Bringing together control, IT, and the IoT to create an open, scalable system

The idea of “softPLCs”, software-defined control, decoupling software and hardware for control, and the like revisited my thinking thanks to commenting on a paper on that subject by IoT-Analytics. In the discrete, machine automation world, this is an old topic dating back more than 22 years.

It still hasn’t happened. Yes, the marketing arms of some companies trumpet the idea. The Open Process Automation Forum is pushing the idea in the continuous and batch process world. I have yet to see any disruption occurring because of it. Some of the companies that analysts think are disruptive have been around for upwards of 30 years and the three main incumbents are still leading—Siemens in German/Italy, Rockwell Automation in North America, Mitsubishi in Asia.

That doesn’t mean the idea has been shelved completely. There must be some sort of cycle where Bosch Rexroth recurs on my radar with a new platform. I don’t understand all the parts of this new “ctrlX Automation”, but it looks interesting. 


These are quotes from Bosch Rexroth.

ctrlX AUTOMATION is based on a completely new software and engineering approach and means a complete departure from proprietary structures and systems. The automation platform includes all necessary software and hardware components for complete system solutions: high-performance controllers, compact drives, industrial PCs, safety solutions, I/O modules and HMIs.

ctrlX AUTOMATION enhanced with an open I/O range

The ctrlX I/O range from Bosch Rexroth offers new possibilities for users in terms of connectivity and networking. The solution represents a functional extension of the ctrlX CORE control platform and also enables horizontal and vertical integration. In the future, ctrlX I/O will offer comprehensive communication and performance enhancements as well as I/O modules geared towards future technologies such as 5G, TSN and AI.

Embedded controller ctrlX CORE now available

In addition, the embedded controller ctrlX CORE is ready to ship with the start of the fair. The modular, compact control is suitable for any automation application and, with its openness, offers users completely new degrees of freedom in setting up the functions. ctrlX CORE’s full scope of functions has already been tested by selected customers.

ctrlX SAFETY: redefining safe automation

With the safety solution ctrlX SAFETY, Bosch Rexroth is setting new standards for safe automation. The product is regarded as the fastest and most compact safety solution on the automation market. Its reaction time allows a more compact design and maximum safety during production.

ctrlX SERVICES for the automation of the future

The automation platform ctrlX AUTOMATION has recently been expanded to include ctrlX SERVICES. The ctrlX App Store now enables downloading of individually required software, while the ctrlX Device Portal facilitates easy and centralized administration of controls. The ctrlX AUTOMATION Community offers numerous functions such as support, know-how transfer and further training. Bosch Rexroth also guarantees 25 years of service availability for classic services.

ctrlX World for third party providers

Users can use apps from Bosch Rexroth, applications from third parties or apps they have produced themselves. ctrlX AUTOMATION users can access a broad portfolio of applications and download them easily via the App Store. In addition, more and more third-party providers are currently joining the ctrlX World, as they can provide their own apps on the platform and thus tap into new business potential.

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