Bosch ranks first in Europe with 838 patents in 2012

Bosch ranks first in Europe with 838 patents in 2012

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 22 Mar 2013 Views icon2799 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Bosch ranks first in Europe with 838 patents in 2012
Stuttgart, March 22, 2013: The European Patent Office in Brussels has announced that Bosch has been ranked first for patents in Europe in 2012, with 838 patents granted to the company over the course of the year. The global automotive supplier currently holds a portfolio of more than 90,000 active industrial property rights. In total, Bosch filed more than 4,700 patents in 2012. The European Patent Office regulates the granting of property rights in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg). Bosch spends more than 8 percent of its sales on research and development, with R&D expenditure reaching 4.5 billion euros (Rs 31,558 crore) in 2012. More than 42,000 associates work in R&D worldwide, 20,700 of them in Germany. Patents protect the company’s innovations from being imitated, while licensing allows third parties to benefit from Bosch’s technological edge.

From patent to product

The innovations include snap electrodes for clean exhaust. Not every good idea leads to a patent, and not all patents go on to become products. The process is generally a long one. “One example is the snap electrode, which is part of our particulate filter for the clean combustion of biomass in the wood-burning stoves of private households,” says Dietmar Steiner, one of the inventors at Bosch.

While heating with renewable materials such as briquettes or wood pellets is carbon-neutral, the exhaust gas contains unwanted particulate matter. However, it can be removed by means of a particle separator. Steiner, a physicist in the research department in Schwieberdingen close to Stuttgart, explains how this works: a strong electric field is created in the exhaust pipe, as a result of which free charge carriers attach themselves to the dust. An electrode then attracts the charged dust particles, which stick to it. At some point, the electrode is so covered in dust that it has to be cleaned. Steiner and his project team first began to devise solutions in 2006. The dusty electrode can be briefly shaken by a bimetal element that folds over (‘snaps’) as the stove heats up. As a result, the dust is shaken off the electrode into the stove’s ash pan.

“Our aim was to have a filter that required maintenance only twice a year, and we have achieved this,” Steiner says. The filter prevents more than 85 percent of particulate matter from being emitted. By using mass-produced parts that Bosch is able to manufacture in large numbers and to high quality standards, costs were significantly reduced. Lower limits on particulate matter will take effect in Germany from 2015. The new filter will make it possible to comply with them.

The first prototypes were built in 2006, and a patent was filed in 2008. In 2010, the snap electrode patent was published. It was then legally granted in 2011. A number of other companies in the heating industry have expressed interest in the technology, and licensing negotiations are currently underway.

Photograph: Dietmar Steiner from Robert Bosch GmbH shows the snap electrode he invented. If the fine wire is subjected to high voltage, it attracts more than 85 percent of the particulate matter in the exhaust air of a stove. The electrode is fixed to a metal element that suddenly changes shape when heated and cooled. The dust that has collected on it is thus shaken off. The large metal mount positions the electrode in the flue pipe.
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