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Automation is (not) an industry issue

In the manufacturing industry and other segments, digitalization and, as a result, automation are advancing rapidly. While automation has been standard in industries such as mechanical engineering for many years and control technology is traditionally used here, electrical automation solutions are also finding their way into newer industries such as the energy sector. Volker Schlotz, Head of Business Development for the Automation Business Unit at Bosch Rexroth, explains why ctrlX AUTOMATION can be used across all industries, but is still tailored to individual requirements.

Why is ctrlX AUTOMATION ideal for all industries that require automation solutions?

Today’s companies across many industries have one thing in common: They must respond dynamically to customer and market needs in order to remain competitive. At the same time, each industry has its own specific requirements. This development requires a consistently user-oriented automation platform that enables maximum flexibility and can individually factor in industry specifics. That is why we have developed ctrlX AUTOMATION, a modular automation platform that is open at all levels. It includes all necessary hardware and software components such as motors and drives, controllers, I/Os, IPCs and HMIs, as well as automation solutions for PLC, motion, IoT and safety applications.

The system offers all the components necessary for complete solutions. It is extremely scalable, can be expanded as required with apps from Bosch Rexroth, third-party providers or applications developed in-house, and is compatible with other systems. Openness also allows for the integration of additional actuators and sensors available on the market as well as networking at machine or factory level based on a wide variety of technologies and communication protocols such as classic fieldbuses, IO-Link, 5G, TSN, OPC-UA, MQTT, etc.

The platform knows no limits and offers almost all possible applications in automation. These include use scenarios in building automation, intralogistics and goods logistics, energy production and distribution and, increasingly, mobile automation applications.

The automation platform can therefore be used across the board, but still fulfills industry-specific requirements better than any other solution. Why?

In addition to the broad scope of action, the application of ctrlX AUTOMATION is also very simple. This makes the solution even more interesting for its wide range of target groups. We have chosen the smartphone principle as the model for our platform and transferred it to the world of automation. At the heart of this is the ctrlX CORE control system with its open software architecture and flexible app technology. It allows users and developer to operate freely and simply.

Bosch Rexroth already provides numerous industry-specific applications, or the user can make use of third-party apps in ctrlX World. If users want to incorporate their own knowledge, they simply program their required applications themselves and can choose from all common programming languages. Classic programming, e.g. with IEC 61131, is still possible, but can be replaced by modern languages.

Individual expert knowledge and industry specifics can be easily incorporated in the form of functions. This gives users the opportunity to contribute their software know-how, to develop their own solutions and to implement them on our control hardware.

The platform can therefore be optimally adapted to the requirements of our customers via a variety of functionalities and interfaces and grows with them. ctrlX AUTOMATION offers unique selling points for almost every industry. One example is a 3-axis handling system for loading and unloading injection molding machines. With ctrlX AUTOMATION, we can realize a complete automation system with a full motion control and the corresponding servo drives on a width of 100 mm.

In keeping with the openness and flexibility of the automation platform, components from previous and new Bosch Rexroth product lines can also be combined with each other here. This creates optimal solutions and existing users can migrate to ctrlX AUTOMATION as needed, ensuring that they are fit for the future at all times.

From which industries do most of your ctrlX AUTOMATION customers currently come?

ctrlX AUTOMATION is already being used in numerous industries. The majority of our customers currently come from the handling and logistics sector – here, we offer clear advantages over our competitors thanks to our many years of experience. However, the possible applications of our solution are almost unlimited and range, for example, from the logistics sector to large-dimensioned loading gantries for the transport of tire stacks.

In industries such as food and packaging and machine tools, customers combine proven motion systems that offer a wide range of functionalities with the latest products from the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform, such as ctrlX DRIVE. This allows them to benefit from our many years of experience in motion applications combined with the advantages of the latest generation.

Companies from young industries such as 3D printing and industrial building automation are also increasingly relying on our solution portfolio. We are currently entering completely new industries – which confirms the capabilities of ctrlX AUTOMATION. A real all-rounder.


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

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Portrait view of Volker Schlotz, Game Changer ctrlX AUTOMATION

Volker Schlotz

Game Changer



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