Bosch wants to achieve sustainable growth with industrial technology. Particularly, the company aims its sales of industrial technology to rise from their current level of €7 billion to more than €10 billion by 2028.
The aim is to achieve profitable growth: “We want to increase result more than sales and sustainably increase the value of the company. To this end, Bosch will invest a combined total of more than €3 billion in industrial technology in 2022 and 2023, ensuring organic and inorganic growth,” says the Bosch chairman Dr. Stefan Hartung.
For one, the acquisition of the U.S. hydraulics company HydraForce and its roughly 2,100 associates means that Bosch’s biggest current acquisition is in its Industrial Technology business sector. This merger sees Bosch Rexroth expanding its leading global position in hydraulics, supplying technology for excavators, cranes, tractors, and for plant and machinery in factories.
Industrial technology offers enormous growth potential for Bosch. Most importantly, the increasing need for automation and Industry 4.0 solutions is the driver. Moreover, the “merging” of electrical and hydraulic systems, and growing demand for GreenTech for the ecological transformation of the economy. “By strengthening Industrial Technology, we are creating a better balance among our areas of business. Our broad diversification as a global technology company makes Bosch more creative and robust,” Hartung says.
At the recent Hannover Messe in Hannover, Germany, Bosch showcased its industrial technology portfolio, including innovations in collaborative robotics, control technology for Industry 4.0, energy-efficient hydraulics, electrified mobile machinery, stationary fuel cells for buildings and factories, and automated battery recycling.
Within the Bosch Group as well, Industrial Technology is an important service provider. Thereby, equipping the roughly 240 Bosch plants worldwide with manufacturing technology to ensure resource-efficient, customer-specific production. This saves the group from having to make orders worth over half a billion euros every year.
Industrial technology is growing, thanks both to various sectors of the economy moving toward climate neutrality and to the emergence of a circular economy. In addition, Hartung says, “Without capital goods, the ecological transformation of business would not be conceivable. Industrial technology enables the sustainable transformation of different sectors of the economy.”
For that reason, Bosch is developing solutions that conserve resources, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment, and mitigate global warming. In 2022, Bosch generated sales of more than €1 billion with environmental technology for industry – a year-on-year increase of 25 percent. In other words, Bosch reached its sales target for 2023 one year earlier than planned.
Furthermore, the company is continuing to expand its GreenTech portfolio. Bosch Rexroth, for example, is launching its eLION portfolio solutions for the electrification of mobile machinery such as excavators, wheel loaders, and tractors. With over 80 motor variants, graded according to power and size, the company offers the broadest range in the industry, helping to reduce carbon emissions on construction sites, in mining, and in ports.
Energy, factory supplies, raw materials – resources are rare and precious. Thus, Hartung says, “Our response to shortages is efficiency. Anyone looking to manufacture sustainably needs to adopt Industry 4.0.”
For example, Bosch Connected Industry’s Nexeed Industry 4.0 software increases plant effectiveness in factories by an average of 5 percent, cuts maintenance costs by 25 percent, and reduces waste. For that reason, Nexeed is already being put through its paces in more than half of Bosch’s roughly 240 plants and at more than 100 international customers.
Software also helps combine conventional and novel technologies. For one is hydraulics. For more than 200 years, fluid mechanics have been used whenever large loads need to be moved with minimal effort, for example in plastics machinery or presses.
Thanks to load-dependent control, Bosch Rexroth variable-speed pump drives are now always in the optimum operating mode. They switch to standby mode when not in use. Compared to conventional drives, this reduces the hydraulic systems’ energy consumption by up to 80 percent.
Aging society, labor shortages, limited resources in general: the challenges are mounting. For that reason, Bosch is focusing on an education and training campaign and on technology that supports companies and relieves workers of certain tasks.
For example, Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX AUTOMATION modular automation understands over 30 programming languages and allows users to develop their own apps and services. More than 600 customers already rely on this pioneering form of automation.
“The only way we can overcome the pressing challenges of our time is by joining forces to make more of a difference. ‘Co-creation’ and making systems open for others are important considerations here,” Hartung says. Bosch Rexroth is pursuing this approach in hydraulics as well. Previously, control technology is to hardware. Now, the company has transferred this to software modules.
This means mechanical engineers can continue to use existing automation architectures; specific hydraulics know-how is no longer required.
Automation also supports workers directly, for example by relieving them of monotonous or strenuous tasks. At Hannover Messe, Bosch Rexroth showcased its articulated, fine-motor lightweight cobots that reach around corners in seven axes and help workers load, palletize, and inspect workpieces. These cobots have high demand.
Moreover, the global market for industrial automation is growing rapidly: while sales of automation technology were just under €200 billion in 2021, they are likely to grow to more than €400 billion globally by 2030 – with annual growth rates of over 8 percent (source: Precedence Research, 2022). “Megatrends such as digitalization, an aging society, and efforts toward greater sustainability are driving the demand for automation. Factory automation is a strategic business area for Bosch in which we aim to achieve double-digit growth every year – and thus grow faster the market,” Hartung says.