Bosch Rexroth adds Nokia to automation ecosystem

Comms tech provider collaborates with global engineering firm to integrate virtualised operating system into its MX Industrial Edge on-premise operational technology to support private wireless 5G campus network and Industry 4.0 products

Noting that ecosystems and co-creation are becoming the new culture in the automation sector, global engineering firm Bosch Rexroth has announced a collaboration with Nokia to integrate the ctrlX OS virtualised operating system into the Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) on-premise operational technology (OT) edge system.

MXIE is described as a future-ready, high-capacity and highly resilient as-a-service OT on-premise edge system that accelerates the digital transformation of OT. It is powered with 4.9/LTE and 5G connectivity provided by the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC).

Nokia said that as enterprises implement a growing number of Industry 4.0 use cases – such as autonomous robots in a factory or warehouse leveraging real-time situational awareness for safety, or zero-fault manufacturing using advanced real-time video analytics for efficiency – demand is growing for high-capacity, on-premise edge processing. It sees MXIE as being able to accelerate digital transformation beyond connectivity and support operational technology data applications and workloads.

In 2022, Bosch Rexroth invested €388m in research and development – around 5.5% of turnover and the highest figure in the company history. Key areas included digitisation, the electrification of mobile machines with the eLION platform, the ACTIVE Shuttle autonomous mobile robot, the H4U (Hydraulics for You) software platform for industrial hydraulics, and factory automation with the ctrlX Automation platform.

The company said working with Nokia – alongside other technology partnerships – had opened up ctrlX OS for the entire market. Various applications run on the Nokia OT edge system and it has private wireless 5G campus network technology. Through this integration, Nokia MXIE customers can install ctrlX OS as an application and operate business-critical use cases with reduced latency.

With ctrlX OS, Bosch Rexroth claimed it had developed an operating system with digital services and that it was a core part of the ecosystem initiated by ctrlX Automation. The aim of Bosch Rexroth and the partner companies is to create an open industry standard for the market.

Bosch Rexroth said the OS was of interest not only for industrial control systems and edge industry PCs, but as a virtualised solution, the operating system also runs on edge servers in close proximity to machines and production lines, in datacentres and in the cloud.

“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 digitisation, connectivity and sustainability. ctrlX OS is the enabler for this,” said Steffen Winkler, vice-president for sales business unit automation and electrification solutions at Bosch Rexroth.

“We’ve managed to win over new partner companies such as Dell Technologies and Nokia. As a result, we’re now getting involved in areas outside factory automation. We’ve now got partner companies on all levels of the automation pyramid and can thus offer a whole range of benefits on a technological level.”

Bosch Rexroth’s first system and technology partnership was with electrical company WAGO.

“We offer ctrlX OS on our own devices and develop specific applications on the basis of the operating system,” said WAGO vice-president business unit automation Johannes Pfeffer. “WAGO is about to launch the Edge Controller 400 and the Edge Computer with ctrlX OS to coincide with the SPS trade fair. Together, we’d like to strengthen ctrlX OS and develop it further.”

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