Bosch Rexroth to Build Factory in Charlotte, N.C., Grows Linear Robot Line

Bosch Rexroth said its Cartesian robots open up new applications and plans to exhibit at Smart Production Solutions.

Bosch Rexroth

Artist rendering of new leased property proposed for Bosch Rexroth operations in Charlotte, N.C., that offers space for future expansion.
Bosch Rexroth has expanded its linear robot line, made its ctrlX Linux operating system open to third-party developers, and outgrown an existing production facility.

Earlier this month, Bosch Rexroth said that it is planning to expand its operations and that it will move its linear motion and assembly customizing facility to a new location in Charlotte, N.C. The company said it has outgrown its current location because of “significant growth” in its factory automation business in North America.

“We are excited to experience the growth that necessitates this move, and we are proud to remain within Charlotte,” remarked Greg Gumbs, president and CEO of Lohr a. Main, Germany-based Bosch Rexroth.

Bosch Rexroth is a leading supplier of drive and control technologies and has experience in mobile applications, engineering and machinery applications, and industrial automation. The company offers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, gears, linear motion and assembly technology, and software and interfaces for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Bosch Group unit has locations in more than 80 countries and over 31,000 associates and reported sales revenue of €6.2 billion ($6.13 billion U.S.) in 2021.

Bosch Rexroth grows in North Carolina

Bosch Rexroth has had operations in Charlotte for more than 30 years, including the past 26 years at its current location in Steele Creek, N.C. The company will enter a long-term lease for a facility to be developed and owned by SunCap Property Group.

“The new facility will be the ideal representation of what it truly means to be a factory of the future,” said Bosch Rexroth. “As part of its factory automation portfolio, Bosch Rexroth provides solutions that ensure the efficiency of manufacturers, regardless of industry. The operations in Charlotte are specifically dedicated to custom assembly and linear motion technology solutions tailored to meet their customers' variable needs.”

The new facility will boast a total footprint of 227,500 sq. ft. (about 21,000 sq. m), expanding Bosch Rexroth's current manufacturing footprint by over 25%, with additional room for future expansion. Within the new space, approximately 200,000 sq. ft. will be dedicated to lean manufacturing and logistics, providing enough room to optimize flexible production for changing demands.

The remaining 27,500 sq. ft. of space will be dedicated to a customer showroom and innovation center, training facilities, and office and collaboration space. It will also include a flexible galleria that can be used for co-working space, dining, town hall meetings, and other activities. Outside, there will be areas for walking paths and spaces to sit and connect with nature.

“We are eager to grow our capabilities and reaffirm our commitment to the success of our distribution and end customers in North America,” said Geert van der Zalm, vice president of sales for factory automation in North America. “It's not often that a company gets to build its factory environment from scratch, and we're in the unique position to do just that, while creating a showcase environment of what a factory of the future can be today.”

Michael Schmitt, senior vice president of technical and engineering in North America, expressed excitement about the new development. “The new building will provide plenty of space for research and development that inspires our associates and brings forward innovations that will help shape the future of manufacturing automation,” he said. “It is truly an exciting time to be in this market!”

Linear robot portfolio expands

Last month, Bosch Rexroth announced that its linear robots can now handle a wider range of working areas and loads with eight preconfigured axis combinations and 68 sizes. Sectors that can use the robots include automotive and battery production, pharmaceuticals, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), it said.

The robots are useful for pick-and-place; positioning and palletizing; and feeding, shifting, loading, and dispensing tasks, said the company. For intralogistics, including order picking and packaging, the new systems offer stroke lengths of up to 3 m (9.8 ft.) in the X and Y directions and up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft.) in the Z direction.

The new load spectrum extends to up to 160 kg (352.7 lb.) with three axes and up to 200 kg (440.9 lb.) with two axes. The Cartesian robots are thus suitable for a range of tasks including handling individual parts, containers, and boxes.

The preassembled systems require little maintenance and achieve a high level of process quality and productivity, claimed Bosh Rexroth. It said they are the result of design properties such as rigidity, dynamics, and repetition accuracy, as well as the new ctrlX AUTOMATION platform for complex movements.

The standardized procedure for selecting and sizing a suitable subsystem can be carried out quickly and easily using predefined reference processes with LinSelect. While the design is finalized in the online configurator, the 3D CAD data can be retrieved, an inquiry started, or the system ordered via the e-shop.

The robots can come with an optional energy chain and cable management, said Bosch Rexroth. To make commissioning easier, the relevant axis parameters are stored in the motor encoder memory and can be read out automatically. Various attachments and interfaces make assembly easier, it added.

The software add-on for the Smart Function Kits for handling or dispensing can save users even more time, according to Bosch Rexroth. A wizard can guide users through the commissioning process. The system is parameterized, and the axes referenced automatically.

Sequencing is carried out on a visual basis with the help of ready-to-use functional modules and can be completed in just a few minutes, Bosch Rexroth noted. Graphical programming allows complex line movements to be reproduced, thanks to the flexible combination of hardware and software, it said. Line integration can also be carried out easily with function modules, the company added.

Newly opened OS to show at ctrlX AUTOMATION

From Nov. 8 to 10, Bosh Rexroth will present new developments for its ctrlX AUTOMATION toolkit at the Smart Production Solutions (SPS) trade fair in Germany. The company said it will demonstrate its motto of “More openness and freedom in automation” at Booth 450 in Hall 450 at the Nuremburg Exhibition Center.

Bosch Rexroth said it has opened its ctrlX Linux operating system to third-party developers to address current shortages of specialized staffers.

“We’ve recently taken the bold step of making our operating system available to other automation component suppliers,” explained Steffen Winkler, vice president of sales for Bosh Rexroth's Automation & Electrification Solutions business unit.

“With ctrlX OS, it is now possible to take advantage of the benefits of our operating system for any automation topology,” he said. “These benefits include Linux, security, its real-time capability, its microservice-based architecture, and many others.“

The company also said it is collaborating with more than 60 ctrlX partners, including VMware, Nokia, and Hailo, which will be exhibiting at the event.

Bosch Rexroth presented new products ctrlX OS and ctrlX FLOW6D.

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Bosch Rexroth

Artist rendering of new leased property proposed for Bosch Rexroth operations in Charlotte, N.C., that offers space for future expansion.

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