Bosch Rexroth touts diversified technologies, application know-how

Lohr a.M., Würzburg, Germany—Recent business successes with prospects for more of the same, plus multiple technologies united under one uniform control system and deep application know-how within Bosch Rexroth’s five divisions were emphasized at the company’s “1st Global Technology Summit” held here in late-January 2005.


Manfred Grundke, chairman of the Executive Board: “Bosch Rexroth is a company with its roots in Germany, but is at home in the entire world.”

Lohr a.M., Würzburg, Germany —Recent business successes with prospects for more of the same, plus multiple technologies united under one uniform control system and deep application know-how within Bosch Rexroth ’s five divisions were emphasized at the company’s “1st Global Technology Summit” held here in late-January 2005.

Manfred Grundke, chairman of the Bosch Rexroth Executive Board, referred to “no lack of challenges” confronting companies in the coming decade—characterized by rapid economic, technological, and organizational changes. “Rexroth accepts these changes as challenges and shapes them in its capacity as a partner to its customers…We are guided by our vision, in which our conscious enthusiasm for innovation and new solutions is paramount,” he said.

Summing up business figures for 2003, Grundke put total sales of Bosch Rexroth Group at 3.7 billion Euros (about $4.8 billion), with Germany contributing 1.19 B Euros; rest of Europe, 1.35 B Euros; Americas, 671 M Euros; and Asia/rest of world, 483 M Euros. Meanwhile, R&D outlay in 2003 amounted to 184 million Euros or 5% of sales. Detailed figures for 2004 will be announced at Hannover Fair in April, but Grundke did reveal one fact: for the first time, sales exceeded 4 billion Euros. He was further “optimistic” about 2005.
As for products, Grundke stressed Bosch Rexroth’s position as a single-source provider of electric drives and controls, hydraulics, pneumatics, linear and assembly technologies, and associated software. “This gives customers an advantage from the perspective of shorter product development cycles, faster start-up, and more,” he said. Product offerings range from components and complete modules to full automation packages. Moreover, one uniform control system can handle interaction of electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic drives. Grundke also pointed to the company’s deep expertise in specific industries it supplies. Such know-how is vital as it’s unique to each industry—that is, different knowledge is necessary for machine building than for papermaking or packaging machines.

“Bosch Rexroth is a company with its roots in Germany, but is at home in the entire world,” added Grundke. This is illustrated by the company’s decades-long presence in the Americas and throughout Asia, including China and India. A sample of its project expertise ranges from hydraulic assembly equipment for the future A380 Airbus, to drive and control technology for Volkswagen’s latest auto “factory of glass,” to modernizing the Welland Canal lock system along the St. Lawrence River in Canada with modern hydraulic drive technology. As an example of active participation in open-systems for automation, the company was one of the founding members of OMAC (open modular architecture controls) and its Packaging Working Group.

Marketing strategies

China and the U.S. represent prime markets for Bosch Rexroth. In a meeting exclusively with U.S. editors at the Technology Summit, Grundke provided some insight into marketing plans. Efforts in China currently focus on application engineering, however, product R&D centers will be established to be able to compete with Chinese technology locally, he explained.

As for market strategy in the U.S., Grundke summarized it as a three-point application engineering effort:

1) Increase application know-how and value-add features for hydraulic products, including mobile hydraulics for heavy, off-highway equipment. Integral to the plan are getting closer to customers, more logistics, and better delivery times.

2) Extend the sales and application net to the West coast—for example in the semiconductor fabrication sector.

3) Focus on automotive and food packaging applications.

Bosch Rexroth Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, had some 25,700 employees worldwide in 2003, with 58.5% working in Germany, 20.8% in rest of Europe; 11.6% in the Americas, and 9.1% in Asia/ROW. The company has a global sales network in more than 80 countries (its own sales force and service locations in 37 countries), along with 41 production sites in 12 countries.

Ten editors from the U.S. (including Control Engineering )—among a total of nearly 60 international editors—participated in the 1st Rexroth Global Technology Summit.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor,

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