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News | Monitoring rivers digitally

Bosch System issues flood warnings

In many regions around the world, climate change is also changing the weather: researchers expect more frequent floods due to heavy rainfall. Until now, water levels in rivers have been measured with mechanical tools, which means that it can take several hours for data to be passed on to third parties. The new flood monitoring system that Bosch recently presented at the CES could be a game changer. The innovation can digitally monitor the water levels of rivers close to cities in real time, and thus provide timely warnings of oncoming floods. In a pilot project along the Neckar close to Ludwigsburg, Germany, Bosch is currently carrying out a pilot project to test the new system, which is based on two approaches. Both monitor changes in water levels, water velocity, and flow capacity.

Measurements with a camera or soundwave

The first solution operates with a Bosch Security Systems camera that is installed on the river bank. It takes pictures of the body of water every few seconds and transmits them to a mini-computer, which then sends them to the cloud via a mobile phone network. The second solution hangs upside down under a bridge and uses ultrasonic waves. A sensor by Clever Sensor Integration, a start-up company, transmits ultrasonic waves three times per minute. The sensor uses the signal’s duration to assess the distance to the water surface, and can thus measure the water level. Via the long-range network, an integrated mini-computer transmits data to the cloud. The right approach – whether with cameras or ultrasound sensors – depends on the application.

Analysis in the cloud

With an image recognition algorithm, the Bosch IoT Cloud analyzes data within seconds. “Based on the image, the algorithm can tell how much water levels have increased or decreased. Once the analysis has been completed, the data is stored in a database,” says Danny Heber, Senior Solution Architect at Bosch Software Innovations. If a critical level is reached, the municipal authorities or the residents concerned receive a signal via SMS. As a result, they can initiate measures in time to protect themselves from flooding or flood damages. Communities that often face flooding, for instance in India and South America, have already expressed interest in the solution.

Information other innovations presented at the CES can be found here.

News | Achieving greater occupational safety with games

Bosch uses Gamification for occupational safety training

Most accidents in the workplace are the result of human error, and can thus be prevented. This is why Bosch places a great deal of value on training its associates. With innovative safety training programs, the company is now taking new approaches to raising awareness about occupational safety topics.

The Gamification App-and-Go, GAppNGo for short, has been used to train Bosch associates at the plants in Rayong, Thailand and Changsha, China. The Industry 4.0 solution operates on the basis of Bosch IoT and with Augmented Reality. At spots in the plants that have been marked hazardous, participants can answer quiz questions and receive information on how the risk of accidents can be minimized. Virtual prizes and a ranking aim to motivate associates and their supervisors alike. Bosch uses the game data for the continuous improvement process.

Virtual safety training

The Abstatt location uses Virtual Reality (VR). With VR goggles, associates are immersed into the typical plant, logistics, production, and office environments, where they are confronted with the risk of accidents. The Chassis Systems Control division tested the virtual safety training program last year and intends to introduce the VR goggles at all its locations.

Both projects are making an important contribution to helping Bosch achieve its occupational safety targets by 2020. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents to a maximum of 1.7 per million hours worked. In 2016, the figure stood at 2.7 accidents, a decrease of 61 percent over 2007 levels. In addition to the training sessions, Bosch is ensuring safety at its manufacturing and development locations by introducing a occupational safety management program. With the implementation of the accredited standard OHSAS 18001 Bosch was a pioneer in this regard.

More information on current occupational safety projects at Bosch can be found here.

News | The Bosch technology that saves lives

A prize for the electronic stability program

The Premier Prince Michael International Road Safety Award has gone to the electronic stability program (ESP), which Bosch took part in developing. This marks the first time that the prize has been awarded to a technology. The prize honors outstanding performance in the realm of road safety around the world. Until now, it has been awarded only to campaigns, organizations, and groups. Arun Srinivasan, the head of Mobility Solutions Bosch UK and chairman of RoadSafe, accepted the prize: “We are proud that Bosch is being recognized for its role in the development of ESP. This technology reflects our lasting commitment to developing driver assistance systems that save lives and reduce the number of accidents.”

Bosch global receives the 2017 Premier Award from the Prince Michael (second from the left).

Bosch and Daimler developed ESP in a joint venture in the early 1990s, and started series production in 1995. Today, the anti-skid technology is mandatory for all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles around the world. Anton van Zanten, the former head of the Bosch research group that invented ESP, has already received the European Inventors’ Prize from the European Patent Office for his lifetime achievement.

The electronic guardian angel

With the ESP system, Bosch makes an important contribution to improved road safety. With the help of intelligent sensors, ESP assesses 25 times per second whether the car is moving in the direction that the driver is steering. If the figures deviate, the anti-skid system intervenes and reduces engine torque. Should this not be sufficient, it also decelerates each individual wheel and thus creates the counterforce needed to keep the vehicle safely in its lane. Especially on slippery roads, but also in curves that the vehicle has driven into too fast, ESP keeps vehicles safely on track and prevents skidding accidents, which are often serious. Since it was introduced, ESP technology has prevented an estimated 185,000 accidents, and has thus saved thousands of lives.

