The development and production of electric drives and controls has undergone a dramatic evolution during the past year within the automation industry. We have spoken to Sándor Volosinovszki, commercial manager of Bosch Rexroth Kft. about this change, as well as the new products and software that provide support for the industry.
We might say that it is the automation market which benefits the most from the advantages on Industry 4.0 both on the supplier and the user side. At the same time, this is where the most demand arises for development. What can the boom of the past year be attributed to?
Bosch Rexroth has a decade of experience in the field of automation. The development and production of electric drives has been the most dynamically developing area of our company for a long time. The increasing market demand of ten years ago, followed be the strategic requirements of Industry 4.0, together with the systematic attitude that we had adopted before all helped us in our effort to connect our products directly to IT solutions as soon as possible. At the same time, I would say that the main driver of development was the need to use quality data. This is because we might have billions of data records available if they are of no use to us. Quality data management is therefore a sort of competitive advantage, which also contributes to the automation of our production. In order for us to evaluate data properly, we needed to improve the quality of software databases, which led to a new business model at our company, too: automation products and equipment needed to be connected to the solutions of IT partners.
Within Bosch, this is a fortunate situation, as we can offer our newest Industry 4.0 developments on both the supplier and the user side, and apply them simultaneously. The three Bosch companies: Bosch Connected Industry, Bosch Software Innovations, and not the least Bosch Rexroth work closely together to be able to appear on the market with the widest portfolio possible, and at the same time to provide support for both end users and machine builders in these efforts. This is a huge advantage, as following our pilot testing, it makes it possible for our customers and partners to enjoy ready-made Industry 4.0 solutions.
What impact will all these new expectations and requirements have on the automation portfolio of Rexroth? What new products and software will we see?
Our most important development was making our PLC technology open to the world of IoT, so that our products and equipment are able to provide data directly. Insofar as machinery is concerned, digital twins provide help in design. In addition, it also became possible to display data on smart devices. Future software development will increasingly be focused around custom, bespoke production.
As a next step, we introduced our IoT Gateway line for brownfield machinery, which can be used to make any machine or equipment Industry 4.0 compatible in 20 minutes, and all this to be used as a PLC or an industrial PC. Providing support for the construction of new machinery was of course one of the first in our development efforts. We launched an industrial line of PC with more variety, and also expanded the selection of our displays. In addition to using hardware, we also introduced a new software line: the Production Performance Manager (PPM) provides solutions to users in the areas of data mining, process analysis, predictive maintenance, shop floor management, and ticketing. All this is of course available for both old and new machines.
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