Assemblers are increasingly implementing automation systems that are connected, data-driven and intelligent. The new ctrlX CORE controller from Bosch Rexroth can help assemblers do just that.

The ctrlX CORE is the controller in Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX Automation family of products. The ctrlX CORE is a compact, 64-bit multicore Linux-based controller. With its open and flexible architecture, the controller removes the boundaries between industrial PCs, embedded systems and drive-based technology platforms.

The controller is available with a drive-based architecture or a controls-based architecture. Either version provides 4 gigabytes of eMMC storage and 2 gigabytes of RAM. The compact, modular device was developed to join industrial automation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The controller is designed to connect with the EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) fieldbus, but it also supports many other common automation protocols, and peripherals can be connected easily via EtherCAT Master. It supports more than 30 IT and PLC IoT standards, such as OPC UA and MQTT. In connected environments, the Ethernet interface controls the data-intensive exchange of information with higher-level IT systems, HMI devices and cloud-based applications.

Thanks to fully web-based engineering, ctrlX CORE saves much of the work required for software installation and makes configuration and commissioning of automation components clearer and more intuitive. With the ctrlX WORKS Toolkit, all engineering tools are available free of charge. In addition, the ctrlX CORE system environment is available in an entirely virtual form. This means that programming and tests can be carried out without any hardware.

With ctrlX CORE’s app-based architecture, engineers can easily add and modify new control functions. Just as consumers can download various apps to their smartphones, engineers can download ready-to-use apps from the ctrlX App Store. Created by Bosch Rexroth or third-party partners, these apps reduce development time and effort. Engineers can also run self-developed software and convert functions into apps in all common programming languages. The ctrlX Data Layer, which is anchored in the controls, ensures communication between the apps and manages secure access to information of all apps.

The ctrlX apps expand the capability of the controller to support applications such as HMI, IoT, machine vision and machine learning. This “one control system for everything” approach means less engineering and fewer components to integrate.

Bosch Rexroth has developed the ctrlX Device Portal for easy administration, maintenance and servicing of the device software. It enables the central administration of control systems across plants. All available apps can be assigned to the ctrlX CORE and updated.