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Connecting two worlds easily

Traditionally, information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) have always been separate worlds. But the times are changing. Manufacturers must react to changing market requirements more flexibly and more quickly – in order to make changes in production at short notice for example. If the data required for this are stored in separate, non-compatible systems, making changes in this way is only possible with complex, manual intervention. ctrlX CORE as a gateway serves as a bridge between IT systems such as an MES and the OT systems on the production level. With this solution, users can send data from their MES straight to the machine control system the secure way. As a result, it is possible to react to changing conditions with no need for additional intervention.

Nowadays, customer orders are usually recorded by Windows or web-based systems on the IT level. In many cases, these data cannot be processed directly in production owing to different programs and data formats. If it is known which order is to be produced how and where, additional intervention on location is necessary. Information and parameters are passed on to the machine or system control system where the order is then executed.

Classic IoT gateways are a first step on the way to connected IT and OT. However, they have a crucial disadvantage: Data can be read from the machine control system and passed on to databases for example for further processing but communication in the opposite direction is not possible.


Secure bridge from IT to OT and back again

This is now possible with the ultra-compact ctrlX CORE control system: Firstly, a secure connection to IoT applications can be established. Secondly, ctrlX CORE as a gateway also allows secure, bidirectional communication between higher-level IT systems such as an MES and the machine control system.

For this to be possible, the data are made accessible via the ctrlX Data Layer in ctrlX CORE. They are essentially “translated” with the help of the ctrlX AUTOMATION app technology and thus provided for the relevant target system in a secure manner. As a result, data from virtually all popular programming environments can be exchanged via ctrlX CORE.

The user management system for the ctrlX Data Layer specifies exactly which data will be made available where and when. It also controls who is authorized to access the data.

The software configuration is not rigid – it can be expanded as necessary. Apps from Bosch Rexroth or partners allow extra functionalities to be added.

The benefits in practice: High efficiency in accordance with Industry 4.0 standards

Bosch Rexroth’s extended gateway functionality means considerable increases in efficiency for users. To make it easy to react to production changes at short notice, the necessary adjustments can be synchronized directly via the manufacturing execution system. As a result, action can easily be taken on the machine level without complex intermediate steps.

In addition, production environments can be kept up to date without compromising tried and tested functionalities. For example, the established OPC UA standard can be used for existing systems in order to make optimum use of the connectivity benefits offered by ctrlX CORE. This means that brownfield installations can be equipped with new functionalities.

In addition to classic control functionalities, ctrlX CORE as a gateway offers a very high level of flexibility and connectivity as is necessary in today’s Industry 4.0 environments: Whether it be as a classic IoT gateway or as a bidirectional gateway for communication. With ctrlX CORE, the heart of ctrlX AUTOMATION, any control system can be extended in terms of functions.

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Portrait view of Andreas Gryglewski, Game Changer Consumer Goods & Handling

Andreas Gryglewski

Game Changer
Consumer Goods & Handling



The future of automation – Part 3

Like many other sectors, the industry is in the midst of change. Increasing digitalization and networking give rise to new technologies and processes, but, above all, create significant potential for automation and optimization.

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