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Application-ready: ctrlX AUTOMATION in use

Dart with pilot flies towards the target

The Z-axis of the handling system dips into the machine. The commissioner checks the exact position and, after three test runs, switches on active vibration avoidance in the drive. The result is incredible: the axis was already quite quick but now it can be positioned much more quickly thanks to the reduced vibration. At the click of a mouse, the handling system equipped with ctrlX AUTOMATION eliminates unproductive idle times in the serial machine.

In addition to this prototype application, a number of key customers carried out ctrlX AUTOMATION projects in Europe, the USA and Asia last year. Applications range from plastics and textile machines to food and luxury goods processing with packaging and even logistics. However, the focus here is on robotics and handling. Customers use the new ctrlX DRIVE generation of drives and the ctrlX CORE control system in special and serial machines.

Sufficient performance for additional software

The biggest application is a handling system for stacking and transporting large components over long distances. The manufacturer develops and produces complete robotic handling systems in various sizes. For a new generation of robots, a control system which is integrated into the drive and offers unlimited performance and openness towards higher-level IT systems was needed. In addition to the actual motion with gantry function, the extensive OPC UA server which is supporting the communication to the end users’ IT systems will also run on it.

Energy efficiency too plays an important role. After all, end users are increasingly looking to reduce their CO2 footprint. The drives run alongside the portal systems. The lighter the hardware is, the less drive power is required and the less energy is consumed by the system. The ctrlX DRIVE drives are up to 50% more compact and thus weigh nearly 35% less. The modular design of the drive system and the common DC-bus with regenerative supply unit ensure maximum energy efficiency. This reduces operating costs and the CO2 footprint becomes much smaller.

The ctrlX CORE control system which is integrated into the drive requires no additional space. It coordinates the drives needed for the portal system via the ctrlX MOTION app. The control system also offers sufficient performance for the warehouse software. The OPC UA web server which is already integrated makes connection to the end users’ IT systems easier and reduces the engineering outlay considerably.

For the customer, the openness of the automation system is an essential requirement. The manufacturer can load new interfaces to IT systems or to the IoT onto the control systems via app at any time – even if the systems have already been installed. On the field level, the EtherCAT ecosystem offers a wide range of peripheral devices. Having gained initial experience with the system during the first project, ctrlX AUTOMATION was chosen as the standard automation system for the new generation of robots in all sizes.

“An exact fit”

A number of companies that produce serial machines have also opted for the new ctrlX DRIVE generation of drives. In a textile machine, the new drives reduce the amount of space required in the control cabinet with double axis control systems by almost 50%. In addition, the cabling technology and the integrated DC-bus connection reduce the cabling outlay significantly.

A company with a new range of serial plastics processing machines was looking for particularly compact and efficient drives that would be “an exact fit”. The standard version of ctrlX DRIVE meets all requirements and fits seamlessly into the automation system with a third party control system via EtherCAT. This machine manufacturer has also programmed its own vibration avoidance system which can easily be installed on ctrlX DRIVE.

Future proof and open

With the new automation platform, all key customers save a significant amount of space, weight and energy. The control system’s long life cycle with a serviceability of at least 25 years is their guarantee of future viability. This also applies to communication with the field level via EtherCAT and with IT systems via OPC UA. A user now has the option of programming ctrlX CORE in a high-level language and using these functions to stand out from the competition.


If you have any questions or require further information regarding ctrlX AUTOMATION, please contact us:

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Volker Schlotz

Game Changer


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New freedom in engineering

Find out how ctrlX AUTOMATION helps you to put individual solutions into operation much faster and to program functions easily and flexibly in any language.

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