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Bosch has encouraged 2,265 associates to carpool through the “flinc” digital ride-sharing network
In Germany, about 20 million people drive to work by car every day. On average, these commuters drive 8,000 kilometers a year on their trips to and from their jobs. All of this road travel adds up to 160 billion kilometers a year – which amounts to four million trips around the equator. This not only leads to high fuel costs. People who regularly drive to work also generate high levels of CO2.
Source: flinc (available only in German)
Sharing rides is one way for drivers to reduce the environmental impact and the fuel costs associated with commuting. To make it easier for Bosch associates to do this, last year the company created the “Bosch Carpooling Network” in cooperation with the “flinc” digital ride-sharing service. The goal is to provide an easy way for commuters to connect with each other, thereby reducing their respective carbon footprints. Using an app, interested commuters can sign up with the “Bosch Carpooling Network” to find passengers or a ride. The app takes into account both trips to and from work, and trips to run errands along the way. Timetables for shuttle buses serving Bosch plants and offices are also integrated into the app, as are public transportation schedules. The real-time software for the app was developed especially with short distances and flexible departure and arrival times in mind. The service is not only suitable for commuters, but also for business travel, like driving to meetings or for travel between different sites. This leads to direct savings for the company.
About a year after the launch of the Bosch network, the results are quite encouraging: initially encompassing only associates at the Bosch plants and offices in Feuerbach, Schwieberdingen, Homburg (Saar), Schweinfurt, and Blaichach-Immenstadt, the network has already been used by 2,265 associates. Bosch plans to expand the digital network to other locations, so that the CO2 emissions generated by commuters can be steadily reduced.
More information on the Bosch Carpooling Network can be found here (available only in German).
Experts name Bosch Germany’s most innovative company
In the current innovation ranking of Germany’s brand eins business magazine, Bosch has taken first place in three top-20 categories. The company was named Germany’s most innovative in the “Products and Services”, “Processes”, and “Corporate Culture” categories. BMW took second place, while Tesla Motors GmbH and Apple Germany occupied the third and fourth positions, respectively.
“We are very pleased to have done so well,” says Dr. Michael Bolle, President of Research and Advance Engineering at Bosch. “A high level of innovative strength is essential in our fields of business. This is why we invest time, knowledge, and money to build on it systematically.”
Last year, Bosch spent more than six billion euros on research and development. Of this amount, more than half was spent on products that make life more eco-friendly and safer. With its environment and safety portfolio, Bosch generated 40 percent of its sales in 2015.
This portfolio includes connected solutions across Bosch business sectors that improve energy efficiency, comfort, and safety: among them are the recently launched control system for buildings, the smart gas pedal, and the cloud-based warning signal for wrong-way drivers in connected vehicles.
Bosch’s systematic approach to ideas management is one of the reasons for its innovative strength. Associates at every Bosch location can make suggestions for improvement, for instance to optimize operations or increase product quality. In addition to its corporate suggestion scheme, the company also has a systematic approach to idea generation, which sees teams supported by specially trained coordinators.
Bosch is also a pioneer when it comes to work-time models. With the aim of improving work/life balance, the company carried out a number of projects in recent years – from part-time management to job sharing initiatives. Today, Bosch offers more than 100 work-time models and has made its family-friendly corporate culture part of its corporate guidelines.
The list of Germany’s most innovative companies is based on two online expert surveys. A total of 6,400 people were invited to provide their assessment. They included the representatives of companies that have won innovation prizes in the past, as well as senior executives with many years of industry experience. The survey asked respondents to select the most innovative companies among a list of 1,800 candidates.
More information on sustainable Bosch solutions can be found here.
4Connected Bosch solutions reduce energy consumption
At Light + Building 2016, the world’s leading trade show for building technology in Frankfurt, Bosch is presenting smart product solutions for private and commercial buildings. Two of these solutions automatically help save energy.
