Bosch has increased its presence in Portugal over the past ten years. The German equipment manufacturer currently has more than 6,000 employees at three industrial sites in Braga, Ovar and Aveiro, as well as technical and commercial support offices in Lisbon.
The cornerstone of the Portuguese sector development strategy is partnerships with local universities, which “provide added value to make a difference at a time when basic growth is no longer enough,” said Carlos Ribas, manager of Bosch. plant in the northwest of the country, which employs 3,600 people.
Interaction with Universities of Minho and Porto
This website, which specializes in components for the automotive industry, maintains constant interaction with the nearby University of Minho, as well as the University of Porto. And the plant in Aveiro, which specializes in heating and air conditioning equipment for the home, for its part works closely with the city’s university. As for the production site Ovar, which specializes in communication and surveillance systems, partnerships have been established with the University of Porto.
patents Number of patents filed by Bosch Portugal since 2013
“In less than a decade, we have invested more than 300 million euros in innovative projects in Portugal, including more than 250 million euros in the University of Minho alone. The amounts supported by the public authorities and the Portuguese state are up to 40%,” emphasizes Carlos Ribas.
The manager added that since 2013, Bosch Portugal has filed at least 90 patents, some of which have already found specific applications, for example in vehicle steering systems. “In the early days, our work with universities resulted in 5-6 patents per year, compared to more than 50 in 2021 alone,” he elaborates, also calling an “avatar” among the most successful in the world. world or a tool developed by the Bosch teams together with experts from Mignot University.
For about five years, the industrial group also allowed doctoral students to defend their dissertations in-house, as is the case in France, at the Bosch plant in Mondeville, together with the University of Caen-Normandie. “We started in Braga with half a dozen doctoral students whose dissertations are in technological areas related to our activities, and in four years there were more than forty,” explains Carlos Ribas, indicating that he is going to have some of these profiles be then hired. at Bosch Portugal or even at our own development centers in Germany.
In total, more than a thousand students, doctoral students and research teachers from partner universities have worked or continue to work for Bosch Portugal, which does not hesitate to use this academic experience, for example, to create new courses conducted within its Academy, a structure dedicated to continuing education their employees. “And our labs are open to this ecosystem when it can contribute to the development of the factory of the future,” says Carlos Ribas.
In addition, at the request of the authorities, Bosch has created a club of companies that brings together its suppliers so that they can benefit from this innovation dynamic. “Prior to this, 85% of the components of our products came from Asia, hence the desire of the Portuguese state to increase the share of local subcontractors, which we can do by involving them in our research work,” the leader explains, citing in particular Asian plastic or metal components, which will soon be replaced by polymer products developed at Minho University with the companies mentioned.
“This set of collaborations allows us to create new technologies and solutions that can be applied in our factories and to be at the forefront of influencing market trends,” he says. A model that serves as an example for the Bosch group and even for other groups.