- Effective human-machine interaction in the manufacturing process
- APAS family production assistants for flexible production
- OPCON automation system for managing the entire production and logistics chain
- Bosch both a lead user and lead provider in Industry 4.0
Hannover – At the Hannover Trade Fair, Bosch is showcasing powerful concepts for a flexible and connected factory. This involves connecting software and hardware in an intelligent way so as to sustainably optimize the interplay of processes, machines, and people (Connected Shopfloor Solutions). It is an endeavor supported by mobile production assistants that work directly alongside people without the need for special safety guards. Modular automation systems make it possible to examine production processes in detail, visualize them, and so retain control at all times. Intelligent sensor systems join with innovative diagnostics solutions and operating concepts that draw on 3D visualization and augmented reality to help speed up reaction times and boost productivity.
Solutions that are benefiting Bosch today
Most of the solutions on display are already being put to good use within the Bosch Group, or else are currently undergoing testing. It is a testament to the international technology and service provider’s prominent dual role in Industry 4.0 as both a lead user and a lead provider. “At our booth, users can see for themselves how new solutions that focus on the user are making Industry 4.0 a reality,” says Volker Hartmann, Deputy Vice President Business Unit Assembly Systems and Special Machinery. “What’s been key is the overarching collaboration among various Bosch divisions. This is what allows us to develop the forward-looking solutions we use to improve efficiency in the production process. In so doing, we also lend our support to cross-sector trends such as individualization of products and shortened product lifecycles.”
APAS family: mobile production assistants for the factory of the future
A good example of this sort of solution is the APAS family of mobile production assistants, which Bosch developed specifically for Industry 4.0. All three of the production assistants on show in Hannover share a standardized operating concept and come with connectivity options that allow them to be employed anywhere, either on their own or in combination. What’s more, the new Remote Service Manager by Bosch Software Innovations will now allow APAS service technicians to complete installation, diagnostic, and maintenance work remotely – saving both time and money.
Integrated safety technology
APAS inspector is a mobile testing device for visual inspections equipped with a high-definition, high-speed camera and innovative 3D technology. Thanks to its exchangeable inspection modules, the APAS inspector can be used in all sorts of production scenarios, for instance highly delicate surface inspections or completeness checks. APAS flexpress is a mobile production assistant that allows for highly flexible and highly accurate assembly. Integrated safety technology ensures that human and machine work smoothly together. The same goes for the APAS assistant. It was the first assistance system certified by the German occupational health and safety agency and can work directly alongside people without the need for safety guards thanks to a special sensor skin interface. Visitors to the fair in Hannover will be able to see exactly how it works at the APAS coffee bar, where an APAS assistant will be preparing their coffee.
Intelligent sensor devices monitor critical processes in real time
People and machines will receive support across the entire production and logistics chain through the integration of Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions’ intelligent sensor devices. While the APAS assistant is placing the product with precision into the freight packaging designed for the purpose, a special app visualizes the motion and positioning on a monitor. Integrated sensors facilitate monitoring of the shipping process. Critical incidents such as unexpected opening of the package are registered by a light sensor and immediately reported to the person responsible, so they can undertake appropriate measures.
Comprehensive Shopfloor Management with the OPCON suite
The OPCON suite guarantees maximum transparency and flexibility across the entire value added chain with its IT Shopfloor Solutions. It is a modular, scalable automation system that allows you to manage production and quality data throughout, as well as logistics processes. “For over 15 years now, we’ve been steadily refining the OPCON system within the Bosch Group, and we use it to control hundreds of production plants worldwide,” says Hartmann. This year’s fair in Hannover will be the first time that OPCON will be showcased to members of the expert public and presented for use outside of the Bosch Group. The centerpiece is the Shopfloor Management module, which provides transparency across the entire value added chain via a broad range of software modules, allowing it to connect machines and analyze real-time production data. There are also intuitive graphical modeling tools from the Group’s own software and systems unit, Bosch Software Innovations, that enable specialist users to define rules without the need for programming knowledge. These rules allow critical system events to be identified automatically and suitable measures taken.
New user interfaces: 3D visualization and augmented reality
In connected manufacturing, specialists are supported by new visualization applications that give them a constant and comprehensive overview of all the production steps and processes. Once more, this is an area in which connectivity and intelligent interplay of hardware and software play a decisive role. Thanks to a collaboration with Fraunhofer IGD institute in Rostock, visitors in Hannover will be able to see a 3D visualization of a production process in its entirety – monitored and managed via a big touch screen. Changing the production sequence, for instance, is a simple case of swiping the screen.
To pin down production errors quickly, new augmented reality tools have been introduced as a supplement to conventional user interfaces and diagnostics concepts. This involves affixing a QR code to the system in question, and then scanning the code to call up additional diagnostic and status information on tablet complete with spatial mapping. This capacity extends all the way to taking a look at the inside of a device without the need to open it.