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Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) supply the workstations with material. AMR fleets can quickly take on new tasks. Add to that the intelligent floor: At night, the company receives a new order. The factory recalculates the production, the value stream for it. Machines are relocated by AMRs, resupplied with power from the floor, the walkways and logistics areas are automatically readjusted, and in the morning, when the workers start their shift again, every employee knows immediately how to proceed.

Bosch Rexroth developers worked with many partners to design and implement the floor, and with the help of the management shell, a single unit controls all components of the floor. The system also responds to voice commands. The management shell is a result of the German Industry 4.0 platform and ensures the interoperability of systems in factories. The intelligent floor shows the way. Controllers, sensors and LEDs are built-in and, via MQTT, the floor system can forward data to other applications.

Today, engineers can transmit up to three kilowatts of power to plants via the floor and save on long cabling runs – do they need even more power? Theoretically, that would be conceivable (10 kilowatt modules are in the planning stage), but users do not move such large systems that quickly.

In the future, compressed air will also disappear under the floor with tanks and cabling. This will then be reminiscent of the apron at the airport. And navigation via the system is possible. In addition, the floor can always be expanded or updated with new components.

And IT? A white paper from Bosch Rexroth explains, “But security plays an outstanding role not only in the supply of the plants, but also in IT. In the future, companies will demand security and flexibility in equal measure. Open interfaces and standards will gain in importance, because industry will be even less keen to tie itself to one supplier after the pandemic. The trend toward using open source software will therefore increase sharply. Too much dependency will no longer be accepted in the near future.” Industry is learning: Digitalization, sustainability and resilience go hand in hand.