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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.
Bosch Global Supplier Award conferred to best suppliers
The award honors fruitful past partnerships as well as partnerships that show promise for the future: on July 12 and 13, the Bosch Group presented 44 suppliers from 11 countries with Bosch Global Supplier Awards. For the 15th time, the award ceremony acknowledged the outstanding performance of suppliers in the production and delivery of products or services. The event, called “Partners in Success”, was held in Fellbach, a suburb of Stuttgart.
Supplier companies have long been much more than mere parts suppliers for Bosch. They have also served as development and innovation partners that give Bosch a competitive edge. With this in mind, Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management, emphasized that strong relationships between Bosch and its suppliers will remain important in the future. “In the connected world, partnerships will continue to gain importance. Hierarchical value-added chains will become value-added networks. With our open platform technologies, we can make the best possible use of digitization in our partner networks, for instance for data-sharing purposes in Industry 4.0.
Relationships with suppliers a key success factor
As an innovation leader, Bosch is shaping the transformation of the Internet of Things. To this end, the company makes major investments in new technologies and markets, and drives innovative purchasing and logistics strategies forward (see post of July 21). At present, purchasing and logistics volumes amount to 60 percent of total Bosch Group sales. Good relationships with suppliers are thus a key success factor. “Our aim is to achieve supply chain excellence,” says Professor Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management. “This can only work if all partners are intelligently networked and work together closely with the help of automated processes.”
The strong and lasting relationships that Bosch strives to maintain with its suppliers are part of this high standard of quality. The Bosch Group has cooperated with many of its partners for decades: three of the prize-winning companies were among the honorees for the eighth time. Within the framework of these partnerships, Bosch places a great deal of importance on compatible views of corporate social responsibility. For this reason, the company is committed to setting sustainability standards throughout the value-added chain. To ensure the quality of this process, Bosch reviews the environmental and occupational safety performance of its suppliers. Since 2010, the Group has conducted 614 social audits around the world, and aims to reach the 1,000 mark by 2020.
The list with all prize winners can be found here. (The PDF is only available in German)
Bosch presents assistance systems for industrial production at the Hannover Messe
The APAS assistant carefully grasps the metal part and hands it to its colleague. APAS is not a Bosch associate, but rather a robot that is part of Industry 4.0. Bosch is showing the technology at the Hannover Messe until April 28. In the future, machines will play a greater role in supporting production workers. “Thanks to digital connectivity and production assistants, daily industrial work will become easier, more productive, and safer,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, whose areas of responsibility include the Industrial Technology business sector. Collaborative robots such as the Bosch APAS assistant are already being used by automotive suppliers, carmakers, and consumer goods manufacturers.
Apart from the APAS assistant, Bosch is also exhibiting the APAS inspector in Hannover. The robot is able to detect whether the surface material of a work piece meets the necessary requirements. In this way, Bosch not only ensures consistently high levels of quality, it also allows workers to avoid tedious work steps. “Thanks to digital connectivity, many of the tasks what used to cost workers time can now be carried out quickly and simply. Industry 4.0 makes daily work in production much easier,” explains Stefan Aßmann, head of Connected Industry at Bosch, at a press conference ahead of the Hannover Messe.
Connected for more energy efficiency
Connectivity also helps make the working day easier: for instance, Bosch technology has connected more than 80 machines to one another at an Osram light manufacturing plant in Berlin. The Bosch Production Performance Manager (PPM) is at the heart of the Osram Ticket Manager. The system gathers machine data in real time and processes it further. What is more, employees can use an app to keep informed on the status of their machines at all times. This allows them to plan upcoming maintenance work or order replacement parts for machines more easily, and to monitor their machines more effectively.
Connectivity can also be used to optimize energy consumption. At its plant in Homburg, Germany, Bosch has reduced its energy costs by EUR 1.65 million per year thanks to Industry 4.0. To this end, all relevant machines have been connected to an energy platform that processes the data and presents it clearly. Thanks to pre-defined upper or lower limits, associates can immediately identify areas in which energy is unnecessarily consumed, or facilities that are underutilized. Bosch not only improves the energy efficiency of its own plants, it also offers its services to external customers. With intelligent connected solutions, Bosch can help its customers reduce their energy consumption by up to 25 percent.
More information in Industry 4.0 can be found here.
A community app that Bosch developed is making mobility more sustainable
With more than 12,000 new apartments, 5 million square meters of commercial space, and 3.5 hectares of parks and green spaces, the Shipyard Communities building project in San Francisco is very impressive. In 2015, the first families moved into their new homes in the former shipyard in the southeastern part of the city. At present, a new shopping and entertainment district is also being built – it will be home to many shops as well as a film and arts center. Despite a growing population, the new neighborhood will be a sustainability role model, in part thanks to technical innovations.
The Smart Community app, which Bosch helped develop, is at the heart of the new community. Users can access real-time information from their local community, for instance about where the shuttle bus is currently located, or with which local trains they can best reach their desired destinations. This encourages people to use public transit and thus contributes to reducing CO2 emissions.
At the same time, Bosch and its partners are also working on making sure that app users can drive their own vehicles more comfortably and efficiently. A connected parking guidance system aims to help drivers find the closest available parking spots. In the future, smart vehicles may even be able to park on their own. As a result, they will need less space and help make available parking spaces even more efficient.
The connected community in San Francisco is the first of many. With its own IoT cloud, Bosch intends to provide other cities with a platform that will help them exploit the opportunities that smart communities offer.
More information on the Smart Community app can be found here.
Bosch RoMulus research project will make small and medium-sized companies stronger
Multi-sensor systems are decisive to the success of Industry 4.0 applications. Today, both machines and components are increasingly equipped with intelligent sensor systems, and can thus provide information about their status at all times. On the basis of these data, production can largely organize itself.
The German sensor technology sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, these companies cannot cover all of the elements required for the development and production of multi-sensor systems. For this reason, they depend on cooperation with semi-conductor manufacturers and research and development service providers. To support SMEs and make future cooperation easier, Bosch has entered into a partnership with ten other organizations, including the Fraunhofer Institute and Munich Technical University. Since the fall of 2015, these organizations have pooled their expertise in the “Robust multi-sensor technology for status monitoring in Industry 4.0 applications” (RoMulus) research project. Over the next three years, the project aims to simplify and accelerate the development of intelligent multisensor systems. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting RoMulus with some 4.5 million euros as part of the IKT2020 funding program. This amount represents about 70 percent of the total required investment.
“RoMulus makes it possible to design and produce robust and energy-efficient multi-sensor systems at a low cost, also for small production volumes,” said Dr. Reinhard Neul of Robert Bosch GmbH. “This makes German manufacturers of sensor technologies leaders with regard to establishing an important technical basis for Industry 4.0.” As a driver of innovation, RoMulus is helping ensure that Germany remains competitive. At the same time, the project aims to strengthen the market position of small and medium sized companies in the sensor technology sector. As a result, these companies will in the future be able to offer their industrial customers tailored solutions at a significantly lower price.
With more than 100 Industry 4.0 projects, Bosch is also improving the energy and resource efficiency of its own production at locations around the world. This has had a positive impact on the company’s carbon footprint. Thanks to the real time analysis of production data, sources of error can be detected and eliminated at an early stage. At the same time, precise production ensures that inventory levels remain low. It also reduces the cost of transport, storage, and energy.
More information about RoMulus can be found here.