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App-based control system targets usability: Expert interview series, Dave Cameron, Bosch Rexroth

Looking for a new approach for the next automation platform? Just download the applications you need from an app store, says Dave Cameron, Bosch Rexroth sales director for automation and electrification.

By Dave Cameron November 18, 2021
Control Engineering video interview with Dave Cameron, Bosch Rexroth sales director for automation and electrification, discusses control system ease of use offered by the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation platform. Courtesy: Control Engineering

Downloadable application-based automation is providing a new design and implementation approach to industrial automation and machine design, explained Dave Cameron, Bosch Rexroth sales director for automation and electrification. Cameron, with Bosch Rexroth since 1997, spent his early career as an application engineer writing application-level code and performing technical support prior to Bosch. In a video interview with Control Engineering, he discussed market trends and Bosch Rexroth platform ctrlX Automation to address a new design and implementation approach to industrial automation. This platform is intended to use the latest programming, connectivity, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) elements with an easy “smartphone” experience for the designer and user, Cameron said.

The system targets front-line original equipment manufacturers (OEM) machine and industrial designers of controls, motors and drives, and safety systems for manufacturing. This includes hardware, software, R&D engineers across many industries and application.

The platform, introduced in the U.S. in June 2020, was driven by a market need to use a better system for data management, IIoT elements, new programming languages entering the industrial space, and system management of technology.

The approach to design is driven more by speed or “time to market” and thus a need to have such a system to allow for faster development and customization in an easier way, Cameron said.

Easy software configuration, app downloads

Benefits of the system are web tools versus software installation, the ability to customize by using a variety of apps developed by Bosch Rexroth and partners, or to make your own. A device management cloud-based system manages and installs upgrades remotely.

The system support of most languages to allow familiarity of the design engineer’s efficiency level. Java, Node Red, Python and traditional IEC 61131-3 languages are available, allowing the use of structured, low-code, or a no code app approach. Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation is an open system supporting several protocols, such as OPC-UA, EtherCAT, IEEE time-sensitive networking (TSN) Ethernet and 5G wireless.

Apps can be loaded from the platform’s app store and human-machine interface (HMI) built in 20 minutes, he said.


Dave Cameron
Author Bio: Dave Cameron, Bosch Rexroth sales director for automation and electrification