Bosch Rexroth Execs See U.S., China Growth

Feb. 1, 2005
Sales of 3.7 billion Euros in 2003 grew to approximately 4.1 billion Euros in 2004 (about $4.7 billion to $5.3 billion), according to Chairman of the Executive Board Manfred Grundke, at the first Rexroth global technical summit held Jan.

24-26 in Lohr, Germany, home of Bosch Rexroth. “The United States, France and China are the largest markets external to Germany,” added Grundke, “with China showing double digit growth. But the United States remains a top growth prospect for Bosch Rexroth. A 1 percent growth in America right now is the equivalent of 10 percent in China.”

Bosch Rexroth was formed in 2001, through the merger of Bosch Automation and Mannesman Rexroth into Bosch Rexroth AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. According to Grundke, the company is moving from its previous status as a components supplier to a supplier of systems solutions, weaving together hydraulic and pneumatic products to complement the electric drives and controls business.

Reiner Leipold-Buettner, member of the executive board with responsibilities for Engineering and Manufacturing, addressed the importance of innovation and Rexroth’s systematic approach to it. “Our approach to innovation includes five ideas,” noted Leipold-Buettner, “that are somewhat modeled on Darwin’s theory of evolution, including the concept Survival of the Fittest. First, we survey a series of environmental spheres, derive trends and start looking for ideas. Changes in the environment result in ‘search fields’ where we emphasize finding business ideas through targeted idea searching. These business ideas trigger actual product ideas, which eventually become product innovations.”

Leipold-Buettner shared the megatrends that Rexroth is analyzing at this time. These include the reduced product lifecycles of customers, decentralization of intelligence from large controllers to devices, the separation of hardware and software, functional integration of components into modules and systems, and vertical integration from which the company is developing universal engineering tools, simulation software and open control systems.

Gary Mintchell