Hydraulics meets automation

Hydraulics meets automation

Bosch Rexroth is creating new freedom in hydraulics: with the H4U (Hydraulics for You) software platform and the ctrlX Automation modular automation system. Whereas know-how on hydraulic control technology was essentially hardware-centric in the past, it is now available in apps. From now on, hydraulic functions can be used very easily with H4U - completely hardware-independent. ctrlX Automation is thus richer in hydraulic apps. The effects of the functions include higher energy efficiency. 

The mechanical engineering of the future is software-driven. Bosch Rexroth has therefore transferred the classic hardware-bound control functions of hydraulics into hardware-independent software modules. In this way, the company is also taking the path of making functionalities easily accessible and usable as apps in this area.

Hydraulic functions can be flexibly designed by H4U and directly integrated into existing automation environments - including ctrlX Automation. The H4U.apps run on the ctrlX Core compact controller, for example. Bosch Rexroth's modular automation system has been demonstrating the principle of app technology since 2019. As a consistently open ecosystem, it provides all hardware and software components for complete automation solutions and has the partner world ctrlX World, into which third-party providers can integrate their solutions.

Steffen Winkler, Sales Manager of the Automation & Electrification Solutions business unit at Bosch Rexroth, explains: "With its consistent hardware independence, H4U also follows the path taken by 
Bosch Rexroth's path towards openness. This is an important and logical step, because software and connectivity are the drivers for the smart factory."

"Bosch Rexroth is taking industrial hydraulics to the next level and transferring hardware-bound hydraulic functions into hardware-independent software modules. These thus integrate seamlessly into new and existing automation architectures," says Guido Hettwer, Executive Vice President of the Industrial Hydraulics Business Unit at Bosch Rexroth, and continues: "Hydraulic components already have a very high level of efficiency. However, there is still potential in the architecture and control technology of the hydraulic system, both for saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, as well as for increasing productivity. This is where our apps come into play."

Increasing productivity and sustainability in hydraulics

H4U takes the success factors of usability, sustainability and performance to a new level for machine and plant manufacturers as well as end users. Among other things, the solution provides functions that contribute to energy savings. One example is the hydraulic control of the pressure and volume flow (p/Q). In a press application with a multi-axis system, for example, an energy saving of 30 per cent was achieved. The degree of saving depends on the load cycle and application conditions. Hydraulic systems can be tuned for energy efficiency in advance. In addition, H4U enables increased flexibility, e.g. when converting production systems to meet changed customer requirements. Adaptation of the hardware in the automation environment is no longer necessary.

By implementing the apps on the existing control hardware, the costs and effort for additional training are eliminated for end users. In addition, machines and systems can be
In addition, the software modules can be used to simulate machines and systems as well as production processes throughout and, for example, to calculate the energy savings in advance. This saves time during engineering and commissioning.