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Open for all generations

Solving the increasing challenges in automation – as simply and individually as possible. This goal is not reached by individual products existing side by side, but by complete solutions. This is what Bosch Rexroth stands for with ctrlX AUTOMATION. In keeping with the openness and flexibility of the automation platform, components from previous and new product lines can be combined with each other. This creates optimal solutions and existing users can migrate to ctrlX AUTOMATION as needed.

With ctrlX AUTOMATION, Bosch Rexroth is bringing the smartphone principle to the world of automation. The system – comprising hardware and software solutions – has a Linux real-time operating system, completely open standards, app technology for programming, web-based engineering and comprehensive IoT connectivity.

One of the main user advantages of the automation platform is the unlimited openness of the system. This applies to the choice of standards and interfaces used as well as to any kind of integration of hardware and software. The goal is always to create the technically and commercially optimal solution for the user. And here, customers can literally draw from the full range of Bosch Rexroth services. This is because the components of the previous and new product families can be combined with each other, thus ideally complementing each other to create the best possible solution.


Unlimited combinability on all levels

For example, the new motors of the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform can be operated with previous drive controllers, the new ctrlX DRIVE controllers can interact with the proven MLC and MTX motion and CNC controls, or conversely, a ctrlX CORE connects to drives and I/Os of previous product lines.

Due to the compatibility of the individual components of different product generations, companies from various industries are able to solve their automation requirements in the best possible way with existing and new components according to their needs and to align their architectures in a stable, state-of the-art and future-oriented way. The migration to new solutions with ctrlX AUTOMATION can thus be achieved individually and easily. At the same time, a long availability of all product generations is ensured, i.e. existing users are not forced to make a changeover at short notice.

The openness of the platform and the ecosystem around ctrlX AUTOMATION also allow for the integration of third-party solutions. In the ctrlX World partner world, users can use apps from Bosch Rexroth, applications from third parties or apps they have produced themselves. Bosch Rexroth also keeps the automation platform open for the co-creation of solutions and hardware from partners. This way, customers can benefit from special solutions and features all made from experts.

3 questions for:

Steffen Winkler, CSO Automation & Electrification Solutions Business Unit at Bosch Rexroth AG.

Why are integrated solutions in automation indispensable today?

Automation is not a component business. In 70-80 % of all cases, users of automation technology, especially in mechanical engineering, choose a primary automation supplier rather than a single component. There are several reasons for this, but mainly because the degree of automation is increasing in all industries and, unfortunately, with it the complexity. It is therefore important to offer the customer interlocking hardware and software. Increasing digitalization also requires new solutions that enable networking with other systems and offer openness in all necessary directions. Proprietary, closed solutions from individual providers are therefore becoming increasingly unpopular with users, as they are diametrically opposed to this openness.

With ctrlX AUTOMATION, we break down these boundaries and create interoperability. With us, the customer can connect all available components – from existing and new Bosch Rexroth solutions to applications from our ctrlX World ecosystem – as desired. This is exactly the kind of freedom that is needed in the modern world of automation. It couldn’t be any more flexible and future-proof.

What could a possible Bosch Rexroth overall solution look like?

A mogul plant in the food sector can be used to illustrate an exemplary application: Here, the customer is already using the MLC motion control system based on our XM42 high-performance control. This is at the heart of the system and allows synchronized control of well over 100 servo drives per control. The user has high demands on the motion functionality and has also invested a lot in it. He would like to keep the motion control for the time being, but already take advantage of the new ctrlX SAFETY control and the new, ultra-compact ctrlX DRIVE servo drives and motors. The combination can be realized without any problems and enables a plannable migration while ensuring the stability and saleability of the user’s plants.

A second example is a customer who manufactures modular systems for battery production. Here, the user relies on the existing decentralized drives IndraDrive Mi, our motion control system MLC  based on XM controls and our S20 I/O system including safety function.  But he already uses up to ten ctrlX CORE as a line controller or modern IoT/edge device. This is also a very interesting example of how core functions can be combined to increase one’s competitive advantage as a plant manufacturer.

This offers a very flexible migration strategy for existing and new customers. What about the availability of the products?

With us, the customer has maximum planning reliability. Even if a product is discontinued, we guarantee spare parts availability for 10 years. Beyond that, we offer availability of up to 25 years with optional service contracts. With us, the user experiences no surprises and does not have to make any short-term changes to new systems, but has the opportunity to increase the benefits and efficiency of his solutions whenever his needs require it. The compatibility of our components and product generations with each other, as well as the simplicity of the combination, means that conversions do not become “mammoth projects”, which sometimes occur on the market and which often end up involving a lot of effort and only little user benefit. With such automation solutions, which are often closed and proprietary at the same time, the disadvantage of the lock-in in which users find themselves in such a situation becomes clear.

This is one of the main reasons why we pursue unlimited openness with ctrlX AUTOMATION for any hardware and software integration – also in our own existing product lines.


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

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Portrait view of Steffen Winkler, Game Changer ctrlX AUTOMATION

Steffen Winkler

Game Changer



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