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Fields of innovation

Disruptive materials and manufacturing for sustainability

New materials and methods that confront our greatest challenges

Our rate of resource consumption cannot be sustained. A circular economy will maximize the use and lifespan of our resources. Bosch is working on the technology that will holistically design materials and manufacturing processes to support sustainable manufacturing and bring innovations quickly to market.

Sustainable manufacturing

Tragedy of the commons

A fundamental dilemma confronts our complex and interconnected way of life – the earth does not have an endless or even abundant supply of the resources we would need to sustain our current consumption over many generations. The products and processes that have enabled a modern way of life, providing electronic devices for example, have consumed resources like rare earth metals or even petrochemicals. The resulting resource scarcity that has emerged urges us to rethink todays recycling concepts and material streams.

Building a circular economy

A circular economy, where resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops to form a regenerative system, is an important measure in a world with resource scarcity. Just-in-time logistics contributed to the success of globalized supply-chains, enabling unprecedented access to trade around the world. Now, a new and more sustainable just-in-place manufacturing age should overtake it. An effort is underway to standardize recycling and materials efficiency terms in Europe, so that mandatory guidelines can be developed for a circular economy.

Efficient computational design makes product life cycle design in a circular economy possible – but it is no simple task. The models we create must master the complexity of holistic mechanisms, ranging from the materials at hand, production methods and potential failures. All these mechanisms need to be modeled on deeper and more physical, chemically-based scales.

Pushing our limits

A lot of computational power is required to carry out these tasks. Since computational speed has physical limitations, a combination of measures is necessary to be successful. At Bosch, we develop faster algorithms, write code faster and more reliably, deploy additional computing power and even utilize quantum computers in targeted cases – maximizing these resources to develop holistic models.

Digital twins

Our goal is to digitally map the complete product life cycle, from development to production, operation and recycling. Reaching that goal will depend on mastering techniques in the fields of computational material science, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Advancements are happening rapidly. By the year 2025, we will focus on producing and manufacturing “digital” nanoscale materials.

Mapping complete product life cycles and simulating adjustments in manufacturing environments, especially on fine scales, will aid the transformation to a circular economy.

Summary

Disruptive material design and sustainable manufacturing will fundamentally change our future methods of designing components, manufacturing processes, and systems. Digital twins of our holistic product life cycle will enable the agile development of ‘first to market’ innovative products with an improved ecological footprint.

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