Bosch delves into VR and talks sale of packaging tech division

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bosch Packaging Technology CEO Stefan König spoke to DairyReporter at Pack Expo International in Chicago.
Bosch Packaging Technology CEO Stefan König spoke to DairyReporter at Pack Expo International in Chicago.

Related tags: Bosch, Bosch packaging technology, Virtual reality, Packaging

Bosch debuted its new VR planning tool technology at Pack Expo International this week, along with the new Midrange Endload Cartoner (MEC) and an update to its flow wrapper series. CEO Stefan König also spoke to DairyReporter about the ongoing sale of Bosch Packaging Technology (PA), announced this summer.

The USA division of Germany-based Bosch Group specializes in automotive technology, home appliances, security and packaging. In June 2018 it was announced​ that Bosch Packaging Technology (PA) would be sold from the larger Bosch Group, a move that highlighted the company’s desire to focus more on digitalization and Internet of Things products.

An exotic standalone

At the time, Bosch expressed a need to transform the business and focus its resources as it didn’t consider packaging technology to be a ‘core Bosch business.’ The sale is still ongoing and a new owner of PA hasn’t yet been announced. Bosch expects the transition to last through the next year.

König said the $1.3bn business expects to retain its more than 6,000 global employees, and told this website the packaging division, “was always quite exotic within Bosch because we do more project-driven business, not mass-production, serious business.”

“We are a big company in the industrial sector, but we are relatively small within Bosch. And by that we have always been a more standalone company within Bosch.”

bosch vr 2

Fiscally, PA has already seen better success since the switch to new management, realigning its units to better serve the growing market. It predicts it will see increasing demand, particularly in pharmaceuticals and food.

Ramping up VR and IT solutions

König shared that PA is also doubling down on its digitalization, working to make its machines more easily connectable to whatever cloud or IT systems the customer has. He explained that the machines store a lot of data that isn’t currently being used for anything.

But PA is working on bringing the data into an area where it can be analyzed, monitored and used for the planning of maintenance and productivity improvements. In that vein, its VR planning tool ‘virtual layout’ is a new method for customers to see their systems in the earliest planning phases.

According to Bosch, the software “converts a two-dimensional sketch into a three-dimensional image of the planned packaging system within a very short space of time. The system is displayed on the customer's hall plan on a 1:1 scale. In addition, the VR glasses and associated controllers facilitate a virtual walk-through.”

The ‘virtual layout’ tool lives within the umbrella of Industry 4.0, a PA project group that encompasses a variety of innovative technology solutions. It adds to Bosch’s existing VR applications for education modules like operator training.

PA also showcased upgrades to the Kliklok Midrange Endload Cartoner (MEC) at Pack Expo International. It packs up to 170 cartons per minute and is designed for the highest food safety standards for use in frozen foods, prepared foods, bakery, snack and confectionery.

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