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The digital journey of Linear Motion Technology has begun

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09.08.2018 11:11


Matthias Rommel, Head of Business Unit Linear Motion Technology, Bosch Rexroth AG:

While many mechanical engineers are still marveling at the force of which information technologies are making their way into factories, the basic technologies are also changing virtually unnoticed. To take Linear Motion Technology as an example, many still consider it a purely mechanical affair; however, more recent developments paint an entirely different picture. Matthias Rommel, Head of the Linear Motion Technology Business Unit at Bosch Rexroth AG explains which opportunities are now available due to digitization:

"What will connected Linear Motion Technology be able to do in the future that it cannot do now? We at Bosch Rexroth are confident that a great deal more is possible today than most people can imagine. We already have clear ideas of how to intelligently integrate Rexroth Linear Motion Technology into the factory of the future. In this factory of the future, production can be changed over via software command and sensors monitor all operating conditions to allow predictive maintenance to increase machine availability even more significantly. 

The journey towards these goals has already begun. Even today, online tools help select, design and configure mechanical components. Engineers can find the exact solution for their application in minutes. The software assistants will reach such a level of development - also supported by artificial intelligence - that they will even be able to depict complex, multi-axis systems. Aside from the mechanical components, they also include sensors and drive technology, including preprogrammed movement sequences. 

The information gathered during the design and configuration stages will be used from the start to generate meaningful virtual images for universally digital engineering. Machine manufacturers use them from the initial idea to simulation and design, to electronic ordering and documentation. This information is then still available and also simplifies the engineering process in the next steps. Each component automatically identifies itself during start-up with a digital name plate. Software assistants use this individual information and the process requirements to derive the optimal parameters. Electrical start-up is largely automatic and fault-free. 

At the same time, sensors integrated into the Linear Motion Technology lay the groundwork for comprehensive condition monitoring. No technology is closer to the physical interface between machine and workpiece than Linear Motion Technology. Nowhere else does process data merge in such an unfiltered manner. The control system knows what the machine is doing, but Linear Motion Technology "senses" how it feels while doing it. This means that very soon, Linear Motion Technology, together with condition monitoring, will be able to automate the entire process, from wear detection to spare parts ordering. 

This forward integration of mechanical components for the factory of the future is already in full swing. What is important is that machine manufacturers, service providers and users do not have to do any programming or integration themselves, rather simply use the encapsulated measuring functions in the Linear Motion Technology for their analyses. 

Digital selection, configuration, design, start-up, conversion and predictive maintenance, including service functions: The digital journey of Linear Motion Technology has long since begun - and it will open up monumental horizons for greater productivity over the entire life cycle." 

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