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Picture showing a topshot of an employee collaborating with two APAS assitant mobile

APAS

Humans and machines hand in hand

Intelligent systems for the flexible factory

Flexible systems, safe human-machine collaboration, and networking from the sensor to the cloud make manufacturing fit for industry 4.0

Picture showing an APAS assistant mobile, APAS inspector mobile and APAS flexpress standing next to each other

In the connected, changeable production of industry 4.0, flexibility through non-application specific machines plays an important role. The focus is on flexible production systems and mobile assistance systems which are no longer limited to a single production process. They can be adapted quickly according to requirements and contribute significantly to process optimization, enabling the cost-efficient production even of small batches starting with lot size 1. Accordingly, they fulfill customer demands for individualized products and contribute to the emergence of a Smart Factory. Human-robot collaboration also plays an important role in industry 4.0. Robots, which are able to work with humans directly, safely, and without the need for a safety enclosure, support humans in their role as decision-makers and drivers of industry 4.0. The robot takes over monotonous and simple tasks so that humans can concentrate on the complex interplays of the Smart Factory. This interaction of both partners not only leads to an increase in efficiency, it can also contribute to a long-term optimization of the entire productivity.

The APAS assistant mobile is displayed from at an angle behind in front of a white background

APAS assistant mobile

The APAS assistant mobile is a collaborative, flexible, and mobile robot for the Smart Factory. It can be used independent of location and can adapt to different tasks. The intelligent robot system is primarily intended for end users, who require a fast and budget-priced realization of new operations, as well as a highly robust, easy-to-handle and intuitively controllable system.

The APAS assistant inline is displayed from an angle in front of  a white background

APAS assistant inline

The APAS assistant inline is a kinematic robot without safety fence designed for human-robot collaboration in the Smart Factory. As automation component, it is suited for plant installation or expansion. It is thus primarily designed for system integrators and mechanical engineers, who wish to extend their scope of solutions through collaborative robotics without having to forego the familiar construction and programming environment.

The APAS assistant inspector is displayed from an angle in front of  a white background

APAS inspector

With the APAS inspector, we offer a comprehensive construction kit of hardware and software for the realization of individual solutions in visual inspection and quality control. Whether used as complete system or integrated into existing machines and lines – innovative technologies and 3D imaging methods guarantee reliable results, even in rough production environments.

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Human-robot collaboration
Sensor skin
Flexible production
Industry 4.0
User-centered automation
Image processing
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The picture shows a bosch employee who is using a cordless screwdriver collaborationg with the APAS assistant

Human-robot collaboration

Human-robot collaboration combines the strengths of robots with those of humans. Together, they can achieve much more than they could by themselves. While the robot is especially precise and enduring, humans have problem solving competencies, which machines cannot offer, despite their access to large amounts of data. Knowledge and experience enable humans to assess even unforeseeable and highly complex situations and to find creative solutions. Collaborative robots, so-called cobots, support humans without replacing them. Instead, they complement the unique human skills and assist employees in dealing with their work. This especially enables older, more experienced workers to take part in working life for longer. Moreover, robots help to optimize quality, since they are able to work constantly and precisely even while performing monotonous tasks. The intelligent interplay of both partners opens up new forms of collaboration, and leads to an increase in efficiency, as well as to a long-term optimization of the entire productivity.

Sensor skin

Sensor skin

Collaborating robots work hand in hand with their human colleagues. This is why the safe detection of the employees and avoiding a collision are of paramount importance. Unlike other robots on the market, our APAS robots stop automatically and completely contactless if an employee comes too close. This is possible thanks to our unique capacitive sensor skin. Equipped with more than 120 sensors, the skin enables the robot to stop automatically and without contact at a safe speed of 0.5 m/s with a secure switching distance of typical 50 mm. Once the employee has left the immediate vicinity, the robot independently resumes its work exactly where it stopped before. Our sensor skin forms a key technology for human-robot collaboration. Hence we guarantee the safe identification of humans by our solutions at performance level d (category 3, two-channel safety). All our systems are also certified by the German employers' liability insurance association for the direct and safe human-robot collaboration.

Flexible production

Flexible production

The arrival of digitalization and the resulting networking are changing the markets and the working world. They have become faster, product lifecycles have become shorter. Customers demand individualized products with a larger variety, while competition is increasing. What’s more, time pressure is increasing due to automated and extremely fast production processes. Only agile, flexible and industry 4.0-capable production systems, which can be adapted quickly and cost-effectively to different requirements, are able to meet the challenges. Mobile assistance systems which are no longer limited to a single production process and can be flexibly used for different purposes, are at the heart of the intelligent factory. They help to optimize processes and increase efficiency. Moreover, they can not only handle small batches starting with lot size 1, they can also handle peak loads flexibly and economically. Accordingly, they fulfill customer demands for individualized products and contribute to the emergence of the Smart Factory.

 Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 combines the digital and the real world at a previously unknown level. It brings people and digital-controlled machines together with information technology and the Internet. Objects are always identifiable and communicate independently. This challenges the existing value chain and has an enormous impact on our future (working) lives and on the way we produce and distribute products. On the other hand, industry 4.0 opens up entirely new possibilities for higher productivity, flexibility and quality. Bosch is in the unique position of advancing industry 4.0 with a dual strategy. As leading user, Bosch collects invaluable experience while transforming the own facilities to industry 4.0. This experience is directly transferred to the development and implementation of new products, systems, software and solutions for the Smart Factory. Hence Bosch also is a leading provider for industry 4.0 solutions. As leading user and provider, we not only optimize our own international production network. We are also continuously seeking cooperation with our partners to establish value-adding networks across company borders, and to realize industry 4.0 comprehensively.