With its Energy Platform, Bosch has developed a monitoring and analysis system that increases energy efficiency in commercial buildings, such as offices or production facilities. In addition to this, users can access real-time data to find out how much energy their devices and equipment are using – and thus assess the related costs. At the same time, intelligent algorithms can detect deviation from the target status. If a target value has been exceeded or there is a system malfunction, a warning signal is issued. Besides this, the platform recommends solutions to problems and, in some instances, automatically implements them. With the intelligent networking of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, energy consumption –and thus also CO2 emissions – can be reduced by up to 30 percent.
Bosch also offers a solution for homeowners: the Smart Home Controller not only connects a range of household items with the internet, it also enables them to “communicate” with one another. For instance, with the help of the window contacts, the system automatically turns down the heat when a window is opened. Lights and other household appliances also become intelligent energy-saving devices via the centralized control unit, which also makes it possible to control household devices remotely.
More information on energy efficiency in commercial buildings can be found here.
TU Darmstadt opens the “ETA” model factory
On March 2, Darmstadt Technical University, the German Parliamentary State Secretary Brigitte Zypries, and the Minister of Economics for the State of Hesse, Tarek Al-Wazir, celebrated the opening of the “ETA Factory”. At this “Energy-efficient Factory for Interdisciplinary Research on Technology and Applications”, researchers are studying how energy efficiency can be improved under real-life manufacturing conditions.
(Video only in German available)
The ETA Factory produces control disks for hydraulic axial piston pumps, using a production process that is typical in the mechanical engineering sector. In the factory, not only the machines, but also building components are networked and designed with energy efficiency in mind. Thus, for example, the system uses the waste heat from the tool-making machines to provide heat for other plants and for the space inside the factory itself. The production hall is heated and cooled with the help of capillary tube mats that are integrated into the building's envelope. The partners predict that the research project could reduce total energy costs in the production process by up to 40 percent. The TU will share the knowledge gained from the research project with manufacturing companies.
The model factory cost about EUR 15 million to build. Besides the German Federal Government, the TU Darmstadt, and the German state of Hesse, more than 30 industrial companies participated in the project, including the Bosch subsidiaries Bosch Rexroth and Bosch Thermotechnology. These two companies contributed technical infrastructure in addition to sector-relevant expertise and process knowledge. Their contributions included Bosch Rexroth production processes, which served as a model for the production of the control disks.
Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, praised the project for its practical relevance. “Increasing energy efficiency is decisive in the transition to renewable sources of energy,” she said. “In the ETA factory, for the first time, researchers are examining an industrial production process in its entirety, and studying how energy consumption can be optimized in the system as a whole, in the interplay of the production process, and in the building. I am pleased to note that this project, with about 35 participating industrial companies and research institutes, represents outstanding collaboration between business, research, and teaching. This will help ensure that the findings are put to practical use.”
More information on the ETA Factory can be found here.
Video: TU Darmstadt
Image: Felipe Fernandes / TU Darmstadt
Malaysian students develop creative sustainability concepts in a Bosch competition
With the slogan “Innovation around my campus”, Bosch Malaysia invited university students from across the country to take part in a competition in the fall of 2015. The students were asked to come up with ideas that would make the campus more sustainable and energy efficient. Teams from ten Malaysian universities submitted their suggestions, and the winner was recently announced.
Winner team: Interactsys from Mara Technical University.
A team of three from Mara Technical University (UITM) took first prize in the competition. Syahmi, Lina, and Naim developed a multifunctional smart bracelet that is connected to the university’s energy system. It can detect when a room is empty, and then turn out the lights and regulate the heating accordingly. At the same time, it can be used as a key card that allows the wearer to operate electrical appliances such as fans or lamps with hand signals. On the heels of their victory, the winners now have the opportunity to see their idea put into practice during an internship at Bosch Malaysia. Each of the winners has also received a cash prize of MYR 3,000 (about 670 euros).
Simon Song, President of Bosch Malaysia, considers the competition a reflection of the company and its founder. “Bosch has always strived to uphold our pioneering tradition. The competition reflects this as it allows us to share our core value of innovation with young Malaysians. Not only are we proud to provide a platform for creative expression, we are also offering the tools to bring these ideas to life,” he said.
Short videos of the students presenting their submissions can be found here.