The Factory Automation of the Future: Instructions for Use

A fully automated 3D printer that is connected via 5G; a news hydraulic power unit; a new embedded control unit: these are the highlights of Bosch Rexroth’s presence at SPS IPC DRIVES Italia.

by Andrea Baty

At SPS IPC DRIVES Italia Bosch Rexroth will offer a real experience of the factory automation of the future through two dedicated paths (one for OEMs, the other for users) showing its potential effects on production processes. The journey starts from the components up to the machine design: through a higher level of transparency, designers will be allowed to streamline processes, to increase quality and productivity and, finally, to imagine a fully connected factory via 5G. Bosch Rexroth will exhibit a fully automated 3D printer that is connected via 5G. Developed in collaboration with machine manufacturers BigRep, Nokia and Qualcomm, the printer shows the advantes offered by open automation to optimize value added processes. The BigRep PRO large-scale 3D printer is equipped with industrial IoT solutions from Bosch Rexroth and Bosch Connected Industry. IoT devices, software and intelligent sensors transparently monitor all operating and environmental conditions and improve process quality. This reduces waste and reproducibly increases the quality of the printed components. At the same time, it increases the availability of the machine, since the software solutions detect wear and defects before they lead to machine failure. The integrated IoT Gateway software ensures that the BigRep 3D printer is connected with the industrial Internet of Things. Bosch Rexroth relies on connectivity with other machines and higher-level IT systems, because only this enables integration into connected production lines in series production. This means that data-intensive processes such as quality monitoring in the multi-variant manufacturing can be outsourced to the cloud or production related edge systems via 5G.

Energy efficient hydraulic power unit in smart configuration
Bosch Rexroth’s solutions for efficiency include the new CytroBox hydraulic power unit featuring an energy efficient smart modular configuration and offering a new solution for the 7.5÷30 kW power range. Equipped with sensors and open interfaces, the CytroBox is suitable for connected environments. All information about the CytroBox – from operating and component conditions, through upcoming maintenance, up to predictive maintenance analysis – is accessible via the Rexroth Online Diagnostics Network (ODiN).

Monitoring performances with the embedded control unit
Finally, with the new embedded XM42 control unit, Bosch Rexroth expands its range of performance monitoring capabilities. The hardware monitors all the technologies adopted in the process. Short machine cycle times optimize process speed. The embedded hardware allows operators to automate operations that previously required more control devices. The unit supports all most popular communication protocols and, thanks to an integrated OPC UA server and the Rexroth Open Core Interface, is designed for use in integrated environments. The Rexroth IMS-A measuring system, integrated in the linear guides, measures the absolute position of the axis with an accuracy of ± microns; it doesn’t suffer from contamination, vibrations, shock and electromagnetic interference and does not require buffer batteries in the event of a power failure. With additional temperature and motion sensors, the system responds perfectly to predictive maintenance parameters.