Bosch on 2020: “The factory of the future is within grasp”
Sven Hamann, Senior Vice President, Bosch Connected Industry:
“Only the floor, the walls, and the ceiling are fixed; everything else is flexible and mobile, and adapts to customers’ orders in seconds. People remain at the centre of the action. This is Bosch’s vision of the ‘factory of the future’. We are seeing quite some movement towards this vision in different industries.
“Already today, software is the brain of the connected factory. It turns production and logistics into a coherent system. In future, digital twin systems will play an increasingly important role: the flood of information must be translated into a meaningful, semantic context. Only if the people working with data understand its meaning will they be able to work more efficiently, and turn this industrial gold into meaningful actions.
“Climate protection is one of these very meaningful actions. Software can significantly reduce energy consumption in factories. It will help Bosch reach the goal of CO2-neutral production by 2020. Higher process and product quality automatically lead to fewer rejects. Efficient logistics planning reduces the number of empty transport runs. Predictive maintenance extends machine uptime. Thanks to retrofitting, existing systems can continue to be used; Industry 4.0 does not mean additional investment into machines.
“But above all, it’s about getting started in the first place. Especially for SMEs, which need a digitization strategy that is both affordable and scalable. A successful digitization strategy must always focus on the real pain points of everyday users. For example, if a maintenance technician is required to find an error in a production line by himself, he will lose a lot of valuable time.
“If this line is fully connected, it can send an alarm straight to his mobile device. He knows exactly what he needs to do where and when. And he also knows where to find the spare parts, because the entire material flow is also digitized.
“But technology is not enough for a successful digitization strategy. Staff members must accept new technologies, enjoy working with them and experience them as a facilitator of their daily work. Hence, they need the right qualifications, thorough training and someone to guide them through this change process.”