User-centered automation

User-centered automation

The forth industrial revolution poses new challenges to working conditions. Production processes are more varied and more complex. Moreover, the demographic change will lead to a lack of workers and specialists, and impose completely new requirements on workplace layouts. Companies have the task of making working conditions more attractive and of enabling employees to take part in working life for a longer time. While technology is asked to support and offer adaptation possibilities, humans with their changing requirements are at the center of the Smart Factory. Changes in work organization and the adaptation of workplace layouts should not only benefit and motivate younger employees. Experienced, older employees should also have the chance to participate in the active working life for a longer time. This is why we concentrate our development activities on human requirements right from the beginning.

Image processing

Image processing

In the era of industry 4.0, image processing requirements are further increasing. Markets and market demands are changing rapidly. Customers ask for more and more individualized products with consistently high quality standards. During the past years, suppliers of image processing systems have adapted their technologies to the accelerated production processes. Image processing has become faster and more user-friendly, while benefitting from high-speed cameras with ever higher resolution, as well as more effective interfaces. However, this is not enough: in order to ensure smooth industrial 4.0 processes, machines must be easily and flexibly adaptable to changing production conditions. With the APAS inspector, we offer a comprehensive construction kit of hardware and software for the realization of individual solutions in visual inspection and quality control. Whether used as complete system or integrated into existing machines and lines – innovative technologies and 3D imaging methods guarantee reliable results, even in rough production environments.

The picture shows a bosch employee who is using a cordless screwdriver collaborationg with the APAS assistant
Human-robot collaboration
Icon close
Sensor skin
Sensor skin
Icon close
Flexible production
Flexible production
Icon close
 Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0
Icon close
User-centered automation
User-centered automation
Icon close
Image processing
Image processing
Icon close

Human-robot collaboration

The picture shows a bosch employee who is using a cordless screwdriver collaborationg with the APAS assistant

Robots have improved our working environment in many aspects during the past years. Conventional robots usually work behind safety fences and take over tasks where we could not compete in terms of speed and precision. However, humans and robots can truly form an unbeatable team, as is shown by human-robot collaboration within industry 4.0. Robots leave their safety enclosures and support their human colleagues in their direct working environment.

Industrial image processing

The picture shows a machinebuilding part, which is being processed by the test module inside an APAS inspector

Automated visual inspection has become an integral part of modern industry. It is used to control production processes, thus paving the way for faultless production. Demanding surface inspections are mainly performed by humans. However, in order to detect smallest cracks, scratches or other faults on workpieces, inspectors require a lot of concentration and accuracy. It is very tiring to keep up a high performance level over a long period of time. Additionally, various persons come to different test results, in particular in borderline cases. Automated visual inspections, on the other hand, are objective and deliver consistent test results even after a long time.

Humans at the heart of the industry 4.0

A white human icon on a round, violet background

The forth industrial revolution poses new challenges to working conditions. Production processes are more varied and more complex. Moreover, the demographic change will lead to a lack of workers and specialists, and impose completely new requirements on workplace layouts. Companies have the task of making working conditions more attractive and of enabling employees to take part in working life for a longer time. While technology is asked to support and offer adaptation possibilities, humans with their changing requirements are at the center of the Smart Factory. Changes in work organization and the adaptation of workplace layouts should not only benefit and motivate younger employees. Experienced, older employees should also have the chance to participate in the active working life for a longer time. This is why we concentrate our development activities on human requirements right from the beginning.

Requirements

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User-friendliness and ergonomics

User-friendliness and ergonomics

Ergonomic workplaces not only help maintain the health and well-being of employees, they are also the key to higher performance, perfect quality and efficient processes. In addition to adapting to the physical requirements of the human being, ergonomics also takes into account the cognitive and psychological capabilities of humans, for example in the design of operating concepts. Ergonomic and user-friendly workstations not only create sustainable, healthy workplaces where employees feel comfortable, but also create unique user experiences to enjoy the work.

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Competence and ability to act

Competence and ability to act

Intuitive operation concepts provide for an easy handling of complex technologies. They enable an optimum interaction of humans and machines, leverage competence and the ability to act, thus facilitating daily work in multiple ways. Especially easy and unambiguous concepts serve this purpose. They make sure that users always receive exactly the information they need. Instructions such as fading in and out step-by-step instructions can help to make a system accessible even for employees without comprehensive expert knowledge. Thanks to intuitive operations concepts, our systems are easy to use without detailed specialist knowledge.

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Safety

Safety

Safety is one of the most important workplace requirements. Through safety we prevent work accidents and protect employees’ health. This is why safety always comes first in our developments. Certified for direct human-robot collaboration by the German employers’ liability insurance association all our systems operate without safety fences.

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Various application possibilities

With our collaborative robots we offer innovative automation solutions. Whether mobile, integrated into own machines or as components of manual workstations, whether fully or semi-automated, upgraded or implemented during ramp-up – our robots are suited for many applications, in different industries. Read more in our success stories.