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IOT 29774

The opportunity for manufacturing companies to harness the power of the Internet of Things and move rapidly towards Industry 4.0 is now becoming more and more of a practical reality.

Mike Lomax, Electrification Manager at Bosch Rexroth, has pointed to several developments which are creating an exponential growth across a number of sectors in the exploration of the possibilities offered by Industry 4.0. This is in spite of the findings in a recent report by SAP suggesting that only around a fifth of UK companies have an Industry 4.0 strategy in place.

The key aspect of Industry 4.0 is connectivity, bringing together the machine and human based on extensive real time data gathering availability and optimised machine intelligence. Bosch Rexroth is an early adopter of Industry 4.0, with full compliant facilities in Homburg, Lohr and Blaichach, Germany, where hydraulic components are manufactured for both mobile and industrial applications.

Lomax explained: “Reaching Industry 4.0 has been a technical possibility for some while now, but it is now being brought within reach of a broader range of manufacturers, even those working from longer-established facilities.

“Aspects such as Internet availability, software and hardware usability, GPS localisation, computing power (CPUs) and data storage options are all now much greater than ever before. However, what is making the real difference now is the growth in the availability of new and cost-effective technologies aimed specifically at extracting the true value of the Internet of Things for manufacturers.

“For example, high-specification, highly accurate sensors – necessary in large numbers to gather key real time data – are now widely available at reasonable cost, drawing on proven technology from the mobile phone sector.

“Meanwhile, specialist Industry 4.0 Connectors (data acquisition and transmission devices) can simply be bolted on to existing plant equipment to gather information in real time and transfer it to the Cloud. This removes the need to redesign equipment or purchase new plant in a broad array of instances. It’s a particularly important point given that many plants starting operation now will have originally been designed up to a decade previously, when the pace of technological development was slower and the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things far less widely understood.“

Mike concluded: “What this means is that adopting Industry 4.0 does not necessarily mean significant capital investment or the creation of a new manufacturing facility – the key in many instances is to optimally apply the specialist technologies now available, in harness with existing in situ equipment, to allow the gathering of data which can then be used to inform production decision-making in real time.

“While a recent SAP report suggests minimal uptake in this area, our own experience is very different. In fact, it is an area where we are seeing increased engagement from OEMs keen to discover how these specialist technologies can be harnessed to add value on existing machinery models and transform them into full Industry 4.0 compliant options.”

Bosch Rexroth

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, and Factory Automation to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services.

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, and Factory Automation to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 33,700 associates generated sales revenue of approximately 5.6 billion euros in 2014.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 360,000 associates worldwide. The company generated sales of 49 billion euros in 2014. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including its sales and service partners, Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

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