ctrlX Automation leverages Ubuntu Core, designed for embedded devices, and snaps, the universal Linux application containers, to deliver an open source platform to remove the barriers between machine control, operation technology and information technology, or OT-IT.
Industrial manufacturing solutions built on ctrlX Automation with Ubuntu Core and snaps will benefit from an open ecosystem, faster time to production and stronger security across devices’ lifecycle.
Through the use of an open architecture, industrial machine manufacturers selecting ctrlX Automation are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware.
PLCs, programmable logic controllers, are a special type of computer used in connection with automated machines, such as robots.
Ubuntu Core is the minimal, transactional version of Ubuntu specifically designed for IoT, and snaps is the universal Linux application containers,
With Ubuntu Core and snaps, the ctrlX Automation platform enables developers to use a modern CI/CD and DevSecOps approach to deliver applications on edge devices in a traditional OT environment.
Dr Holger Schnabel, product owner ctrlX Core, Bosch Rexroth, says: “With the support of Ubuntu Core, ctrlX Automation can combine the worlds of automation and IoT in an open, modular and secure way to build a future proofed and innovative automation platform.”
Ubuntu Core enhances security with strict application confinement. ctrlX Automation apps run with all dependencies in its snaps for increased isolation.
The risk of security vulnerabilities is minimised as the software files packaged in snaps are unalterable.
Machine manufacturers deploying apps benefit from automated updates for security fixes and patches for the lifetime of the device, without the need for engineers to intervene.
With Ubuntu Core and snaps, software updates roll back to the last known working version to increase uptime and reliability on the factory floor.
Loïc Minier, global director, IoT devices field engineering at Canonical, says: “Bosch Rexroth has embraced an open source approach to industrial automation enabling machine manufacturers to build a scalable and customisable platform.
“ctrlX Automation provides a software driven approach enabling users to extend functionality and implement their own apps.
“The advanced interfaces offered by ctrlX Automation, combined with the openness and flexibility of Ubuntu Core will open a new era of innovation in industrial automation.”
Traditionally, developers were restricted to specialist programming languages like IEC 61131, or G-Code in an industrial setting.
With Ubuntu Core and snaps, developers using the ctrlX Automation platform have the freedom to use either conventional programming languages or modern alternatives.