I4.0 trends for machine tools

Author Hansjörg SannwaldPosted on No CommentsCategories Connected Automation

“In the past we sold high productivity machine tools, and today our customers ask what we do when it comes to Industry 4.0.” I hear this sentence or something similar again and again whenever I speak with machine tool manufacturers. With the right partner, it’s easy to give concrete answers in the top five trendiest areas and fields of argumentation. Not just using PowerPoint, but in reality and in no time!


From machine sales to Industry 4.0 solutions

First and foremost: there is no magic formula. Each customer has a different interpretation of Industry 4.0. Everybody wants to improve specific key figures, but everyone only does things that they can handle. From my own experience, the most frequently asked questions involve predictive maintenance. In the end, however, it is the customer who always decides what I as a provider need to have in my tool kit. It makes no difference whether it’s predictive maintenance, smart diagnostics, smart operation or self guiding products.


It cannot be done alone

Given the high degree of complexity involved in Industry 4.0, there will probably never be a partner whose portfolio I, as a machine tool manufacturer, can utilize to cover the playing field. For this reason, the Bosch Group including Bosch Rexroth made the strategic decision early to set up a worldwide partner network comprising the leading providers of solutions and technology. One particular point is crucial, however, for the application of these solutions in everyday industrial life: testing this comprehensive supply of Industry 4.0 solutions in over 100 pilot projects at the more than 270 Bosch factories worldwide. One success story to be noted took place at the Bosch Rexroth plant in Homburg where 30% less storage,10% more production and a saving of half a million euros per year and per line were achieved. In another project, Bosch networked more than 5,000 machines in ABS/ESP production and increased their productivity according to worldwide MES-based plant benchmarking by 25 percent.


The five Industry 4.0 areas for machine tool manufacturers

As a trademark when it comes to ecosystems and partnerships, Bosch is committed to solution strategies using open platforms, standards and interfaces. This principle is reflected in Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering, which brings together the two worlds of automation and IT and makes it easy to connect to the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and other services. The Connected Automation Portfolio from Bosch Rexroth, which is built upon this, addresses five concrete Industry 4.0 trends or fields of action for machine tool manufacturers:


1. From the sensor level to the cloud level

An Industry 4.0 portfolio is only consistent if it covers all areas from the shop floor to the office floor starting with intelligent control systems and components such as Open Core Engineering to industrial security, web based HMIs and smart devices to data analytics and condition monitoring. Areas such as energy management, IT automation and model based engineering to MES connectivity and cloud services are also included.

When it comes to data analysis, machine builders are often confronted with the demand for low-level real-time data collection via a local server such as the Data Analytics Server from Bosch Rexroth. Since it records and processes the signals from sensors, the control unit and drives in real time, economical solutions for process and condition monitoring of individual machines are made possible from single machines to production cells. The integrated diagnosis logbook enables a top 10 error analysis in order to optimize machine availability. In order to further increase the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) the connection to MES systems such as SAP or cloud platforms is also supported by means of OPC UA.


2. From single technology to cross technology solutions

For model based engineering including simulation and virtual commissioning with hardware in the loop new control units like IndraControl offer diverse connectivity options. This will help machine builders to further shorten the time to market in the coming years. Today, IndraDrive Mi smart drive technology,  which integrates the inverter and servo motor in a compact control cabinet free solution, already provides valuable help with this. For Industry 4.0 scenarios such as condition based monitoring, the multi-Ethernet capable drive with integrated web server itself becomes the sensor.

Networked hydraulics represents another building block on the way to a cross technology solution. It reduces the installation space substantially and impresses with high availability, power and distinctive smart software. The ultra compact CytroPac hydraulic unit combines the trendsetting properties of power density, energy efficiency and intelligence in a self monitoring that warns the user of unplanned shutdowns in good time while occupying a minimum amount of space.


3. From the Greenfield to the Brownfield solution

To implement Industry 4.0 concepts, machine tools and manufacturing modules need to be embedded in networked structures. This applies not only to new machines, but also to older ones that still do not have connectivity. This task can be elegantly performed, without needing to modify the existing automation, using the recently introduced IoT Gateway. The compact control unit processes the data from the retrofitted sensors there and then and sends them directly to higher level systems as required via the machine control system. Communication in turn takes place in a non proprietary fashion by means of open and standardized protocols. Since commissioning requires only few parameters to be entered via a web interface instead of using tedious PLC programming, technicians are able to connect the machines to the network very quickly.


4. From single machines to the production line

Against the background of the trend towards more digitization, we can expect to see a higher demand for the cross machine networking of complete production lines in the future. For this purpose, Bosch Rexroth also offers machine builders many different possibilities. They range from PC based and embedded control systems to the IoT gateway and support a wide range of HMIs such as PCs, smart devices, web based interfaces and multi touch HMIs. MES connection, IT automation, Big Data analysis and system engineering and cloud platform with industrial security standards occur analogous to the individual machines. This is supplemented by M2M communication with central monitoring, via the Production Performance Manager (PPM), which Bosch Rexroth offers as a starter kit bundled with the IoT Gateway.


5. From the component solution to the turnkey solution

And finally, the fifth trend ultimately arises from the ability to network complete production lines: the complete Industry 4.0 line as a turnkey solution. Decades of experience in high volume and quality production as plant operators and solution providers makes Bosch a highly qualified partner in this area. In cooperation with a Chinese company, Bosch Rexroth recently implemented a ready to use Industry 4.0 line for robot drive manufacturing. Machine tool manufacturers receive needs based assistance in the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects from Bosch Rexroth, ranging from Industry 4.0 consulting, to the construction of individual assembly stations or lines to fully networked production systems.


Summary: Everything you need.

With its distinctive background of experience as a key user, a comprehensive ecosystem partner and its connected automation portfolio, Bosch Rexroth provides machine tool manufacturers all the answers to current questions that are being asked by their customers with regard to Industry 4.0. And not only in general terms of a PowerPoint slide, but specifically for their daily business.

About the Author:

is Sales Manager for the Machine Tool sector at Bosch Rexroth AG in Lohr am Main. After studying electrical engineering, he initially worked as software engineer in a machine tool company before switching to Sales at Bosch Rexroth in 1998. There he worked in various functions at the Stuttgart and Munich locations in regional sales in Germany. Since 2010 he is responsible for international sales in the Machine Tool sector, market segment Factory Automation. With over 25 years of professional experience, Mr. Sannwald is an expert in the global automation market in the Machine Tool sector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *