Bosch Rexroth’s new ctrlX DRIVE is a compact, modular drive system designed to help engineers satisfy all three of those priorities.

With ctrlX DRIVE, engineers can control up to 40 axes of motion in a space just 1 meter long. That’s less than half the length of conventional drive systems. The system can be used for both simple single-axis applications and complex multi-axis machine systems. The scalable drive portfolio includes converters, single- and double-axis inverters, DC/DC converters, and rectifier and regenerative power supplies. These components can be freely combined with each other, giving engineers virtually unlimited combination options.

“Many providers of electrical drives cover broad performance ranges and offer numerous functions—but nearly always with a number of product series. In turn, each product series has its own engineering tools, various provider concepts or extension options. As a result, they differ so much that programs and parameter sets cannot simply be copied. This often leads to unnecessary duplicate work,” says Frank Kaufmann, director of product management for drives at Bosch Rexroth.

“Not so with ctrlX DRIVE,” he continues. “There are no system breaks at all. Machine manufacturers use one system—from the most powerful main axis to the smallest auxiliary axis. With families of machines, they can scale the power of individual modules as required with no additional outlay. The standardized engineering environment covers all machine forms. The parameter structure is always identical.”

The drives can handle peak currents of 6 to 375 amps and provide 30 percent more torque density than conventional drives, enabling them to control operations with a maximum torque of 4 to 692 newton-meters. As a result, the system can accommodate everything from to small handling units to primary motion axes with a power rating of several kilowatts. The entire power range is covered with standardized software. That reduces complexity and eliminates the need for numerous individual components.

“[Engineers] can use compact converters for one- and two-axis applications. As soon as there are three or more axes, our modular multiaxis system allows unlimited combination options. Developers can increase the number of drives using single- and double-axis inverters with the same form factor,” explains Kaufmann.

A continuous DC bus optimizes power requirements and reduces power loss in multiaxis applications.

“Because…not all axes can deliver their full power at the same time and the DC bus results in an energy exchange, machine manufacturers can reduce the installed connection power by up to 70 percent compared to a single-axis supply,” says Kaufmann. “In addition, they can cost-effectively improve grid perturbations through additional measures at just one central point. This means smaller components in the mains connection and thus lower system costs.”

Less complexity and fewer components translates into shorter commissioning times. Bosch estimates that ctrlX DRIVE can reduce hardware installation costs by 40 percent.

The common power supply via the DC bus enables engineers to boost the energy efficiency of their machines, as well. A Smart Energy Mode software function allows the DC bus voltage, as well as the upper limits for feed-in and feed-out power, to be set in a variable manner. As a result, capacity modules in the DC bus for reducing load peaks in the supply network can be used in an optimum manner.

The drive system provides functional safety up to safety integrity level 3. The system’s reaction time of around 4 milliseconds is one of the fastest on the market.

The system is designed to minimize electromagnetic interference, and its new power connector with integrated grounding concept allows even better interference resistance. Open and flexible, the drive system features multi-Ethernet and multi-encoder capability.

Bosch Rexroth offers various servomotors matched to the drive systems. These include the new, compact MS2N and MS2E synchronous servomotors, which provide high torque, high speeds, and real-time condition monitoring.

For more information, visit