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Most compact drive meets ultra-compact control system

The Windows operating system did a good job in the world of automation for decades. However, it is reaching its limits when it comes to availability, safety, support and costs in modern industry which is shaped by connectivity and digitalization. More and more industrial companies are therefore recognizing the benefits of Linux-based automation solutions such as ctrlX AUTOMATION. This platform from Bosch Rexroth has other key benefits: With its fully open, secure architecture and app technology, it is “two steps ahead” in the market. This progress is reflected in ctrlX DRIVE too – the world’s most compact drive system together with various servo motors – and the integrable, ultra-compact ctrlX CORE control system. Together, they are unbeatable when it comes to compactness, safety and scalability.

Inflexible operating systems, parallel technological worlds and island solutions once characterized the world of automation. But with the digital transformation, users’ requirements are changing. The scalable ctrlX AUTOMATION platform sets new standards when it comes to the flexible design of central and decentralized automation topologies: With a Linux real-time operating system, full openness, app technology, web-based engineering and comprehensive IoT connectivity.

The components in the ctrlX AUTOMATION world are perfectly tailored to each other. The same applies to the ctrlX CORE control system and the ctrlX DRIVE system. As a result, numerous different application scenarios can be implemented – in a scalable manner and according to requirements. Various combinations are possible: As a controller-based solution, the control system is available in a separate housing or integrated into the ctrlX DRIVE system. This space-saving design is particularly suitable for single and dual-axis applications. It is perfect for mechatronic subsystems such as joining systems, rotary tables, pick and place units and linear modules.  It is also ideal for multi-axis machineries such as handling and assembly stations and even complete assembly lines.


Ready for all automation tasks

Communication between ctrlX CORE and ctrlX DRIVE takes place via the established EtherCAT field bus which has great market relevance and offers a large ecosystem. Standardized engineering also connects the control and drive systems. With the practical ctrlX WORKS software and engineering toolbox, the components can be perfectly tailored to each other and easily put into operation. Thanks to app-based engineering, the possibilities when producing, providing and using functions are virtually limitless.

If users would like to protect their know-how, they can implement their own apps in order to carry out a wide range of technical processes such as connecting, reshaping, measuring and checking for example.  In addition to their own applications and a wide selection of integrated apps from Bosch Rexroth, they can also use third-party apps. For example, ctrlX CORE allows the app CODESYS SoftMotion  to be used. With this system, a wide range of project planning variants for motion tasks can be implemented. CODESYS SoftMotion is suitable as a solution when motion control integrated into the PLC is needed to move and command axes.

Third-party apps such as ready-to-use camera applications, e.g. a vision app  from HD Vision, and HMI solutions such as the Smart HMI WebIQ app  are also available. Users can therefore find helpful apps for any automation task in this extensive pool.

Systems can be combined securely and flexibly

Like ctrlX CORE, the ctrlX DRIVE platform offers a high degree of flexibility and scalability thanks to its architecture. This means that users can put together their own systems whether they be single-axis or multi-axis solutions. Converters which operate a servo motor can also serve as space-saving supply units for other inverters . Dual-axis converters can also be used. Two axes in one housing allow a very compact design and are available as a converter and an inverter. ctrlX DRIVE covers a wide power range – from 6 A to 375 A peak current.  

A major advantage of the drive platform is the scalable safety technology. This ranges from a simple Safe Torque Off (STO) to a complete SafeMotion system in the drive. The ctrlX DRIVE safety technology can be combined in various forms with the ctrlX SAFETY control system. Here too, the major benefits of the system’s scalability can be seen.

ctrlX DRIVE is also highly flexible in conjunction with field bus systems. Users have numerous field bus interfaces such as EtherCAT, SERCOS and PROFINET for docking onto the central control system. The Bosch Rexroth drive also offers various popular encoder interfaces, even for third-party motors.

With their similar properties which complement each other ideally, the ctrlX CORE and ctrlX DRIVE solutions work perfectly together. Thanks to the ctrlX AUTOMATION ecosystem, they grow along with the tasks involved – from the entry-level solution to the high-level variant.

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Portrait view of Michael Haun, Game Changer Assembly Lines

Michael Haun

Game Changer
Assembly Lines



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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