A stimulus for innovation

“All current collision prevention systems are based on ESP – the most important innovation since the safety belt was introduced,” said Prince Michael of Kent at the Premier Awards ceremony. Since it began series production, Bosch has made continuous improvements to the active safety system. New assistance systems make driving even safer and more comfortable with functions that automatically maintain the distance to vehicles ahead, park cars into small parking spots, and give drivers timely warnings in critical situations.

More information on the history of the electronic stability program can be found here.

News | Tell me where the forklifts are

Innovative digital processes at the BSH warehouse in Traunreut, Germany

What’s happening at my warehouse right now? Have we picked the best transport route? And what is the safest approach? Thanks to cameras, sensors, and the right software, associates at the BSH Hausgeräte warehouse in Traunreut, Germany know the answers to these questions. The Intralogistics Hub project stands for the realization of Industry 4.0: it records all movements and the flow of goods in real time. This is the first important step toward digitizing logistics management. Transreut took this step In cooperation with the Connected Logistics department, which is part of the new Bosch Connected Industry strategic unit in Feuerbach.

Goods are identified according to their location, making scanning redundant

Highly precise, down to the last five centimeters

“We wanted to maintain transparency for every process in the warehouse,” says Bernd Licinac, who is in charge of Intralogistics Hub in Traunreut. The data of all forklifts in operation are displayed graphically on a large control screen. Sensors and cameras attached to the forklifts record floor markings that are visibly placed six meters apart from each other all over the warehouse. These record whether the vehicles are loaded or not, and where they are currently located. “Thanks to these data and algorithms, we always know where the forklifts are, down to the last five centimeters, and we also know how fast they are moving,” says Licinac. This is valuable information with regard to reaching an important goal in Traunreut: “We want to increase safety in the workplace.”  

Bernd Licinac studies the heat map indicating the speed of the forklift

Safe and simple

A map shows all movements, and areas where forkilfts are moving at high speeds are marked in red. “We added safety measures to spots that were especially dangerous. In critical zones, forklift software slows our vehicles down to ten kilometers per hour,“ says Hans Bernhofer, the head of logistics. The process of registering goods when they are stored or removed from the warehouse has also been simplified. The products are identified based on the spot they are stored in, which is shown through the camera in the central terminal. The driver no longer needs to scan the goods himself; now, he just needs to hit the confirm button. The system makes work safer, faster, and less stressful.

More on smart Bosch sensors can be found here.

News | Brake Disc 2.0

Buderus Guss innovation reduces brake dust by up to 90

Circular in shape, the size of a plate, and as thick as a thumb – long before ABS, ESP, airbags, and other technologies, the braking disc made driving safer, significantly shortened braking distances, and contributed to reducing the number of accidents. At present, the car part is attracting attention for another reason: brake dust. The lion’s share of particulate matter is the product of road, tire, and brake dust, and not the result of fuel combustion. According to State Institute for the Environment, Measurements and Conservation in Baden Württemberg, 32 percent of particle emissions in road traffic come from breaking and tires, with about half coming from braking dust.

To improve urban air quality, braking dust must be significantly reduced. To this end, The Bosch subsidiary Buderus Guss has developed the iDisc. Compared with a conventional braking disc, it reduces brake dust production by up to 90 percent. “Bosch has not only been working to maintain air quality under the hood,“ says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the member of the Bosch board of management whose responsibilities include Buderus Guss. “The iDisc is the braking disc 2.0”.

Clean and safe

The iDisc’s unique selling point, the prefixed “i“, stands for innovation: it is a hard metal coating made of tungsten carbide, which is currently only offered by Buderus Guss. The basis of the disc is a conventional grey cast iron brake disc, of which the Bosch subsidiary produces up to 20 million units per year. To turn it into an iDisc, the friction rings are treated mechanically, thermally, and galvanically in a process that Buderus Guss and Bosch research developed over many years, and are ultimately coated. The iDisc is not only clean, it is also safe and has a longer life cycle: The braking power is comparable to that of a ceramic brake and the iDisc lasts twice along as a conventional brake disc.

Gerhard Pfeifer, the President of Buderus Guss, is convinced that the iDisc will succeed: “Against the backdrop of the ongoing particulate matter debate in many countries and cities around the world, all signs point to a breakthrough.” After all, brake discs will be needed in cars for decades still, and they are being produced in increasing numbers: in the passenger car segment alone, global demand exceeded 330 million units in 2016.

More information on the iDisc can be found here.