Bosch connects people, processes and tools with IoT

German engineering and electronics company, Bosch, can now identify the precise location of its tools on the plant floor.

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It’s one thing to talk about eliminating wastes and inefficiencies – but quite another to know exactly how to identify them.

Bosch, a manufacturing and engineering conglomerate that is the world’s largest supplier of automotive components, has recognised the advantages the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), according to a senior executive responsible for developing a ‘connected factory’.

“A connected factory is about connecting people, processes and tools,”says Dirk Slama, project director, Bosch. “Connected tools contribute not only to product quality and safety, but also to making production more efficient, which improves competitiveness.”

Recognising the advantages of a connected factory, Slama noted that Bosch has partnered with Cisco to improve product quality and worker safety. Bosch’s tools are fully connected and generating production data. With information on the tools’ location, calibration state, and other context, workers now have a detailed overview of the conditions of their tools at all times. As a result, Bosch has automated a number of routine tasks such as the replacement of worn parts on power tools.

The company is able to record the torque used to tighten hundreds of thousands of bolts and to store that information for quality, tracking, and traceability. This provides workers with clues as to the possible causes of torque faults and improves overall quality. These new connections are also aiding in error avoidance. If a worker tries to use a tool mistakenly for the wrong task, the tool automatically powers itself down to avoid a potentially critical manufacturing mistake.

Bosch developed the chordless nutrunner used to track the tools, and Bosch Software contributes to the software used to gather and evaluate data. Bosch is now harnessing digital technology to improve the safety of its workers and the quality of its products.

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