Rexroth’s Factory of the Future exhibit highlights importance of flexibility, multi-tech use

For the past year or so, Bosch Rexroth has been touting its Factory of the Future concept, where a variety of automation technologies work together in a connected, flexible and modular environment to increase customization and productivity. To this end, the company has created a permanent Factory of the Future Experience at its Hoffman Estates, Ill. facility, a multi-technology exhibit that presents the technologies and components required to enable customization and increase overall equipment effectiveness in the industry.

Although the technologies highlighted at the exhibit are from the company’s Automation & Electrification business unit in Hoffman Estates, the company is touting its Factory of the Future concept across all of its business units, including mobile and industrial hydraulics. For example, it’s CrytoBox HPU integrates IoT technologies and helps pave the way for implementing Industry 4.0 concepts.

“In the factory of the future, connectivity is key,” said Heiko Schwindt, Vice President of Automation and Electrification solutions for Bosch Rexroth Corp. “Everything is connected, from field level to cloud-based solutions. Sophisticated software solutions collect, transfer and process manufacturing data to provide maximum production transparency. With our Factory of the Future Experience, Bosch Rexroth is demonstrating to end-user businesses and their machine builders how they can make the Factory of the Future a reality of the present — where mobile and connected production equipment reconfigure themselves independently and flexibly to fast-changing requirements.”

One thing Rexroth is known for is testing out its innovations at its own plants worldwide. To prove that its connected technologies can work together, the company’s Bethlehem, Penn. plant has married hydraulic power units with sensor technologies on its Multi-Product Line to provide predictive maintenance as technicians monitor vibration and noise.

The Bosch Rexroth Factory of the Future Experience is a multi-technology exhibit featuring intelligent, distributed drive and control components, connectivity modules, compact and versatile linear products, innovative chain conveyors and a wide selection of structural framing — all of which make it possible to expand machines and systems as necessary in a modular fashion.

During a press revelation of the Factory of the Future Experience, Schwindt said that this is Bosch’s move to show how its connected consumer technologies can work on the industrial side, as the speed of technological innovations increases. “I’m really excited about what’s going on, how we can connect to our devices in our real life. Our philosophy is what’s going on in our private life, that will happen 5 or 10 years later on the industry side,” he said.

During a tour through the Factory of the Future Experience, attendees can experience new technology and hear about key topics — from open standards to distributed intelligence, smart automation and connecting to the Internet of Things — to learn what is required to implement a factory of the future. In addition, Rexroth‘s automation experts address challenges and consult on how to achieve productivity gains, production transparency and maximum flexibility.

Highlights from the Bosch Rexroth Factory of the Future Experience include:

  • The informative i4.0 Cube, a four-sided, interactive touchscreen that showcases Rexroth’s Connected Automation Solutions such as the IoT Gateway. Users can touch icons on the i4.0 Cube to explore a variety of i4.0 topics directly from the display.
  • Rexroth’s connectivity modules that allow end users to communicate with their equipment, production lines and manufacturing facilities. For example, data collection is done with the SCD (Sense Connect Detect), a new, low-cost generation of sensors that are particularly easy to integrate. Bosch Rexroth will show how data from a certain number of SCD sensors can be collected, as well as analyzed and managed in the cloud.
  • The IoT Gateway connects legacy production equipment to the Internet of Things without intervening in the automation logic. It collects sensor and process data and transmits it to MES, cloud applications or local production monitoring systems.
  • The Mechatronics@Work demo collects and displays machine and production data to produce a customized package, showing what’s achievable with a packaging machine of the future.
    Game-changing motor-integrated drive technology, IndraDrive Mi, reduces the machine footprint of packaging and processing machines thanks to reduced components generating savings with up to 90 per cent less wiring, and reduced cabinet size and energy consumption.
  • Rexroth’s drive-integrated safety module SafeMotion and safety control SafeLogic ensure safe operations and unlock automation efficiencies.
  • Ideal for all packaging, factory automation and motion logic applications, the intelligent Rexroth IndraControl XM is easy to commission and features high-performance real-time data.
  • Rexroth’s OpenCore Engineering builds the crucial bridge to the world of IT, enabling new levels of engineering flexibility for packaging machine design. With open standards, pre-programmed software, machine monitoring and Open Core Interface technology, Open Core Engineering connect machine control automation with IT technology.
  • The ActiveCockpit, an interactive data visualization and process communications platform designed to support both employees and management personnel in real time.

“Imagine a factory where you can change everything directly from the floor, roof and walls within a few days or even hours. Increasingly short production life cycles, smaller batch sizes and individual product design and forms mark the requirements for future production, which have full flexibility and are individual and scalable. This is the Factory of the Future,” said Schwindt.

Those interested in the Bosch Rexroth Factory of the Future Experience can visit to schedule a tour.

Bosch Rexroth

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