Innovative 'Bosch Tienen' becomes Factory of the Future 2019

During the fifth edition of the Factory of the Future Awards in Kortrijk, ten companies had the honour of receiving the title of Factory of the Future, the award granted by Sirris and Agoria for the companies that best succeed in reconciling the technologies of the future with work tailored to people and the environment. One of the winners is Robert Bosch Produktie N.V. from Tienen.

One of the key objectives of Sirris and Agoria is to enhance the contributions of the technological industry to a prosperous and sustainable society. Together with various partners Sirris and Agoria support manufacturing companies in this respect, for example through the ‘Factory of the Future’ project, in which an award is granted each year to the best students of the class.

Factories of the Future invest in digitisation, smart processes and products and in global production, while also thoughtfully dealing with energy and materials and paying attention to engagement, creativity and autonomy of their employees.

The ten winning companies received the title of Factory of the Future from Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois on 6 February. The following companies were this year’s winners: BMT Aerospace, Robert Bosch Produktie N.V., Colruyt Group Fine Food, Duracell, Janssen, Lavetan, Mirion Technologies, Niko Group, Materialise and Rf-Technologies.

Over the years Robert Bosch Produktie N.V. - ‘Bosch Tienen’ - has become the production plant for wipers, both for original equipment and for the replacement market, and also delivers parts to sister companies in Europe and Asia. As a ‘Center of Competence’ the company developed new product generations over the years to strengthen its competitive position on the market. Bosch Tienen develops new generations of wiper blades and corresponding rubbers, but also other products. The R&D teams are managed to launch new technologies together with the customer.

Strong competitiveness thanks to innovation

Transformation take place in different areas: Robert Bosch Produktie N.V. also wants to supply other markets, besides automotive, such as appliances for domestic use. In the development it uses new technologies including simulation and 3D printing to make prototypes earlier on in the process. The company works with multidisciplinary teams which simultaneously develop processes and products.

The change strategy of Bosch Tienen is based on their aim to strengthen their competitive position. Every element needed to deliver the final product to the end customer has been examined. Product design was reinvented to get rid of labour-intensive processes, to move the complexity to the end of the value change, to make the production process easier to manage and to optimise the supply of components. The basic philosophy is an inline-inflow-production which counters waste to the maximum by increasing the flexibility of the production machine. It developed an inline coating system and welding process with ultrasonic technology to eliminate an offline process.

Digitisation supports quick response times and creates the basis of continuous optimisation. All machinery is equipped with cameras and sensors, which allows for the collection of larger amounts of data, which are available in real time for employees. In this way errors can be avoided and the quality of process and product can be improved. Employees are actively involved in the change process, which is systematically supported with a toolbox based on continuous improvement.

Wondering what a Factory of the Future looks like on the inside? From 21 March to 9 June Agoria will again organise a Factory of the Future Roadshow, which will visit 19 of the winners. This roadshow is your chance to see how Factory of the Future winners operate, to connect with them and test your own challenges against their experience. More information is available in our agenda.