Whose Factory of the Future is it anyway?



We’re all busy speculating about the Factory of the Future, but who’s vision is it and who does it serve? Rexroth Chairman, Rolf Najork, cuts through the hyperbole to reveal some future truths.

Everyone has a theory or vision of the Factory of the Future these days. But put aside the talk and we’re left with a more practical view based on real benefits for manufacturers and their customers. You demand greater flexibility in production than ever before, combined with high quality and affordability.

We take your challenge seriously

Our vision has an absolute focus on your needs – delivering a Factory of the Future that’s completely variable. The walls, the floor and ceiling may be fixed, but everything else is mobile with modular assembly lines and machines that freely adapt to new purposes. A system communicating wirelessly via 5G and powered through the floor through an inductive charging system.

A future for businesses large, and small

Our vision may meet the needs of larger manufacturers, but is it practical for smaller businesses and their customers? These companies are faced with more immediate concerns, such as driving efficiencies and lowering overheads. The Factory of the Future is entirely the right path for small businesses to follow as it directly addresses process improvements, product quality and cost-effectiveness.

Is agility the key to your success?

As a smaller manufacturer, you may be surprised to hear that you are best placed to take advantage of these developments, due to:

  • Less infrastructure
  • Shorter chains of command
  • Fewer layers to your production methodologies

All this means greater flexible and the ability to be agile in your marketplace.

Less risk, more reward

But how can your business be sure the Factory of the Future will deliver benefits? We can offer you this reassurance in the form of a ‘digital twin’ - a virtual replica of the entire physical factory, that can be used as a testbed before starting production. We already have ‘configurator’ technology that enables manufacturers to design products, mimic their process and assess implementation. My colleague Dr Heiner Lang will cover this in more detail in tomorrow’s post.

Be agile. Be flexible. Be unique

The greatest impact of the Factory of the Future will be that we can create superb products of enormous variety and flexibility. What’s more, it will be increasingly possible to make these products to a very high quality and under very economical conditions.

One more thing. In a world of anything up to 10 billion people, customization will be the big USP – that means the Factory of the Future belongs to everyone.

Author:  Rolf Najork
Biography: Rolf Najork is the Chairman of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG and is responsible for the engineering at Bosch Rexroth and for driving foreign business forward in major growth markets. He has accepted the position of President of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG effective February 1, 2016 with responsibility for engineering, where he will promote the electronification of all drive technologies for integrated solutions in mobile and industrial applications. The implementation of the international growth strategy is another focal point. As Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer he was previously responsible for production, purchasing, and development at Heraeus Holding GmbH in Hanau, Germany.


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