Robert Bosch GmbH
Robert Bosch GmbH (//; German: [bɔʃ] (
The Bosch world headquarters in Gerlingen, Germany
|GmbH (Private company)|
|Founded||15 November 1886|
|Headquarters||Robert-Bosch-Platz 1, 70839 Gerlingen, Germany|
|Volkmar Denner (CEO), Michael Bolle (CTO, CDO)|
|Products||Automotive parts, power tools, security systems, home appliances, engineering, electronics, cloud computing, IoT|
|Owner|| Robert Bosch Stiftung (92%)|
Bosch Family (7%)
Robert Bosch GmbH (1%)
Number of employees
|400,100 (March 2019)|
|Subsidiaries||BSH Hausgeräte, ETAS, Bosch Rexroth|
Bosch's core operating areas are spread across four business sectors: mobility (hardware and software), consumer goods (including household appliances and power tools), industrial technology (including drive and control) and energy and building technology.
The history of the company started in a backyard in Stuttgart-West as the Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Elektrotechnik (Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering) on 15 November 1886. One year later, Bosch presented the first low voltage magneto for gas engines.
From 1897, Bosch started installing better-designed magneto ignition devices into automobiles and became the only supplier of a truly reliable ignition within the industry. In 1902, the chief engineer at Bosch, Gottlob Honold, unveiled the high-voltage magneto ignition system with spark plug. This product paved the way for Bosch to become a leading automotive supplier.
The first factory was opened by Bosch in Stuttgart in 1901. In 1906, the company produced its 100,000th magneto. In the same year, Bosch introduced the 8-hours day for workers. In 1910, the Feuerbach plant was founded and built close to Stuttgart. In this factory, Bosch started to produce headlights in 1913.
In 1917, Bosch was transformed into a corporation.
In 1926, Bosch started to produce windshield wipers, and in 1927, injection pumps for diesel. Bosch bought the gas appliances production from Junkers & Co. in 1932. In the same year, the company developed its first power drill and presented its first car radio.
As early as the end of 1933, negotiations between Robert Bosch AG and the National Socialists began on relocating parts of armaments production to the interior of Germany. Bosch founded two such alternative plants in 1935 and 1937: Dreilinden Maschinenbau GmbH in Kleinmachnow near Berlin and Elektro- und Feinmechanische Industrie GmbH (later Trillke-Werke GmbH) in Hildesheim. Both plants were used exclusively for armaments production. These "shadow factories" were built under great secrecy and in close cooperation with the Nazi authorities. In 1937, Bosch AG became a limited liability company (GmbH).
The Bosch subsidiary Dreilinden Maschinenbau GmbH (DLMG) in Kleinmachnow employed around 5,000 people, more than half of whom were forced laborers, prisoners of war, and female concentration camp prisoners, including many women from the Warsaw Uprising. They had to produce accessories for German Luftwaffe aircraft. In Hildesheim, a secret plant for the entire electrical equipment of tanks, tractors, and trucks of the Wehrmacht was built. In 1944, 4,290 men and women worked in the Trillke factory, 2,019 of whom were forced laborers, prisoners of war and military internees. During the Second World War, a total of 2,711 people who had been deported to Germany from the occupied countries had to work at the Bosch plant in Hildesheim.
In the last years of the war, no new German tank ever drove without the starter elements from the Bosch factory in Hildesheim. Bosch also had a monopoly position in the outfitting of German Luftwaffe aircraft.
During the war, production was further decentralized, Bosch produced in an ever larger number of factories, and relocated parts of its production to 213 plants in more than 100 locations.
On 12 March 1942, the company's founder, Robert Bosch, died at the age of 80.
Angela Martin and Ewa Czerwiakowski interviewed numerous former forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners of Dreilinden Maschinenbau GmbH and Trillke-Werke as part of a Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt project, researched the history of the two shadow factories, and published several books and exhibitions on the subject. In 2016, they published the website z.B. Bosch. Zwangsarbeit im Hildesheimer Wald.
After the second world war, Bosch established a partnership with the Japanese company Denso.
