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Machine safety system is ‘the fastest and smallest’

29 October, 2020

Bosch Rexroth has announced a machine safety control technology which, it claims, is the fastest and smallest on the market. The scalable ctrlX Safety system can be used in variety of ways, from drive-integrated SafeMotion in Rexroth’s ctrlX drives, to the complete safety controls. The company predicts that it will “set new standards for safe automation”.

The system is based on two components – SafeMotion and SafeLogic – that can be used independently, or together to form a complete system. An intuitive graphical interface allows programs to be created quickly and easily, without extensive training. This, combined with documentation-supported user guidance and ready-made dialogues for acquiring relevant information, is said to allow much faster engineering than with conventional systems.

For more demanding applications, the hardware can be extended by adding I/O modules via a safe fieldbus. The system supports flexible interfaces such as digital I/O, ctrlX Safetylink and Safety over EtherCat (FSoE). Support for Profisafe is planned. The exchange of safe I/O signals between the safety controller and SafeMotion on a ctrlX drive is performed via ctrlX Safetylink.

SafeMotion is based on Rexroth’s modular ctrlX Drive technology and has scalable software. It is available as an entry-level version, or with extended functions. “SafeMotion brings safety functions exactly where the motion occurs: to the drive. It is therefore unmatched in speed,” explains Steffen Winkler, vice-president of sales in Rexroth’s Automation & Electrification Solutions business. “At the same time, this system allows a purely drive-based safety solution to be implemented completely independently of the higher-level control system.

“As a complete solution,” he adds, “SafeMotion and SafeLogic communicate via our ctrlX Safetylink. With it, a 5–10 times faster reaction than with safety-oriented protocols via classic fieldbuses is possible. Together with local I/Os, the shortest processing times of 1ms in the FastChannel task contribute to this. These features form the basis for highest protection and the compact design of safety devices.”

Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX Safety platform promises high levels of safety thanks to its fast reaction times, and efficient engineering through graphical programming

Rexroth says that the safety system will allow machines to be integrated into the smallest installation spaces, while the certified safety technology will improve machine acceptance efficiency. Once a safety configuration has been planned, it can be integrated into different machine concepts without complex adaptation. Because it supports the most common safe fieldbus protocols, ctrlX Safety can be integrated into almost any automation system, and modular safety strategies with safe cross-communication can be achieved.

“The user thus receives a solution tailored to his individual safety requirements with maximum flexibility and safety,” Winkler suggests. “The use of open standards and safe connectivity at all levels, and the fast and versatile selection of safety functions complies with the principle of our open, integrated automation platform ctrlX Automation. ctrlX Safety enhances this established platform as a trend-setting safety system.”

Bosch Rexroth launched its ctrlX Automation platform based on an open software architecture at the end of 2019. The EtherCat-based platform, which integrates IoT, security and safety functions, has since been adopted by more than 200 users around the world. Rexroth has also added various services, such as the ctrlX App Store, the ctrlX Automation Community, a new ctrlX I/O program, as well as ctrlX Safety. The company is also working with partners – including Schunk, Wittenstein and Forcam – which are enhancing the platform with their own software and/or hardware, and are integrating parts of the platform into their own systems, as well as providing software services for users. 

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