Drives and Controls Magazine
Wago is first to adopt Bosch Rexroth’s open real-time OS
Published:  11 April, 2023

Bosch Rexroth’s ambition for its ctrlX OS operating system to be adopted by other automation suppliers has been given a boost by the German automation and connection technology specialist Wago deciding to use the real-time Linux-based OS for its future mid- and high-performance controllers.

Bosch Rexroth claims that it has done something new on the automation market. It has separated the OS software from its own control hardware and made it available to others. Rivals can also use the OS for their own purposes, and Wago is the first company to do this.

The two companies say they want to create a world-leading automation platform for tomorrow’s software-driven industry. “That sounds ambitious,” admits Steffen Winkler, chief sales officer of Bosch Rexroth’s automation business. “However, considering how fragmented the industry is on the one hand, and how proprietary it is on the other, this is a realistic undertaking that’s in the best interest of customers.

“Specifically, this means anchoring the platform as broadly as possible,” he adds. “Both Bosch Rexroth and Wago consider it essential to get more system and technology partners on board for ctrlX OS. Open systems depend on many specialists working closely together on the big picture.”

Originally, Rexroth developed the OS for use in its ctrlX Core controllers, but it recently announced that it was opening up the system for use by third parties. It argues that this will create opportunities for collaboration that have not previously existed in the market.

ctrlX OS can be used from the field level to edge devices and the cloud. Rexroth says that its “radical openness” removes previous boundaries and “creates new scope for action”. Users of ctrlX OS will get access to an ecosystem that includes a wide range of apps that can be downloaded from the online ctrlX Store.

Shared vision: Wago’s Johannes Pfeffer and Bosch Rexroth’s Steffen Winkler

Wago has previously been part of Rexroth’s ctrlX World partner association, offering ctrlX-compatible I/O modules. It will now also be involved in developing the operating system further, focusing initially on the implementing it on its own devices and developing Wago-specific applications based on ctrlX OS. It will also promote the OS as an industry standard.

“The core of Wago’s product strategy is the implementation of ctrlX OS on our independently developed Wago control platforms,” explains Johannes Pfeffer, vice-president of Wago’s automation business. “We bring the new technology into our product competence and at the same time we can develop market-specific solutions with our industry experience. To round it off, it is also conceivable to integrate products and devices from the Bosch Rexroth portfolio into the Wago range.

“We will keep this control platform active in the market in the long term,” says Pfeffer. “For performance-related expansion, we want to be at the middle and upper performance end – wherever large amounts of data are handled with high time accuracy and high IT security standards are in demand – relying on ctrlX OS in the long term.”

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