25 Jul 2024


‘Desktop factory’ cuts set-up and running costs

Bosch Rexroth has developed a compact, modular system for manufacturing small products which, it claims, can save on space and running costs, as well as providing more flexibility when changing or modifying products. Rexroth originally developed the “desktop factory” technology to produce electropneumatic transducers at one of its factories, but is now offering the technology to external customers.

Rexroth desktop factory

The pilot installation, at a Bosch factory in Waiblingen, Germany, is said to occupy up to 75% less space and use 20% less energy than a conventional production line. “We are trying to reach overall investment savings of 10–20% throughout the product service life,” explains Berd Feirabend, who manages production procedures and the construction of special machinery at the Waiblingen plant. “In some cases, it may even be 30%.”

The technology is designed to produce items weighing up to 100g and measuring up to 100 x 100 x 100mm. The “factory” is assembled by using standard-width, single-purpose, A4-sized modules (in 220, 330 and 440mm widths) that slot into a frame containing a central power supply.

“Engineering efforts are considerably lower than with conventional system construction,” Feirabend reports, adding that the ability to re-use the modules can result in considerable savings when changing products. “We were able to design a completely new platform within just three months,” he says.

Other claimed benefits of the desktop factory approach include: the ability to use the same components from prototyping to full production; a reduction in scrap; and rapid identification of any production problems because of the “transparency” of the single-purpose modules.