In 1981, the company participated on an equity basis in the Telefonbau & Normalzeit GmbH that was renamed Telenorma in 1985, and acquired completely in 1987. In 1994, this part of the company was renamed as Bosch Telecom GmbH.
The most relevant inventions of the company until 2000 were the oxygen sensor (1976), the electric motor control (1979), the traction control system (1986), the xenon light for cars (1991), the electronic stability control (1995), the common rail direct fuel injection (1997), and the direct fuel injection (2000).
In 2001, Bosch acquired the Mannesmann Rexroth AG, which they later renamed to Bosch Rexroth AG. In the same year, the company opened a new testing center in Vaitoudden, close to Arjeplog in north Sweden. A new developing center in Abstatt, Germany followed in 2004.
In 2002, Bosch acquired Philips CSI, which at the time was manufacturing a broad range of professional communication and security products and systems including CCTV, congress and public address systems.
Important inventions in these years were the electric hydraulic brake in 2001, the common rail fuel injection with piezo-injectors, the digital car radio with a disc drive, and the cordless screwdriver with a lithium-ion battery in 2003.
Bosch received the Deutsche Zukunftspreis (German Future Prize) from the German president in 2005 and 2008. A new development center was planned in 2008 in Renningen. In 2014, the first departments moved to the new center, while the remaining departments followed in 2015.
In 2009, Bosch invested about 3.6 billion Euro in development and research. Approximately 3900 patents are published per year. In addition to increasing energy efficiency by employing renewable energies, the company plans to invest into new areas such as biomedical engineering.
China has developed into an important market and manufacturing base for Bosch. In 2012, Bosch had 34,000 employees and a revenue of 41.7 billion Yuan (about 5 billion Euro) in China.
- 2012 – Purchased SPX Service Solutions
- 2012 – Bosch sold its foundation brakes activities to KPS Capital Partners, that led to the establishment of Chassis Brakes International
- 2013 – Bosch announced it would exit its solar business
- 2014 – Bosch entered talks to acquire Red Bend Software.
- 2014 – Bosch takes over 100% of the shares from the former BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture (home appliances)
- 2014 – Bosch received the 2014 U.S. Smart Partner award for Physical Security from Ingram Micro Inc.
- 2015 – Bosch takes over 100% of the shares of the former ZF Lenksysteme (Steering Systems) GmbH joint venture (was 50/50 with ZF Friedrichshafen)
- 2015 – Bosch purchases Seeo, Inc, a start-up working on solid state lithium ion batteries.
The majority of Bosch Group businesses are grouped into the following four business sectors.
The Mobility Solutions business sector accounts for 61 percent of total sales. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, powertrain electrification, steering systems, safety and driver-assistance systems, infotainment technology as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket.
Particular strategic priorities for the sector include transforming the powertrain and expanding the business in the areas of electrification, automated driving, new electrical and electronic architectures for vehicles, accessing adjacent market segments, and developing additional services.
The new Powertrain Solutions division was formed effective January 1, 2018, in order to develop powertrain technology products, regardless of the energy source. The new division resulted from the merger of the former Gasoline Systems and Diesel Systems divisions. It offers products for powertrain technology, from gasoline and diesel direct injection to electrified powertrains with battery systems and, in the future, it will offer fuel-cell technologies as well.
Brands within this sector include:
In the 2018 business year, the Industrial Technology business sector generated roughly 9 percent of total Bosch Group sales. The sector includes the Drive and Control Technology division, whose portfolio includes customized drive, control, and linear motion for factory automation, plant construction and engineering, and mobile machinery.
The second division, Packaging Technology, provides process and packaging for the pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs industries. Its range includes stand-alone machines, systems, and an extensive service portfolio. In 2018, Bosch decided to look for a new owner for this business. Bosch's in-house provider of assembly systems, Robert Bosch Manufacturing Solutions GmbH, Stuttgart, remains part of the Bosch Group; up to now, it has been part of the Packaging Technology division.
In addition, the Bosch Connected Industry business unit, which develops software and carries out Industry 4.0 projects for internal and external customers, has been part of the Industrial Technology business sector since the start of 2018.
