SPS 2023 preview: Open automation platform opportunities, applications
Bosch Rexroth expanded its drive and servo motor lines, touted increase interest and offerings in the ctrlX Automation platform, and discussed a new the modular, distributed motion control platform is available in 2024 in the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation line, among SPS 2023 announcements.
- Understand how Bosch Rexroth expanded its drive and servo motor lines within the ctrlX Automation platform, the company reports in an SPS announcement, with availability next year for the expanded offerings.
- Learn how interest in the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX controls, software is growing.
- Explore capabilities of a new the modular, distributed track-based motion control platform in the ctrlX Automation line.
Automation platform insights
- Bosch Rexroth expanded its drive and servo motor lines in the ctrlX Automation platform, according to the company at SPS 2023 this week, with availability next year for the expanded offerings.
- There’s growing interest in Bosch Rexroth ctrlX OS and ctrlX Automation platform.
- A new the modular, distributed motion control platform is available in 2024 in the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation line.
The Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation platform is the most open automation system, according to Dave Cameron, director of sales, automation and electrification solutions, Bosch Rexroth Corp. USA. Cameron explained expanded platform offerings, including drives and controls and software applications in the style of smartphone apps. Cameron and other automation platform experts provided media with a preview at the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, headquarters, Nov. 1 for products to be introduced at the SPS-Smart Production Solutions 2023 show in Nuremberg, Germany, Nov. 14 to 16.
Similar to a smartphone app store, ctrlX platform can expand as developers and Bosch Rexroth add capabilities to the xtrlX OS platform. As of Nov. 1, 27 additional developers are working on applications during 2023 with more than 90 developers now in 16 categories. More than 75 apps are available in the ctrlX Store as of Nov. 13; use cases exceed 150. More than 1,500 customers have purchased ctlX Automation in some way.
The Bosch Rexroth facility in Lohr, Germany, is tripling site capacity of its automated warehouse powered by ctrlX Automation with 2024 completion expected.
Brnik, Slovenia, a new Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation servo motor production plant also is expected to be fully operational in 2024.
The ctrlX Automation offerings include motion controls, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), industrial PCs, safety I/O (input/output) devices, control platform, motors and motion controls, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), industrial Internet of Things, engineering software, operating system and services.
Part of the open functionality is that the ctrlX OS is hardware independent, industrial, based on Linux, has an app store with apps from many developers and includes services and a software development kit (SDK), Cameron said. Those using ctrlX as an embedded control system in their offerings include Dell, Nokia and Wago.
ctrlX Drive expansion, SPS announcement with availability next year
The ctrlX Drives expansion was explained by Joaquin Ocampo, drive product manager, Bosch Rexroth. The drives can be arranged in line, star or in groups. They can be air or liquid cooled. Single and double axis are available from 6 to 54 A. The cabinet-free design (third generation in 15 years, with no air conditioning needed for heat dissipation) allows placement of the drives outside control cabinets (with IP65 rating), in smaller spaces, with easier cable management using 1 cable instead of 9 for 9 axes. Setup is faster and shipping is lower costs and easier, Ocampo said.
It offers multiple Ethernet communications in the same device, multiple encoder and motor capabilities (synchronous, asynchrony, torque, highspeed, linear, rotary), I/O, safety and other functions.
Compact servos are available in the 0.05 kW to 1.5 kW voltage range, in three housing sizes. The low-voltage servo drive 24 V/48V slice I/O connections can be placed next to the drives. [Lower voltages mean that if they are located separate from higher voltage devices, no personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for access.]
Bosch Rexroth ctrlX controls, software
Using and upgrading capabilities of ctrlX Controls and ctrlX Software is easier because of the app-store concept, noted Ed Polzin, product manager for controls hardware, Bosch Rexroth.
The ctrlX x3 low-range and x7 high-range controllers are available now, and the x5 ctrlX midrange controller will be available in 2024. All are modular with different processing capabilities, and all have multi-Ethernet capabilities without add-on communications cards or modules.
A new solid-state ctrlX controller drive is available for added storage.
The Hailo module for vision/AI includes algorithms to help machine vision systems learn more quickly with easier “teaching.” Mike Mueller, production management leader, factory automation, automation and electrification, Bosch Rexroth, said partners offer bin picking and other expanded capabilities.
