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News | Super sensors for Industry 4.0

Bosch continues its research on connected production facilities 

The AMELI 4.0 research project, which Bosch launched in cooperation with six partners from industry and business, focuses on monitoring machines more effectively, avoiding down time, and thus reducing costs. The team of experts is developing a sensor system that will enable the intelligent networking of production facilities. Thanks to these smart helpers, deviations from a machine’s normal state will be detected immediately and the appropriate measures taken. As a result, regular maintenance work may no longer be necessary in the future, and this will reduce inspection and maintenance costs by as much as 30 percent. 

 

 

Micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology for Industry 4.0, are at the center of this project. Once they are embedded in a production facility, these tiny measurement tools will collect and process large volumes of data in real time, and they will do this in a very energy efficient manner. These sensors have already found widespread use in cars and smartphones. However, they are not yet capable of meeting the demanding performance and flexibility requirements of the production facility of the future.

Headed by Bosch, the AMELI 4.0 research team is thus working on developing efficient and energy self-sufficient MEMS sensors that will harvest the energy they need from machine vibrations, without the need for wires or batteries. By measuring the sounds machines make, the sensor’s microscopic “sensory organs“ will also be able to detect whether machines are operating normally. A defective machine vibrates differently and has a different sound – and the system will be capable of learning and issuing a warning at an early stage. 

With regard to Industry 4.0, the research project will help improve the competitiveness of German companies. This is why it is receiving 3.84 million euros in support from the Germany Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “IKT 2020 – Research for Innovation” fund. AMELI 4.0 was initiated in December 2015 and will be completed by the end of 2018.

More information on the sensors of the future can be found here.

News | An alliance in the fight against cancer

Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Bosch Group join forces

In order to push cancer research in Germany forward, Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus (Robert Bosch Hospital), Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Bosch Group have joined forces and launched a number of initiatives. “When it comes to assuming social responsibility, Robert Bosch was a role model. He founded Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus in 1940. With this alliance in the fight against cancer, we are maintaining this commitment in the area of healthcare,” said Professor Joachim Rogall, CEO of Robert Bosch Stiftung. 

 

 

The partners are cooperating to build the new Robert Bosch Center for Tumor Diseases in Stuttgart. The center will be part of Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus, and will be built in cooperation with the German Cancer Research Center. The partners signed a declaration of intent to this end on July 18, 2016.

In addition to the initial funding provided by Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus, Robert Bosch Stiftung is supporting the future research center with an additional 24 million euros. The aim of the center will be to develop individual cancer treatments by drawing on new findings. To achieve this, additional experts will support the medical management team, and two endowed professorships have been planned for further research activities.

 

 

The initiative is also committed to helping Bosch associates who have tumors. Over the course of the “OncoCure” initiative, they receive access to state-of-the-art cancer diagnostics at Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus. The Bosch Group makes one million euros available for the project each year. At present, the offer is available only to associates in Germany, but there are plans to give associates around the world access to it in the future. “Our aim is clear: with the help of precision diagnostics, we want to improve the odds of treating cancer successfully. This not only helps the affected associates as well as their families and friends, but also their colleagues at work,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, the CEO of Bosch.

After cardiovascular disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death. In Germany alone, some 224,000 people die of cancer each year. According to the World Health Organization, 20 million people will be diagnosed with cancer each year by 2025, up from 14 million in 2012.

More information on the alliance in the fight against cancer can be found here.

News | Greater energy efficiency in manufacturing

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.

 

 

Sources

Video: TU Darmstadt 

Image: Felipe Fernandes / TU Darmstadt

News | Research for connected and more energy-efficient houses

New research and development center being planned in Aveiro, Portugal

 

 

Bosch Thermotechnology is growing: in 2016, a second research and development center is set to open at its Aveiro location in northern Portugal. In the future, smart home applications for water heating and air conditioning will be developed here. It will be possible to control the internet-enabled building technology remotely. The center’s research activities will focus mainly on the topics of connectivity, low emissions, and energy efficiency. Bosch is investing around 25 million euros in expanding its Portuguese R&D capacity. Moreover, the company plans to hire some 150 engineers by 2020, almost doubling the number currently working in Aveiro.

 

In March 2015, the Portuguese minister of the economy António Pires de Lima laid the foundation stone for the new building. At the ceremony, which was also attended by 100 development engineers, he highlighted the important role that Bosch plays in Portugal. By creating jobs that call for special skills, the company contributes to keeping highly qualified professionals in the country. Bosch is one of Portugal’s biggest employers and a leading research and development company.

 

 

More information on Bosch Thermotechnology in Portugal can be found here

News | Solidarity in the age of climate change

Dr. Björn Vollan is awarded the 2015 Robert Bosch Junior Professorship

New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung

 

 

From hurricanes and flooding to periods of drought: extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent as climate change progresses. According to expert forecasts, by 2050 as many as 200 million people could leave their home regions as a result of climate change. This would make them the biggest group of forced migrants. The question is: what will happen when entire populations are faced with an uncertain future? Will communities fall apart in the face of a climate-related threat? Or will such a threat lead to greater solidarity?
 
The research of Dr. Björn Vollan, an environmental and resource economist, focuses on these questions. He is the first economist to receive the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship. In his current research project, Vollan is examining the behaviors of populations affected by climate change, and whether their attitudes toward natural resources have changed. For a period of five years, Robert Bosch Stiftung will be funding his research with a total of one million euros. 
 
Over the course of his junior professorship at Phillipps University in Marburg, Germany, Björn Vollan will visit populations in the Salomon Islands, among others. These groups are set to lose their homes in the foreseeable future as sea levels continue to rise. Dr. Vollan is also examining the behaviors of people in the Philippines who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. 
 
 
Robert Bosch Stiftung has awarded the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship to outstanding scientists since 2008. Prizewinners research the interactions between human activity and natural processes, and contribute to a better understanding of their respective impacts.
 
More information on the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship can be found here