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Technology that unites PLCs with IT wins Hermes Award

10 April, 2013

Bosch Rexroth has won the 2013 Hermes Award for its Open Core Engineering, which unites the previously separate worlds of PLCs and information technology (IT). The award, made annually at the Hannover Fair, singles out outstanding innovations pioneered by individual companies. This year’s shortlist included Ebm-Papst and Hirschmann Automation and Control.

Open Core Engineering combines traditional programmable control with high-level language programming. It will allow programs to run on devices such as smartphones and tablets, with native apps not only reading data, but also writing it directly to controllers. It will allow OEMs to use customised software functions to set themselves apart from their rivals – without direct support from control system manufacturers.

Rexroth says that with Open Core Engineering, engineers can, for the first time, create new software functions in several different programming languages and access control cores directly. This is essential for integrating machines with IT. The technology also allows machine-builders to accelerate commissioning and diagnosis, and to design new user interfaces.

Prof Dr Wolf-Dieter Lukas, a member of the Hermes Award jury and head of research and innovation at the German Ministry of Education and Research, describes the award-winning technology as “a game-changer for machinery manufacturers. In our view, both the solution and the business model are innovative and will have a lasting impact.”

Accepting the award, Bosch Rexroth chairman Dr Karl Tragl (above) said: “We are proud to be recognised in this way because it shows that Bosch Rexroth is developing the right solutions for the rapid technological shift. We are offering machinery manufacturers a whole new level of freedom, giving them the ability to realise their innovative ideas in the software.”

This is the first time in the Award’s ten-year history that it has gone to a software product. “In the context of Industry 4.0, more and more factory automation functions are being transferred to software,” points out Dr Wolfgang Wahlster, who chaired the Award jury. “The award-winning solution will simplify the migration from today’s factory-based world to the Internet of Things. Open standards will ensure that the digital product memory will be available everywhere in real time.” 

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