The Consumer Goods business sector contributed some 23 percent of total Bosch Group sales in 2018. Its Power Tools division is a supplier of power tools, power-tool accessories, and measuring technology. In addition to power tools such as hammer drills, cordless screwdrivers, and jigsaws, its extensive product portfolio also includes gardening equipment such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and high-pressure cleaners. One of the division's focal points is convenient, high-performance cordless tools, and increasingly also web-enabled tools and services.
The Consumer Goods business sector also includes BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, which offers a broad range of modern, energy-efficient, and increasingly connected household appliances. Its product portfolio ranges from washing machines and tumble dryers through refrigerators and freezers, stoves and ovens, and dishwashers, to small appliances such as vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, and food processors.
Brands within this sector include:
Energy and Building Technology
In 2018, the Energy and Building Technology business sector generated 7 percent of total Bosch Group sales. Its Building Technologies division (formerly Security Systems) has two areas of business: the global product business for security and communications, and the regional integrator business. The latter offers services for building security, energy efficiency, and building automation in selected countries. Both units focus on commercial applications. The product portfolio encompasses video-surveillance, intrusion-detection, fire-detection, and voice-alarm systems, as well as access-control and professional audio and conference systems.
The Thermotechnology division offers systems for air conditioning, hot water, and decentralized energy management. It provides heating systems and energy management for residential buildings, water heaters, and commercial and industrial heating and air-conditioning systems.
The Bosch Global Service Solutions division offers outsourcing for business processes and services, primarily for customers in the automotive, travel, and logistics industries and in information and communications technology. Within Bosch, it also provides shared-service functions.
Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH offers web-enabled, app-controlled products for the home.
Brands within this sector:
Other Business Areas
Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. The subsidiary was established in 2015 with the aim of developing products and services that improve people's health and quality of life. The business offers customers connected products and services in the area of healthcare and medical technology.
Bosch Software Innovations has been active on the internet of things for nearly ten years. Its team takes IoT ideas from the level of strategy to practical implementation, and helps companies manage the process of digital transformation.
The Grow Platform GmbH is the legal entity of Grow and a 100% subsidiary of the Bosch corporation. Grow is an internal start-up incubator.
Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) is the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group. RBVC invests worldwide in innovative start-up companies. Its investment activities focus on technology companies working in areas of business of current and future relevance for Bosch, above all, automation and electrification, energy efficiency, enabling technologies, and healthcare systems. RBVC also invests in services and business models as well as new materials that are relevant to the above-mentioned areas of business.
Through a complex network of over 440 subsidiaries and regional entities, the company operates in over 60 countries worldwide. Including sales and service partners, Bosch's global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs roughly 64,500 associates in research and development.
In the UK, Bosch has its corporate head office in Denham, Buckinghamshire, and employs circa. 5200 associates. There are also around 40 other Bosch Group locations throughout the country, including Coventry, Glenrothes, St Neots, Stockport, Stowmarket, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Worcester and York.
Alongside sales and support functions for all Bosch business sectors in the region, the company also manufactures boiler systems, mobile hydraulics, packaging machinery alongside lawn and garden products in the UK.
In March 2019, Bosch opened its London Connectory, a Shoreditch-based "co-innovation space" open to partners from the public, private and academic sectors, from start-ups to multinational organisations.
North American Operations
In North America, Robert Bosch LLC (a wholly owned Bosch subsidiary) has corporate headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Three Research Technology Centers are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sunnyvale, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Factories and distribution facilities are located in Mt. Prospect, Illinois; Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Broadview, Illinois; Kentwood, Michigan; Warren, Michigan; Owatonna, Minnesota;Waltham, Massachusetts; Clarksville, Tennessee; Anderson, South Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; South Bend, Indiana (to close 2011); and 11 other cities. There are also two corporate sites in Brazil and ten in Mexico where a central purchasing office for all divisions of Bosch Group is located in Broadview, Illinois. In North America, Bosch employs about 24,750 people in 80 locations, generating $8.8 billion in sales in 2006.
In May 2015, Bosch Security Systems opened its newly constructed distribution center in Greer, South Carolina. The distribution center adds more than 50 new associates in the state and will receive, store and ship more than 50,000 different products for video surveillance, intrusion and fire detection, access control and management systems and professional audio and conference systems.
