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xxx 2013-09-23

Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering gives machine builders more flexibility to develop custom control functionality

With the Open Core Interface OEMs can develop application programs with Java as native apps and integrate smartphones seamlessly into the automation process.

Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering is an innovative approach to connect PLC and IT automation with a platform that gives developers a greater degree of freedom in software engineering. OEMs can flexibly access the control core of the Rexroth IndraMotion MLC and IndraLogic XLC controller systems from applications that are based on high-level languages. This allows them to develop customized solutions independently and more easily, and at a lower cost than before.

Open Core Engineering brings the requirements from previously separated engineering worlds together in one integrated solution. At its center are software tools and function toolkits that build entirely on open standards and technologies. The Open Core Engineering portfolio consists of: software tools, function toolkits, open standards, and the Open Core Interface.

The new Open Core Interface enhances the software engineering – which until now has been focused on PLC automation – enabling it to work with applications that are based on high-level languages. With numerous function libraries adapted to different development environments, it is now possible to have functions directly access the control core. This allows OEMs to develop customized software functions in-house and to integrate IT technologies based on high-level languages into their automation solutions. Specific examples are the integration of simulation tools or the use of smart devices with native apps. In addition, the Open Core Interface makes it possible to integrate production machine functions and data out of IT-based applications such as management execution systems.

Access all the way to the core of the control with various devices and programming languages

With the Open Core Interface, OEMs are free to choose their platform – PC, controller or smart device – and the required programming language, from C/C++, C# (.NET), Visual Basic, VBA (Office), LabView, G, Objective-C and Java, to all programming applications that support the integration of Microsoft COM libraries. They can even build customized control functions for real-time applications independently of the control program. This means that engineers can use high-level languages to write their own software functions which then run as low-level real-time applications directly on the control, or in non-real-time on external devices such as PCs or smart devices. Now machinery manufacturers can develop innovative functions themselves - even those that require enhanced core access. This will also allow them to protect their intellectual property.

Smart devices and native apps as application examples

The Open Core Interface supports Apple iOS and Google Android, which are currently the two major operating systems for smartphones and tablets. The high market penetration of smart devices combined with their innovative and comfortable operating concepts is generating a lot of interest with machinery manufacturers and operators. They are realizing that the future will bring new ways of making communication between humans and machines more user-friendly, flexible and intuitive. With the Open Core Interface, OEMs can develop application programs with Java as native apps, integrate smartphones seamlessly into the automation process, and support machine operators with new diagnostic and operating concepts. The native applications run entirely on the smartphone or tablet, so that the machine program remains untouched.

More efficient through integrated knowhow

Open Core Engineering combines these new degrees of freedom in software engineering with engineering efficiency from project planning to ongoing operations, which is what the market has been demanding. IndraWorks, which is part of the Open Core Engineering software tools, integrates all tools as well as Rexroth's industry and technology-specific knowledge.

The GAT (Generic Application Template), part of the Open Core Engineering function toolkit, automatically generates the executable machine program based on the developer's instructions, thereby laying the foundation for the development of modular machine programing. One more example is the Rexroth FlexProfile, another part of the function toolkit. It simplifies the execution of complex machine motion profiles by automatically adjusting all drive movements on the fly to a new motion profile in the production process.

The Open Core Engineering open standards offer a variety of industry and technology specifications that speed up the engineering as OEMs receive pre-made basic functions. Based on open standards such as Sercos, OPC-UA or PLCopen, Open Core Engineering also provides assurance for the future and protects the investments of machinery manufacturers and operators.

The Open Core Engineering initiative earned Bosch Rexroth the 2013 Hermes Award for Innovation . The award, which honors outstanding innovations pioneered by individual companies, was presented at the 2013 Hannover Fair by Johanna Wanka, Germany’s federal minister of education and research. "Industry is on the threshold to a fourth industrial revolution," Wanka said in her speech. "The Open Core Engineering project is an outstanding example of the potential of Industry 4.0 for innovative and efficient communication in the field of production." This is the first time that a software product has received this award.

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About Bosch Rexroth:

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation, and Renewable Energies to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, pneumatics, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 37,500 associates generated sales revenue of approximately 6.5 billion euros ($8.4 billion) in 2012.

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About Bosch:

In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket solutions, industrial drives and control technology, power tools, security and communication systems, packaging technology, thermotechnology, household appliances, solar energy, healthcare telemedicine and software solutions. Having established a regional presence in 1906, Bosch employs nearly 24,600 associates in more than 100 locations, with consolidated sales of $10.6 billion in fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit, and

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In fiscal 2012, its roughly 306,000 associates generated sales of $67.5 billion. Since the beginning of 2013, its operations have been divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some $6.1 billion for research and development in 2012, and applied for nearly 4,800 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is "Invented for life."

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