By doubling the size of its current U.S. technical center, Bosch lays the foundation for adding another 200 specialists to its Michigan workforce.
“The business is good here. We expect the automotive industry to stay strong through the end of 2020, so we’re investing here,” Mike Mansuetti, President of Robert Bosch LLC, told Automotive Engineering after an Aug. 25 ceremonial groundbreaking for an expansion of Bosch’s technical center in Plymouth Township, MI.
Over the next three years, Bosch will add 200 workers at the enlarged tech center and other Michigan facilities. While various technical specialists are being sought, “the need for computer science and computer engineering is growing as things become more automated and as more software goes into the vehicle,” Mansuetti said.
The developers of Bosch’s future-generation safety, driver assistance, and other vehicle systems will be a mix of veteran and rookie engineers, which is why the Tier 1 supplier supports activities that encourage young people to pursue studies in science, technology engineering, and math. “We’re working with SAE’s A World In Motion, First Robotics, and other organizations as well as developing partnerships with universities around the state so we can attract and retain those student (engineers),” said Mansuetti.
Bosch’s Plymouth Technical Center, which opened in 2007, presently employs 850 people.
Product development and applications work handled at the technical center will continue to involve several divisions, including Electrical Drives, Starter Motors and Generators, as well as Chassis Systems Control and Automotive Electronics.
The Chassis Systems and Automotive Electronics groups will account for the largest number of associates in the expanded tech center.
Said Mansuetti, “The Automotive Electronics division is aggressively growing its automotive business, especially in the area related to providing vehicle communication gateway modules featuring advanced cybersecurity technology as well as energy efficiency-enabling products, (such as) battery sensor and dc/dc converters.”
The Chassis Systems Control division is developing a variety of driver assistance technologies “that make driving safer, more comfortable and convenient today, and enable the future development of automated driving,” Mansuetti said. Chassis team members from other metro-Detroit locations will work under one roof at the larger footprint facility.
When complete, the 220,500-ft² (20,485-m²) expansion will nearly double the size of the existing tech center. Various energy-saving technologies will be part of the $40 million facility investment. A DC Microgrid, which enables more effective use of locally generated energy in buildings, also will allow emergency operation of the lighting and ventilation from solar energy in the event of a power outage. It is a feature not available with typical solar installations, according to Mansuetti.
Construction for the expanded technical center is targeted to wrap in November 2015.