When users ask questions, we answer them
ctrlX AUTOMATION was successfully launched in fall 2019. Bosch Rexroth believes that the overall user experience and close contact with existing and potential customers are both extremely important for ensuring that products and solutions are properly further developed and that users are fully satisfied. During a digital information event, all participants were given the opportunity to ask any questions they had about our automation solution. We have put together the main questions and answers:
What app technology does ctrlX AUTOMATION use?
ctrlX AUTOMATION uses snap technology from Ubuntu. Snap is a container-format system, which packages applications and runs them in an isolated sandbox environment. This ensures that these apps can be operated safely as they have no access to the operating system or any safety-related areas. It also ensures increased flexibility as the apps can be easily installed, updated and uninstalled without libraries or other app components, for example, ending up somewhere in the system where they could cause problems. This means that we benefit from clear separation between operating system and applications.
What functions does ctrlX CORE replace?
Firewall and VPN app as classic router functions, motion/robotics control system and PLC, IPC for HMI and a gateway for data transmission sometimes mean four units. They can now run simultaneously on ctrlX CORE, i.e. one unit.
Does ctrlX AUTOMATION offer the option to connect to popular clouds and what is the situation in terms of data and know-how protection in this regard?
Bosch Rexroth provides connectors to numerous cloud platforms and shopfloor IT systems, such as Microsoft Azure and the Bosch Nexeed Industrial Application System. The ctrlX Device Portal, which is used to manage ctrlX CORE, can be set up both on premises and in the cloud. Every user has their own area (tenant) to which no Bosch Rexroth employees have access.
Can other manufacturers outside of the ctrlX AUTOMATION environment be supported?
The platform boasts extensive connectivity in terms of fieldbuses and IT systems and supports various types of technology such as OPC UA (server and client), EtherCAT and PLCopen, and is TSN-ready.
How is MES communication achieved?
Broad connectivity to manufacturing execution systems is ensured via ctrlX IOT and OPC UA.
Is ctrlX AUTOMATION 5G-ready?
ctrlX AUTOMATION is ready for wireless communication, such as WiFi, 4G and 5G.
Can the ctrlX Data Layer also be used via several ctrlX CORE control systems with IPCs, can additional sensors be integrated, and how does the permissions concept work in terms of the ctrlX Data Layer
In principle, it is possible to access ctrlX Data Layer which is hosted on another control system. Additional sensors can be implemented either via PLC or in the form of a separate app. This is how we enable sampling rates in real-time cycles. There is an integrated fine-grained permissions concept for controlling access to the ctrlX Data Layer.
Can ctrlX CORE be directly connected to the Internet, are stepping motors supported, and how do I get hold of ctrlX COREvirtual?
A connection to the Internet is actually advisable as this way the control system can directly benefit from regular updates via the ctrlX Device Portal. Support for stepping motors is already in the pipeline. ctrlX COREvirtual can be downloaded via ctrlX AUTOMATION Community.
Can cabinet-free drive technology (IndraDrive Mi) be connected to the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform?
The cabinet-free drives can, for example, be easily combined with ctrlX CORE.
How is the parameter handling of ctrlX DRIVES managed? Is it managed similarly to IndraDrives with S and/or P parameters?
Similarly to our control unit in IndraDrive, there is still an S and P parameter system.
What is the situation in terms of data management if station and/or type data need to be stored on the machine?
All controller data are located in the ctrlX Data Layer.
Can users expand their control system with engineering apps, such as ctrlX PLC?
Separate PLC apps can be created or the ctrlX PLC app can be used. Apps can interact via the ctrlX Data Layer and hence expand ctrlX CORE.
Is ctrlX AUTOMATION an interpreter system?
Can C# code be integrated?
C# code can be executed on ctrlX AUTOMATION. C# requires a runtime for this, which can be implemented on Linux.
How do I get hold of HMI templates and how do I configure an HMI?
ctrlX HMI provides access to corresponding templates for the development environment of ctrlX AUTOMATION. Bosch Rexroth will therefore provide a web editor in the form of an app.
However, external editors can also be used to configure the HMI. This can be done with an HTML5-based web editor or even with a development environment of your choice.
Are there any digital solutions for customers relating to ctrlX AUTOMATION?
Yes, for electrical engineering, for example, we offer our customers EPLAN macros compatible with our components. The latest data are always available via the EPLAN generator.
What’s more, the ctrlX Configurator enables CAD models of our components to be sent by e-mail in just a few minutes.
Various services and advice are also available regarding simulation, for example modeling and even training. We provide dynamic overall system simulations to support our customers in validating and optimizing the automation solution and safeguarding its performance.
Can ctrlX CORE be connected to popular simulation systems?
Thanks to the fact that our system and the communication options are open, ctrlX CORE can be connected as hardware-in-the-loop, and ctrlX COREvirtual can be connected as software-in-the-loop.
What potential savings can be made with the automation platform?
These days, the costs involved in planning, project planning, commissioning and, above all, software development are often higher than the actual costs involved in purchasing automation components.
There are numerous points along the entire value chain offering the potential to make savings. In the case of our first key customers, we were able to reduce machine equipment by approximately 10% on average. However, the savings made by our customers with regard to control cabinets, for example, were much more impressive as the size of the control cabinet and hence the costs involved could be significantly minimized. The construction and connection of the units can therefore be carried out much more quickly and efficiently. Even the engineering work and the entire development time involved for a new machine can be significantly reduced, which in turn ensures a quicker ROI.
Where can I find out more information on this and discuss it?
We will provide various different platforms for discussions and the transfer of know-how. This includes ctrlX AUTOMATION Community, which is a forum for users and potential customers. This will be launched in the second half of 2020.
What’s more, we will also publish and support application examples and tutorials on GitHub. Other service highlights will also be launched in fall 2020.
Hans Michael Krause