30 Years of Detecting, Leveling and Measuring Tools from Bosch

From a niche product to a tool for everyone

Bosch launched the first measuring tools on the market 30 years ago: The DMO 10 digital metal detector and the DUS 20 digital ultrasonic range finder, both in black. Something which by today’s standards was basically as modern as a computer with a tube monitor represented a pioneering feat in 1992: The ‘Bosch high-tech bloodhound’, the affectionate name given to the DMO 10, reliably detected hidden metal objects underneath drilling locations. The DMO 10 was unique since it offered depth measurement of up to 50 mm for the first time instead of displaying objects without any depth information, something that had been normal up until then. The DMO 10 was intended to enable users of Bosch hammer drills in the successfully established 2-kilogram class to drill holes in walls without damaging the then expensive hammer drills on reinforcement bars or hitting electric wires. The DUS 20 ultrasonic range finder had a very long range of 20 meters at that time. Its aim was to make it easier to quickly determine room dimensions and use them to calculate the required amount of material – entirely without a folding rule or a measuring tape.

Bosch Measuring Tools
30 years of measuring tools innovations for professionals and DIYers

Development of Measuring Tools from 1992 up to Today: A Quantum Leap

With these tools, Bosch laid the foundations for the development of many measuring tools for measuring, detecting, and leveling, and continuously improved their technological base. Whereas the measuring accuracy of the DUS 20 ultrasonic range finder was, for example, just 5 cm at 10 m, it is now ± 1.5 mm with modern tools such as the GLM 50-27 CG Professional laser measure. Radar detectors such as the D-tect 200 C Professional now offer a detection depth of up to 200 mm instead of 50 mm with the DMO 10 in 1992.

Martin Merchant, a marketing communication expert at that time and now Head of Measuring Tools at Bosch Power Tools, remembers:

“The overwhelming majority of consumers were still not familiar with digital measuring tools in 1992.”

The origins of digital measuring tools lie in surveying with so-called total stations which back then cost DM 30,000, i.e. over €15,000. In the trade sector there were practically only folding rules, measuring tapes, spirit levels and simple, very unreliable detection tools. This meant that there was a great deal of frustration when using these tools.

Merchant, says:

“Bosch recognized great potential here. Our mission was to develop technology ‘Invented for life’, which made measuring, detecting, and leveling easier for our users ‒ whether at home, in the garden, in workshops or on construction sites.”

From a Niche to a Mass Product: Measuring Tools for Professionals and DIYers

Six years after the introduction of the first measuring tools, Bosch launched the DLE 30, the first laser-based range finder, on the market in 1998. The DLE 30 was much more precise than an ultrasonic range finder and made hitherto prohibitively expensive laser technology affordable overnight: With a price of DM 798 ‒ around €410 ‒ the DLE 30 was therefore below the depreciation limit and was much cheaper than comparable tools from providers in the surveying industry. The DLE 30 also set new standards through its simple operation with self-explanatory keypads. However, it was very large. Driven by the objective of developing increasingly more efficient, smaller, and even cheaper tools, improved successor models were gradually launched.A great evolutionary leap was then made in 2006: By using its own semiconductor device (ASIC) developed in-house, Bosch succeeded in launching the world’s smallest laser measure on the market: the DLE 50 with dimensions of 10 x 5.8 x 3.2 cm and a weight of just 160 grams. The company therefore also laid the foundations for offering variants tailored to the needs of users and decided to separate the measuring tools product range in future into blue Professional tools and green tools for DIYers. This development and differentiation paid off since business with measuring tools gained even more momentum: In 2009, ‘Measuring Tools’ was finally created as an independent and successful business unit in Bosch Power Tools.

Bosch Is a Trendsetter and Drives the Development of the Industry

The second outstanding development achievement was Bosch radar technology for detection that was used in the D-tect 100 wall scanner for the first time in 2001. Both technologies turned Bosch in less than a decade from a traditional manufacturer of power tools into a supplier of high-tech tools suitable for everyday use ‒ to the benefit of users. Products such as the Zamo laser measure, the Atino line laser and the Quigo Green cross line laser are now synonymous with innovations which have created markets in the DIY segment. Bosch is increasingly setting new trends and driving the development of the industry: For example, Zamo and Quigo Green form part of an entire series of easy-to-use tools with just one button. The Quigo Green is also the first measuring tool whose housing and accessories are made of 90 percent recycled plastic. The main objective during product development was to reduce the CO2 footprint from the product and the accessories through to packaging. In the Professional segment Bosch enjoys success with laser measures, detectors and plane lasers such as the connectable GLL 3-80 CG Professional. Connectivity functions and apps now make documentation and further processing of measuring results much simpler. With cloud-based solutions such as ‘MeasureOn’, Bosch drives digitalization on construction sites thereby boosting the efficiency of architects and tradespeople even further.

This article was originally published by Bosch Engineering GmbH.

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