Bosch entered India in 1922, when Illies & Company set up a sales office in Calcutta. For three decades, the company operated in the Indian market only through imports. In 1951, Bosch set up its first manufacturing plant in India.
Currently, Bosch India has a turnover of over $3 billion and over 31,000 employees spread across 10 locations and 7 application development centers. 84% of Bosch India revenues come from its automotive business, with the remaining 16% split between its non-automotive businesses that include packaging, energy and building solutions, power tools and consumer retail. Bosch also has an R&D facility in Coimbatore and Bangalore, India. This is Bosch's largest R&D facility outside its home market of Germany. In September 2014, Bosch announced the launch of a locally developed eye-care solution in India. The company's new eye screening and detection system offers a combination of hardware and software and provides affordable eye care.
BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte
BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH, in which Bosch acquired all shares in 2014, is one of the world's top three companies in the household appliances industry. In Germany and Western Europe, BSH is the market leader. Its portfolio includes the principal brand names Bosch and Siemens, Gaggenau, Neff, Thermador, Constructa, Viva and Ufesa brands, and further six regional brands. Bosch household appliances for the North American market are mainly manufactured at its factory near New Bern, North Carolina.
Daimler AG and Bosch established a 50:50 joint venture (JV) to develop and manufacture electric motors in 2011. The JV, called EM-motive GmbH, manufactures traction motors for electric, fuel cell and extended-range vehicles at a facility in Hildesheim, Germany.
In June 2008 Bosch formed SB LiMotive, a 50:50 joint company with Samsung SDI. The company held ground breaking ceremony for a 28.000 m2 lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in September 2009 and it is scheduled to start production for hybrid vehicles in 2011 and for electric vehicles in 2012. The plant will generate 1,000 jobs in Ulsan, Korea in addition to the 500 employees in Korea, Germany and the United States. SB LiMotive was officially ended in September 2012 with both companies focusing on automotive batteries alone.
Robert Bosch GmbH, including its wholly owned subsidiaries such as Robert Bosch LLC in North America, is unusual in that it is an extremely large, privately owned corporation that is almost entirely (92%) owned by a charitable foundation. Thus, while most of the profits are invested back into the corporation to build for the future and sustain growth, nearly all of the profits distributed to shareholders are devoted to humanitarian causes.
As shown in the diagram (above), the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Robert Bosch Foundation) holds 92% of the shares (Beteiligung) of Robert Bosch GmbH, but no voting rights (Stimmrecht). The Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG (Robert Bosch Industrial Trust KG), with old members of the company management, agents of the Bosch family, and other eminent people from the industry (such as Jürgen Hambrecht, CEO of BASF), have 93% of the votes (Stimmen), but no shares (0.01%). The remaining 8% of shares and 7% of voting-rights are held by the descendants of the company founder Robert Bosch (Familie Bosch).
For example, in 2004, the net profit was US$2.1 billion, but only US$78 million was distributed as dividends to shareholders. Of that figure, US$72 million was distributed to the charitable foundation, and the other US$6 million to Bosch family stockholders. The remaining 96% of the profits were invested back into the company. In its core automotive technology business, Bosch invests 9% of its revenue on research and development, nearly double the industry average of 4.7%.
Environmental Practices and Initiatives
In May 2019, Bosch said it plans to be “fully carbon-neutral” by 2020 — a decade or more earlier than most of its rivals — thanks to big investments in clean electricity and an ambitious carbon offset programme.
Role in emission cheating software
In 2006, Volkswagen executives asked Bosch for help in developing software for their emission defeat devices. Volkswagen is one of Bosch's biggest customers. Volkswagen engineers provided detailed specifications to Bosch, which wrote the necessary code. Bosch was apparently concerned about the legality of software and asked Volkswagen to assume responsibility if the fraud was discovered, but Volkswagen refused.
Bosch also provided emissions software for Fiat Chrysler's 3.0 L V6 diesel engine used in 100,000 model year 2014–2016 Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram trucks and agreed to pay affected consumers $27.5 million as part of a broader settlement in January 2019.
Partnership with universities
Bosch has formed a strategic alliance with the Technische Universität Darmstadt.
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