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ST 003-13 2013-02-19

Machinery Manufacturers at the Controls

Dr. Karl Tragl

Dr. Karl Tragl

Dr. Karl Tragl, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG

The technological shift in machinery and plant engineering is steadily gaining momentum. This trend is driven to a large part by the fact that production processes are becoming increasingly networked. Until now, the direction and the speed of the shift were dictated mainly by IT experts and end users. However, considering the unique concentration of process and engineering know-how at machinery manufacturers, it would be unwise not to put them at the controls.

Many of the ideas machinery manufacturers have generated from their vast and diverse engineering experience could not be realized so far. This is essentially due to three obstacles: First, there was a gap in the respective programming languages used in the automation world and the IT world. Second, automation suppliers did not allow them access to the control core. And third, for a long time, the machine engineering market was somewhat reluctant to break out of the established thinking patterns and move in new, networked directions.

Bosch Rexroth, on the other hand, has always been a champion of consistently open controls and strives for complete openness: Open Core Engineering offers machinery manufacturers entirely new degrees of freedom by enabling them to incorporate their own know-how and innovative ideas in the software. Exchanging data between intelligent systems is more and more about integrating new IT technologies and higher-order systems into the machines. Machinery manufacturers are now able to do just that very easily and entirely with their own resources. With the new Open Core Engineering interface, engineers and software developers are now able to write machine functions that access the control core using virtually any high-level language in the IT world. There is currently no other control system that makes this possible. Open Core Engineering allows machine builders to use software or apps to implement new functions, and to seamlessly integrate new devices such as smartphones or tablets. As a result, they stand out from the competition with innovative ideas.

In our opinion, however, Integrated Industry requires more than open interfaces and access to the control core. It is at least equally important that end users, machinery manufacturers and automation suppliers share their knowledge in order to jointly forge new paths. Bosch Rexroth, for one, is always ready to question even things that seemingly cannot be changed. In

development partnerships with machinery manufacturers, our industry and technology experts contribute their worldwide application expertise and promote the exchange between different industry sectors, with software and its integration with external systems playing an increasingly important role.

If machinery manufacturers now take advantage of these open automation technologies and seek out an intensive exchange of knowledge with automation suppliers, they can use their own innovative ideas to turn the trend toward Integrated Industry into their own success story.

 

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