Preparing the ground for the factory of the future

Preparing the ground for the factory of the future

How we bring Bosch Rexroth's smart floor to life

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In the factory of the future, the only fixed elements are the external walls. Machinery and equipment on the other hand, can be moved freely and communicate with each other in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). An important requirement for this is a decentralised supply and data infrastructure. With the smart floor, Bosch Rexroth has developed a corresponding system where Weidmüller solutions are deployed.

The factory of the future replaces fixed production lines with a modular approach. Machinery and equipment are mobile, work independently to a large extent and exchange data with each other, in order to continuously improve the manufacturing processes. Central control mechanisms are replaced by intelligent networks.

Bosch Rexroth has developed a new floor system to ensure that everything functions as reliably, as user-friendly and as cost-effectively as possible. This consists of square metre panels, each with its own control system. These include Weidmüller solutions that ensure both the decentralised and, at the same time, the modular supply and automation of the individual panels, as well as contactless transmission to the units on the floor.

The system is designed with a double-skinned floor, which not only provides space for the control unit cabling but also for the supply of coolant, compressed air or lubricants.

Decentralised supply and control units

A decentralised plug-and-play concept consisting of modular FieldPower® boxes and appropriate Weidmüller cabling solutions handles the supply to the smart floor.
A decentralised plug-and-play concept consisting of modular FieldPower® boxes and appropriate Weidmüller cabling solutions handles the supply to the smart floor.

This is how manufacturing in the factory of the future will work. A primary system located in the production hall or in the cloud evaluates the stock of pending orders. Then it moves and positions the equipment and machinery accordingly. Ad-hoc modifications of logistics paths are also possible. The moving work zones are highlighted by light strips on the floor so that operators and vehicles can move safely through the factory.

Bosch Rexroth has focused on using the FieldPower® concept. It offers the modular and decentralised plug-and-play provision of the required 400 V mains supply and the 24 V control voltage. In addition, it also brings intelligence to the floor. As well as the control and network technology, the decentralised functional units also have load cells and proximity sensors integrated in them. In order to meet the requirements for underfloor deployment, the FieldPower® enclosure system complies with protection classes up to IP65.

Integrated Smart Grid

Each panel is supplied and controlled individually, to allow for a modular floor construction. This is ensured by the FieldPower® functional unit which complies with IP65.
Each panel is supplied and controlled individually, to allow for a modular floor construction. This is ensured by the FieldPower® functional unit which complies with IP65.

The fault-free and seamless operation of the smart floor has to be ensured, in order to avoid failures in the process chain. Maximum resilience against system failure is provided by the Weidmüller FieldPower® Systems, through the redundant construction of the 24 V load and control voltage that acts as a Smart Grid. The modules for the control and network technology are also arranged in a decentralised manner.

You will find further information about the FieldPower® automation system's diverse options on our website.

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The advantage for the employees is the flexible positioning of their equipment and their production resources.«

Javier Stillig, Bosch Rexroth AG

Contactless power transmission

FreeCon Contactless offers compact dimensions and maximum efficiency to enable reliable and contactless transmission of up to 240 W of power
FreeCon Contactless offers compact dimensions and maximum efficiency to enable reliable and contactless transmission of up to 240 W of power

When equipment, machinery or automated guided vehicles (AGV) move across the floor, they are supplied with power and data through contactless transmission units. This offers some significant advantages. Firstly, the units no longer have to be fixed in one position to receive their power and data. Instead of this, they can be arranged flexibly or they can move around on their own. Secondly, contactless power transmission prevents expensive production downtimes resulting from equipment wear, since faulty contacts are a frequent reason for time-consuming repairs.

For this reason, Bosch Rexroth uses FreeCon Contactless for the modular load concept in the smart floor. The Weidmüller solution scores heavily as it offers the most compact construction available on the market. Up to 240 W are transmitted across a 10 mm wide air gap. This ensures double the power density with maximum efficiency.

You will find further information about the FreeCon Contactless system on our website.

Maximum flexibility

Valuable time savings through standardization: With the Weidmüller tool chest, you can increase your efficiency in panel building by up to 10 %
Valuable time savings through standardization: With the Weidmüller tool chest, you can increase your efficiency in panel building by up to 10 %

The level of flexibility offered by the concept of the smart floor from Bosch Rexroth is shown by the use of the Weidmüller tool chest. It is supplied with power through the contactless transmission system and can be positioned at different locations on the shop floor. In this way, the integrated thermotransfer printer is always ready for immediate use without needing its own special power connection point. The well-thought-out design of the tool inserts supports the organisation and standardisation of work processes, resulting in significant efficiency increases during installation and cabling processes.

Find out about our complete workshop solutions for up to 80% faster processes.

Individual application options

It is also possible to deploy the smart floor just in parts of the production area to start with. If contactless power transmission is not required across the whole of the area, tiles without any functions can be laid at edge areas or along defined paths. This allows the customer to switch over to using flexible manufacturing concepts step by step, thereby reducing the initial investment costs.

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This is a great opportunity for Weidmüller to develop further products together with Bosch Rexroth. We will work together to make the smart floor ready for series production.«

Christian Deppermann, Key Account Manager Bosch, Weidmüller
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