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ctrlX AUTOMATION extended by open I/O portfolio

08 October 2020

BOSCH REXROTH has announced the next level of its open industrial automation platform ctrlX AUTOMATION; ctrlX I/O adds other interfaces on the field and control levels to the platform, a system shaped by app technology.

The I/O range facilitates horizontal and vertical integration on the one hand and serves as a functional expansion of the control platform ctrlX CORE on the other. In the future, comprehensive communication and performance enhancements as well as I/O modules geared to technologies of the future like 5G, TSN and AI will be offered. The new comprehensive automation solution will create a broad range of connectivity and networking options in the increasingly digitalised industrial world.
ctrlX AUTOMATION surmounts the classic boundaries between machine controls, the IT world and the Internet of Things. ctrlX AUTOMATION reduces component and engineering effort by 30% to 50% with the help of the real-time operating system Linux, fully open standards, app programming technologies, web-based engineering and a comprehensive IoT connection.

Greater flexibility

Steffen Winkler, vice president sales of the Business Unit Automation & Electrification Solutions of Bosch Rexroth, said: “With ctrlX AUTOMATION, we are uncompromisingly focusing on standardised, industry- and manufacturer-independent interfaces and communication standards. Our new ctrlX I/O range will provide users with greater flexibility and future viability. The more connected an automation solution is, the more flexible the solutions equipped with it will be on the job. Connectivity is the basis for the digital factory. The potential of Industry 4.0 can be fully exploited only with the help of communication from machine to machine, machine to system and machine to operator.”

On the field level, ctrlX I/O smoothly facilitates flexible machine topologies and the seamless integration on the sensor/actor level. As a result, higher- level control systems as well as MES and cloud solutions can be easily connected on the control level. ctrlX I/O also represents a functional expansion of the control system ctrlX CORE, providing it with such technology and hardware options as additional memory, USB and ethernet interfaces and much more.

Interface range

ctrlX I/O is based on EtherCAT, a foundation for real-time-capable data processing. PROFINET and IO-Link are supported as well.

These features provide users with a nearly unlimited range of high- performance and freely combinable interfaces. More than 30 communication standards such as OPC UA and MQTT facilitate the seamless connection to IT and IoT systems. Analog and digital inputs/outputs allow standard sensors and actuators to be connected. By the use of encoder interfaces and drive modules, small and stepping motors can be controlled directly from the I/O level.

Machine manufacturers can combine modules and extensions freely. Apps tailored to ctrlX I/O from the ctrlX WORKS software and engineering toolbox cover numerous technological functions.

Smart factory benefits

ctrlX I/O supports the principle of ctrlX AUTOMATION: “more productivity, fewer components, less engineering.” This provides developers with the freedom they need to implement modular machine concepts and offers tremendous cost-saving potential.

With the same compact form factor as ctrlX CORE, ctrlX I/O saves space in the control cabinet and offers up to 16 I/O points over a width of just 12 mm. The well-considered, ergonomic mechanical design and the push-in technology allow easy installation without the use of tools and the quick exchange of modules thanks to removable peripheral plugs. The clever diagnostic concept on the module and channel level reduces downtimes. The robust design in the IP20 protection type ensures maintenance and fault-free operation in the control cabinet. Performance functions can be flexibly added to the system.

Winkler sums up the new development this way: “ctrlX I/O helps our customer develop viable machine concepts for the future. In combination with ctrlX AUTOMATION, we are promoting intelligent networking within automation and setting new standards. This underpins our clear growth strategy, including in new markets.”