Go back

Microservices: Small building blocks with huge potential

A fundamental shift is taking place in factories – a shift away from monolithic architectures towards microservices. Individual services can thus be developed, updated and scaled independently of each other. This will significantly improve the flexibility and adaptability of automation systems. It will be easy to add or change functions without impairing the overall system. REST APIs form the bridges that allow the various software components to communicate and interact with each other. The control system ctrlX CORE makes it possible to integrate these concepts seamlessly.

Microservices and APIs play a key role when it comes to designing future automation systems with a view to making processes agile, flexible and innovative.

Imagine a machine user would like to integrate information about the total running time of their machine into their MES (Manufacturing Execution System). Traditionally, this requires a communication interface between the IT world (MES) and the OT world (control system). In this case, the OEM must tinker with the machine’s PLC code. With the ctrlX CORE and its REST APIs, this process is much easier. The end user can easily retrieve the required information via the REST API without having to make any adjustments to the control system. This information can then be used in a microservice within the MES.

This is a simple example, but more complex requirements can easily be met: If the variable total running time of the machine is replaced by the power consumption of all motors, a predictive maintenance solution could be created very quickly within a microservice by analyzing changes in power consumption over time.

The future belongs to microservices

The term microservices already suggests that OEMs can make their solutions more granular in order to offer end customers customized solutions. Large OEMs take into account microservices when planning their automation platforms. The ability to take into account even the smallest details allows OEMs to offer exactly the functions that users need, thus reducing costs and making efficient use of resources.

The REST APIs are the bridges which allow various software components to work together. The ctrlX CORE’s APIs are user-friendly and require no complex installation work at all. These APIs can easily be accessed and used via the integrated web server of the ctrlX CORE. The user interface for Swagger UI documentation is particularly practical. This interactive documentation allows users to access all functions of the various REST APIs and test them from a conventional web browser.

Keep it simple – for developers

Bosch Rexroth combines all the advantages in a sensible manner: Proven methods from the IT world that are seamlessly linked with the OT world of the control system ctrlX CORE and the Linux-based operating system ctrlX OS. Web developers will find themselves back in their familiar environment without PLC programmers having to constantly explain every single method for accessing their machines.

Communication with ctrlX OS via REST APIs creates unprecedented opportunities to attract young IT talent to mechanical and system engineering. In the future, web and UX designers will be able to work for machine and system manufacturers without additional qualifications, e.g. when developing a web HMI for a machine. This is a key to success for everyone involved, especially nowadays given the skills shortages.

Overall, the control system ctrlX CORE with Bosch Rexroth's own operating system ctrlX OS makes it easy to develop and use microservices and APIs in industrial automation. The fact that microservices can be developed independently of each other helps to reduce the development time. Updates and troubleshooting can be carried out for specific services without impairing the overall system. This allows more agile development and quicker reaction times in response to market requirements.

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

Get in contact

Portrait view of Maurus Bien, Game Changer ctrlX AUTOMATION

Maurus Bien

ctrlX developR




Opened copy of the ctrlX AUTOMATION magazine 2023/2024

ctrlX AUTOMATION Magazin 2023/2024

„Openness is everything“ – this is the motto of the ctrlX AUTOMATION magazine 2023/2024. This year, it´s all about openness and co-creation, which enables a completely new world of automation. Furthermore, there will be innovations of the product portfolio, exciting case studies and expert opinions on digitalization and connectivity.

Request now!

Go back