution that will benefit organisations and help them achieve a quicker time to value,” she added.
Bosch extends its Industry 4.0 portfolio
Bosch recently extended its industrial internet software portfolio to complement its digital manufacturing offer.
At the beginning of January 2018, Bosch launched a new operating unit, Bosch Connected Industry, with 500 associates in Germany, Hungary, and China. Bosch is pooling all its Industry 4.0 activities in this new unit, including the fields of software and services.
“We want to make the most of the potential inherent in connected industry, which means we need to assemble the best possible team,” said Bosch board of management member Dr. Stefan Hartung, whose responsibilities include manufacturing coordinating and, in turn, Industry 4.0.
By 2020, the Bosch Group aims to generate more than a billion euros (A$1.6 billion) with Industry 4.0.
Connectivity throughout the value chain
Bosch’s Connected Industry unit’s objective is to support customers in connecting the value chain from end to end.
The portfolio of software that Bosch offers allows companies an entry point into the connected factory that is tailored to their needs, from starter kits and retrofit solutions to the complete package.
That means that individual lines can be combined, and factories and plant networks, including their internal and external logistics, interconnected. A variety of apps and software solutions support workers in their daily tasks.
Relevant manufacturing data are more quickly accessible using mobile devices, which ultimately leads to greater machine availability in production. Internal transport processes and flows of goods outside the company can be seamlessly monitored and traced back.
Workers are kept permanently informed of the location, condition, and delivery time of goods. The result is increased productivity and agility, which boosts competitiveness.
Under the leadership of Bosch engineer Stefan Aßmann, who heads the new operating unit, numerous Industry 4.0 solutions have already been commercialised, including the automated production assistant APAS, for example.
The APAS assistant mobile is a collaborative, flexible, and mobile robot for the Smart Factory. It can be used independent of location and can adapt to different tasks. The intelligent robot system is primarily intended for end users, who require a fast and budget-priced realisation of new operations, as well as a highly robust, easy-to-handle and intuitively controllable system.
Advisors help businesses enter the Industry 4.0 age
The newly established Bosch Industry Consulting unit assists businesses and their employees along the path to a transparent, efficient, and connected factory.
Businesses that seek to transition to connected manufacturing are often faced with the question of which solution is best suited for their specific needs. For instance, how can machines be interconnected in a manufacturing environment that has grown organically over decades?
Bosch offers a broad range of services and consulting including collaborative projects to test new business models. The systematic analysis of huge data sets leads to new, predictive service strategies that increase the availability of manufacturing equipment.
London-based IHS Markit recently published an ebook, titled “The Internet of Things: a movement, not a market,” in which it predicts serious growth for IoT: “The number of connected IoT devices worldwide will jump 12 per cent on average annually, from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030,” it said.
According to the ebook, that growth “is impacting virtually all stages of industry and nearly all market areas — from raw materials to production to distribution and even the consumption of final goods.”
What’s clear from the IHS Markit’s and IDC’s studies, as well as from similar studies worldwide, is that IoT will continue to grow dramatically over the coming years— powering the digital transformation of enterprises and creating opportunities for technology vendors properly positioned to exploit this growth. Any companies still sitting on the fence regarding the IoT should take note.