Bosch Connects Measuring Lab with Production

Since 2020, measurement data from the measurement machines have been transferred to the shop floor where steering nuts are produced at Bosch in Schwaebisch Gmuend using ZEISS PiWeb, a reporting and statistical software. This has increased the transparency of the data and helped the machine operators optimize the production process. The decisive factor in this optimization is the fact that the software suggests a correction value for every single process-relevant measurement characteristic.
Daniel Hübscher from Technology Development put all measurement programs to the test

The machine operators of Bosch are optimizing production with ZEISS PiWeb correction values

Bosch production planners Andreas Tisljar and Sebastian Schniepp had been working on the idea for a long time — namely, to make it much easier for the 35 machine operators who work in steering-nut production in Schwaebisch Gmuend to use the measurement data. For if the machine operators wanted to identify a trend in production, they previously had to take out the last protocols from a file folder and compare them page by page. “That’s impossible to do in the normal course of business,” says Tisljar.

Given the tolerances that have to be maintained, which are meanwhile “around the size of an Ebola virus,” as Daniel Huebscher from the technology-development department of Bosch likes to describe it, the stability of the processes in Schwaebisch Gmuend depended strongly on the experience of individual employees and whether they happened to have a good or bad day.

The advantage of ZEISS PiWeb

They therefore sought a solution that would give the machine workers both an analysis and a graphical representation of the measurement values. “What we wanted could only be achieved with ZEISS PiWeb,” says Schniepp. In order to convince senior management to invest in the software, the production planners predicted that the utilization of the measurement machines could be increased at by least 1%. As it turned out, “we were way too modest,” continues Schniepp. Although a separate project to gather concrete figures was not launched, “we do see a higher utilization of the machines and less scrap,” stresses Tisljar. “Production is running more quietly and the production process has become more stable, especially with inexperienced machine operators,” adds Schniepp.

Measurement logs can be called up directly at the machining center

Correction values for a closed loop

This is also thanks to the fact that ZEISS PiWeb calculates the correction values. These values indicate by which how much the processing of the part has to be corrected in order to achieve the target value. “By providing these correction values, we’re taking away a lot of work for the machine operators to calculate these values and also reducing error sources,” stresses the production planner. This is especially the case when several processing steps are relevant for a measurement characteristic.

The machine operators in Schwaebisch Gmuend receive these correction values by calling up the relevant reporting in the machines they’re working with. They decided themselves based on their experience whether or not these values are transferred 1:1. And because mistakes can happen quickly when manually transferring data into the machine controls, the plan in the future is to display the correction values directly on the display of the processing centers. But even then, the machine operators will decide which values to take over. “They are responsible for the processing result and have to retain this responsibility,” emphasize Schniepp and Tisljar.

The huge potential of developing a closed loop has already made news within Bosch in Schwaebisch Gmuend. “We had colleagues here from gear-rack production, they’re excited and want to do the same thing,” say Schniepp, Huebscher and Tisljar enthusiastically.

Sebastian Schniepp and Daniel Hübscher also convinced colleagues from other departments to use the closed-loop solution with ZEISS PiWeb
Sebastian Schniepp Production Planner at Robert Bosch Autotmotive Steering GmbH

Since using ZEISS PiWeb, the production is running more quietly and the production process has become more stable, especially with inexperienced machine operators.

ZEISS PiWeb is a reporting software that translates measuring data that was collected in a complicated manner into meaningful results. The measurement data can be visualized both as diagrams and statistical analyses as well as by showing colored deviations to the CAD models. A further advantage: Measurement data from different components and measurement devices can be easily and quickly summarized in one document. Furthermore, ZEISS PiWeb calculates correction values that support the machine operators in achieving the required nominal values. The possibility to create company-specific reports allows the production process to be monitored in an optimal manner. ZEISS PiWeb is scalable. It allows companies that use the database-supported versions of ZEISS PiWeb to efficiently organize the information flow from Industry 4.0 processes, and therefore to make a step change in their digitalization efforts.

About ZEISS PiWeb

About Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH

Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH is a globally leading manufacturer of driving systems. The site in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany, includes the factory and the headquarters of the business area Automotive Steering. Around 4,000 people work here. They manufacturer automotive components for cars and commercial vehicles. In addition to the electric steering system Servolectric (Type EPSapa and EPSdp) for automobiles, the factory in Schwaebisch Gmuend also produces RB-Servocom®, which is a compact ball-nut power hydro system for trucks and buses.

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