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Innovation in windshield wiper technology - Bosch wiper direct drive system - Series debut in the new Ford Focus


* Especially compact and lightweight – no mechanical linkage necessary
* Offers additional space under the hood
* Software can tailor highly standardized units to different vehicles
* First application in the new Ford Focus

A new direct drive system for windshield wipers is currently entering series production at Bosch. The two drives of the dual motor wiper system do not need additional mechanical linkage and are therefore smaller – the volume of each unit is now only some half a liter. The new Bosch direct drive system needs up to 75 percent less space and is over a kilogram lighter than standard drive and linkage systems. Each wiper has its own compact drive and is mounted directly on the drive shaft, which makes the new system easier to integrate into vehicles. It is being produced in series for the new Ford Focus, which will be launched on the German market on April 9.

Depending on the arrangement of the wiper arms, conventional wiper drives can be nearly as wide as the car body. They thus take up considerable space under the hood. Because the new drives require no linkage, installation space is freed up. Thus there is more room for other components, such as the air conditioning unit, head-up displays and other new comfort features, as well as for larger brake power boosters and pedestrian airbags to make vehicles safer. An electronic control unit takes the place of the mechanical linkage. The control unit synchronizes the two drive units, with sensors in the wiper drive monitoring the position of the two wiper arms.

The new system can be used for parallel and opposed-pattern wiper layout. Electronic position sensing and control enables the wipers to always sweep very close to the A-pillar. What’s more, once the system has been mounted onto a vehicle, the distances between the wiper and the A-pillar on that specific vehicle can be easily programmed on the production line, eliminating assembly and bodywork tolerances. This allows the wipers to sweep a maximum possible area without running the risk of hitting the pillars. The system can be installed under the hood, reducing the potential risk of injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident. An energy and thermal management device protects the drives from overload without restricting wiper function. A software-based blockage recognition system detects obstructions on the windshield such as accumulations of snow and reduces the area swept, but only to the extent necessary. Current wiper systems react by stopping completely, leaving the driver unable to see the road ahead.

Standardization simplifies the logistics involved
Each drive unit consists of a mechatronic drive that can run backward and forward. Since the wiper drives no longer require vehicle-specific linkage, they can be of identical design for both sides. Specifications such as the sweep angle and rest position are individually programmed on the production line after the wiper system has been installed. The systems can also be designed completely identically for right- and left-hand drive: the alignment is simply specified in the software. In the same way, identical drive units can be tailored to the windshield shape, which varies depending on whether the vehicle is a sedan, coupe, convertible, etc. This considerably simplifies logistics and storage.

In addition to the wiper drive, Bosch also supplies the new Ford Focus with components for the fuel injection systems, the engine blower and generator, as well as a multi-functional display including innovative navigation technology, spark plugs, the airbag control unit and the rain sensor.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. According to preliminary figures, some 283,500 associates generated sales of 47.3 billion euros in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology in fiscal 2010. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some four billion euros for research and development in 2010, and applied for over 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

Bosch is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011. The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as a “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

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