25 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Rexroth opens up real-time OS to third parties

Rexroth’s ctrlX OS opens up its real-time operating system to third parties

Bosch Rexroth has opened up its real-time Linux-based operating system, which it has previously used exclusively for its ctrlX Core controls, to third-party suppliers. The hardware-independent ctrlX OS can be used by other automation suppliers to connect their components to the ctrlX Automation portfolio, including items developed by partner companies on Rexroth’s ctrlX World platform. There are currently more than 60 partners offering 50 downloadable apps from the ctrlX Store.

Bosch Rexroth launched ctrlX Automation in 2019, hailing it as the “smartphone of industrial automation” and “a radical step towards openness in automation”. The open system of hardware and software provides the building blocks for complete automation systems and works with modern app technologies. It can also be used to merge OT and IT applications.

More than 600 customers around the world are now using the ctrlX platform.

The platform’s hardware independence makes it possible to operate virtual control systems on hypervisor platforms, in data centres, on edge servers, or in the cloud. Software-based functions can be developed, installed, updated and operated easily and flexibly across all levels of automation. And users can run their own software on any suitable hardware.

Steffen Winkler, sales manager of Bosch Rexroth’s automation and electrification solutions business, describes the opening up of the system to other suppliers as “a bold step”. It will make it “possible to use the advantages of our operating system – such as Linux, security, real-time capability, microservice-based architecture and many more – for every automation topology.

“We want to free [automation users] from lock-in effects and isolated solutions,” he adds. “For this reason, our developments are all aimed at opening up solutions as much as possible, enabling networking and compatibility.”

ctrlX OS can be used at all levels of automation from the field to the cloud, and on a variety of hardware. Software-based functions can be developed, installed and operated easily and flexibly across all the levels. Functions can be created as apps and combined freely using programming languages such as Blockly, Python, IEC 61131, PLCopen and C/C#.

At the recent at SPS 2022 show, more than a dozen partner companies from ctrlX World were demonstrating compatible technologies and apps, including Bosch Connected Industries, Nokia, HD Vision Systems, Hailo Technologies and ifm electronic.

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