Pluggable system solution for control cabinet-free automation: The MX-System


MBxxxx | Baseplates

MBxxxx | Baseplates

Scalable baseplates as the basis for automation without control cabinets.

MCxxxx | IPC modules

MCxxxx | IPC modules

Robust industrial PCs to control all automation applications.

MOxxxx | I/O modules

MOxxxx | I/O modules

Comprehensive selection of I/O modules for all signals of the automation world.

MDxxxx | Drive modules

MDxxxx | Drive modules

Compact multi-axis systems for drives of all types and power levels.

MRxxxx | Relay modules

MRxxxx | Relay modules

Versatile relay modules for safe switching of large powers.

MSxxxx | System modules

MSxxxx | System modules

Feeding and forwarding of data and voltages, power supplies and switches.

Redefining automation: Decentralized and control-cabinet free

Marvin Düsterhus, product manager, presents a control cabinet-free automation solution: The MX-System.
Marvin Düsterhus, product manager, presents a control cabinet-free automation solution: The MX-System.

The decentralized MX-System is the first to achieve completely control cabinet-free automation of machines and systems. To this end, Beckhoff has bundled over four decades of automation expertise into a modular system that performs all of the tasks and exhibits the properties of a classic control cabinet.


  • simplified engineering phase and reduction of machine footprint and cable paths
  • UL/CSA and IEC certified – the system can be used worldwide without adjustments
  • plug-and-play principle so that assembly and installation can be performed by non-specialist personnel
  • fast and clear system diagnostics during operation

Why choose the MX-System?

A system that withstands any environment

The MX-System offers a tailor-made solution for every application. The materials and workmanship of all components are designed for maximum durability. This allows the MX-System to be used directly on the machine or system, even in demanding environments. The MX-System is characterized by the following properties:

  • robust, chrome-plated, and varnished metal housing
  • resistant to oil and cleaning agents
  • IP67 protection thanks to the double sealing principle
  • EMC interference immunity due to metal housing
  • temperature-resistant between 0...50 °C

Big savings with standard connectors …

The standardized connectors completely replace the wiring that was required for the individual components. With the MX-System, there are no more wiring errors and no more hours of wiring work. Handling is unbelievably easy and all the connectors have been designed to provide IP20 contact protection, even when no modules and no covers have been mounted on the slots. The backplanes are literally and physically at the core of every baseplate in the MX-System

… and EtherCAT in every module

They provide electrical power as well as communication and diagnostic functions via standardized connectors. This means that each function module is automatically connected to EtherCAT when it is connected to the baseplate. EtherCAT is implemented in every module, and this enables hot swapping and real-time capability for the MX-System, as well as parameterization and diagnostics for each individual function module.

Fast assembly ...

The compact MX-System sets new standards in handling and drastically reduces assembly times. The function modules are plugged onto the standardized connectors on the baseplate and then screwed in place using the captive screws located in the modules. Wading through a time-consuming circuit diagram is a thing of the past; the connector system wires modules together.

… and even faster wiring

Wiring errors are prevented by the modular principle – this automatically leads to an increase in quality. The low number of components also reduces the number of assembly steps and the required assembly area. Storage and production areas, along with logistics processes, can be streamlined significantly. Overall, the MX-System provides a host of advantages compared to the usual machine life cycle.

As a stand-alone solution ...

The MX-System distributes EtherCAT and voltages for all systems. Various system modules are used to create flexible topologies that are precisely adapted to the application requirements. Combined, the modules provide voltages for different requirements and communication via EtherCAT. Standardized connectors and hybrid cables are used for connection.

… or for optimizing existing applications

The MX-System can be used as a stand-alone solution or seamlessly integrated into existing applications. The architecture is irrelevant: centralized with a control cabinet or in combination with decentralized devices, anything goes. If production requirements change, operators and machine builders have flexible options with the MX-System, from expanding with individual modules or entire stations to replacing the existing technology.

  Control cabinet MX-System
Dimensions 800 mm × 1600 mm × 400 mm 800 mm × 240 mm × 230 mm
Weight 110 kg 36 kg
Components 146 15
Circuit diagram content 100 pages 25 pages
Personnel expenses 5 electricians 1 non-specialist
Assembly and test time 28 h 1 h
Toolboxes required 17 1
Required cooling capacity 470 W
EtherCAT integration 50% 100%

Advantages over the entire life cycle

Paula Göbel, product manager, presents the system benefits of the MX-System.
Paula Göbel, product manager, presents the system benefits of the MX-System.

1. Engineering

The cohesive product portfolio allows the electrics of machines and systems to be designed according to modular principles. Since significantly fewer components are needed to implement the same requirements than in traditional control cabinet design, the entire MX-System is more compact. Decentralized control concepts become feasible. Users are provided with a solution for UL, CSA, and IEC that integrates functions such as safety, diagnostics and electronic fuse protection directly into the function modules.

2. System set-up

In contrast to the classic control cabinet, neither housing nor manual wiring are required. The standardized interfaces of the MX-System are designed according to the effortless plug-and-play principle; all function modules can be easily plugged onto the baseplate. The installation time for a classic control cabinet can be drastically reduced with the MX-System. Installation can be carried out in-house by non-electricians, eliminating the need for external cabinet assembly and associated logistics. Errors in the wiring of the control cabinet are excluded.

3. Electrical installation on the machine

The compact MX-System can be integrated directly into the machine installation space, thus reducing the machine footprint and shortening cable routes to the process level. Users benefit from fast plug-and-play installation of all cables, which prevents installation errors and speeds up commissioning. Hybrid technology can save on cables. Electrical installation work can be carried out by qualified mechanics as part of the mechanical installation; qualified electricians are not required for the installation work. The space required for electrical components and cables is significantly reduced.

4. Service, repair, and maintenance

The fully integrated, non-intrusive EtherCAT components enable comprehensive system diagnostics at any time. This can be performed by non-electricians – no need to open a control cabinet. Fault localization for the module, cable or device is simplified. The modular system and the simple plug-and-play principle also enable defective modules to be replaced quickly and easily during operation, even by non-specialist personnel. This offers an enormous time advantage, especially for the end user/machine operator.