Polzin said 22 new I/O modules are being added for a total of 50 I/O slices. Capabilities include analog and encoder feedback, compact safety controls and more I/O safety, among others. OPC UA Pub/Sub is included for controls-to-controls communications over TSN. The ctrlX system is said to be hardware agnostic, and software can be updated without connecting an external PC by using a plug-in card for machine-to-machine commissioning.
Hardware, software and engineering services partners number more than 90. Because apps are containerized (think app store), Mueller said, connectivity and adding functionality is easier, with less work to integrate and no to low code. Variables are set through a drop box; code doesn’t have to be run through a programmable logic controller (PLC).
Polzin said programming environment translation from existing CoDeSys is easy (perhaps 95%), though vendor-specific code libraries functions may require more attention. He noted it may be more efficient in the long run to abandon older code and use capabilities of the modern ctrlX platform.
An application validation team adds quality. Apps include cycle time optimization, throughput, energy optimization, vision, connectivity, safety, data harmonization, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), manufacturing execution system (MES) integration and human-machine interface (HMI). Robotics solutions include Fanuc, Kassow Robots, Kuka with iiQKA and Robotic Republic.
Modular, distributed motion control platform
For motion controls, Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Flow Smart Conveyance includes planar levitation technology with round disks as well as track-based systems offering high-speed linear motion. Powered by ctrlX Automation, the ctrlXFlowHS flexible topology tracks have embedded linear motors and sensors to minimize friction and maximum performance with in an integrated (cabinet free), modular design. Shuttles avoid collisions with precise positioning and can add functionality with third-party apps from the ctrlX Automation app store. Each carrier has 2.5 kg capacity and double configuration can be used for maximum 5 kg combined payload. A prototype will be shown at SPS; product is expected to be available in 2024.
Additional ctrlX Automation platform information from Bosch Rexroth
The company offers more information below about ctrlX Automation, ctrlX drives and ctrlX FlowHS, the track-based, high-speed transport and positioning system.
The new ctrlX compact servo drive for low-power applications is 50% smaller than the previous IndraDrive Cs drives and offers various features such as virtual commissioning and a digital twin.
“The voltage category and protection class are important criteria when choosing a servo drive. ctrlX Drive already covers a wide range of voltages from 380 to 480 Vac,” said Steffen Winkler, vice president sales business unit automation and electrification solutions at Bosch Rexroth. Winkler continued: “Based on just one universal architecture platform, we can now cater for low-voltage applications too. Depending on their requirements, users can choose between various voltage ranges without having to switch to different systems. This makes it easier for them to respond to changing market conditions and requirements.”
The portfolio is complemented by the new servo module with features including high-power density, less wiring, passive cooling and quick, easy commissioning. It can also be integrated seamlessly into a ctrlX I/O station. “A particular feature is the protective low voltage of 60 VDC. With our new servo module, we remain under this voltage, and this makes the system much easier to use. This means that no specialists, such as electricians, are required. This is a major advantage given the shortage of skilled workers at the moment,” said Winkler.
The linear motion system ctrlX FLowHS is an integral part of Bosch Rexroth’s automation toolkit ctrlX Automation. It gives users access to all features, including interfaces for interoperability with other systems and communication and security standards thanks to ctrlX IOT. Using the embedded software ctrlX Motion, it is possible to operate robots and other axes in a synchronized manner.
ctrlX FlowHS is based on the control platform ctrlX Core with the operating system ctrlX OS. Expansion is easier using app technology. Using a modular construction kit, ctrlX FlowHS has plug-and-play functionality. Straight and curved segments and switches can be combined as necessary to create specific topologies, lengths and routes. With acceleration of up to 10 G and a speed of 5 m/s, the system allows quick movements.
“Compared to other solutions, the system has smaller movers and a product spacing reduced by 20% to just 40 mm,” said Winkler.
“Automation needs to move away from proprietary systems towards open, modular and scalable microservices architectures that will enable a profound transformation of industry in terms of digitalization, connectivity and sustainability,” said Winkler.
As a virtualized solution, the operating system Bosch Rexroth ctrlX OS runs on edge servers in close proximity to machines and production lines, in data centers and in the cloud. Seven partner solutions for robotics are available for download from the ctrlX Store, including simple programming and the integration of cobots and industrial robots and software for planning optimum palletizing algorithms.
Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, email@example.com.
KEYWORDS: Automation, control systems, motion controls
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