Successful transformation: from individual components to smart mechatronic solutions
Bosch Rexroth looks back on 30 years' linear axes development
Over the past three decades, Bosch Rexroth’s portfolio of ready-to-install linear axes has been further developed on an ongoing basis. In response to customer requirements, it now focuses on electrification and connectivity. With today’s linear motion technology components in combination with sensors, electronics and software, the company now offers mechatronic solutions for the Factory of the Future too.
“With our 30-year history and over a million ready-to-install linear axes sold, we have a wealth of experience,” said Dr. Ulf Lehmann, Head of Business Unit Linear Motion Technology at Bosch Rexroth AG. “Today, we offer a complete range of linear motion technology solutions – from simple components to smart mechatronic solutions and subsystems.”
With intelligent automation solutions, Bosch Rexroth’s linear motion technology division is now taking the next step towards the Factory of the Future: the Smart Function Kit for joining and pressing applications, a ready-to-install mechatronic system kit, allows straightforward online product selection/configuration and reduces the engineering outlay. The plug and produce approach minimizes commissioning times and the user no longer requires programming knowledge. Other packages of solutions are on the horizon too, for example a Smart Function Kit for handling applications or a sensor-supported compensation module that increases the precision of handling robots and Cartesian systems. This Smart Flex Effector offers independent kinematics in six degrees of freedom.
“Our wealth of experience in this product area, our global presence and our ongoing dialog with customers who are becoming more and more involved in the agile development process are key factors in our success,” said Lehmann. “Users benefit from modern eTools, a comprehensive portfolio of mechanical, drive and control systems from a single source and ready-to-install subsystems.”
30 years of linear axes
At the start of the 1960s, Bosch Rexroth began developing linear bushings, shafts, slides and transfer tables as prototypes. The first two complete linear modules with linear guides in combination with a ball screw assembly and toothed belt drive as a ready-to-install subsystem were launched in 1990 – a quantum leap in the linear axes range which had previously been dominated by components. In 1996, they were followed by carriages with an integrated runner block. This in turn led to the introduction of the compact modules which offer high performance yet take up less space.
With the electromechanical cylinder (EMC), the company began electrifying actuators in 2007. These actuators replaced the conventional pneumatic solutions that had a higher energy consumption. In 2018, Bosch Rexroth presented the integrated measuring systems IMS, integrated into linear axes. The solution is largely immune to interference and offers high precision and integrability.
However, the products are not the only things that have changed over the last 30 years. The way the company works with users has changed too, for example through the introduction of CAD systems, 3D models, product configurators and modern eTools such as the selection and sizing tool LinSelect which was developed in 2016. This allows intuitive axis dimensioning and selection and guides engineers to the optimum linear axis with just a few mouse clicks.
About Bosch Rexroth
As one of the world’s leading suppliers of drive and control technologies, Bosch Rexroth ensures efficient, powerful and safe movement in 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. With its intelligent components, customized system solutions and services, Bosch Rexroth is creating the necessary environment for fully connected applications. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drive and control technology, gear technology and linear motion and assembly technology, including software and interfaces to the Internet of Things. With locations in over 80 countries, roughly 31,000 associates generated sales revenue of roughly 6.2 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in 2019.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2019). The company generated sales of 77.7 billion euros ($84 billion) in 2019. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. 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.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs some 72,600 associates in research and development at 126 locations across the globe, as well as roughly 30,000 software engineers.