By

Colin Zauner

Remote Access to Allen Bradley Rockwell PLCs

A few common questions I get from customers: Does the C6 Router support Ethernet/IP, DH+? Can the C6 Router connect to my ControlLogix, MicroLogix, CompactLogix, etc.? Can I get remote access to Allen Bradley PLCs? The answer to these questions is yes! The C6 Router used in conjunction with Combivis Connect software can setup a secure end-to-end VPN connection to your Allen Bradley PLC’s.

 

 

This blog post will review the steps needed to establish remote access with a C6 industrial router to a Allen Bradley PLC and RSLogix software.

 

Step 1: Internet Access to Router

 

In order for Combivis Connect to setup a VPN connection, the C6 router must have internet access. The router acts as a VPN server and assigns the user PC an IP address within the VPN network ensuring a direct end-to-end connection using secure TCP/UDP ports and SSL/TLS protocol.

 

This can be accomplished two ways. Either by configuring the WAN interface or configuring the modem with a standard SIM card.

 

Remote access allen bradley WAN config allenbradleyconnect_modem

 

Step 2: Configure LAN Interface

 

Assign the LAN interface an IP address within the local PLC network. All Allen Bradley PLC’s using EtherNET/IP, DeviceNet, ControlNet, etc. belonging to the subnet of the LAN interface can be reached via the VPN tunnel.

allenbradleyconnect_lan

 

Step 3: Serial Port Configuration

 

Allen Bradley PLC’s using serial protocols such as DF1, DH+, or DH485 can also be remotely monitored and programmed. Combivis Connect uses a virtual serial adapter to map to the physical serial port of the C6 router. Select the correct port setting.

allenbradleyconnect_serial

remote-connect-rockwell-slc-500

The C6 Industrial Router supports remote connection to legacy PLC-5 and SLC 500 series PLCs as well

Step 4: Register Router to Domain

 

Before the C6 router can be connected, too, the router must be assigned to the domain of Combivis Connect. Assign the router a name, and apply the settings.

domain_registration

 

Step 5: Connect to C6 Router

 

 

Once the router has finished rebooting, the router can be connected to. Simply select the Connect button to establish a connection. Once the router is connected the all Allen Bradley PLC’s can be accessed via the VPN tunnel.

 

vpn_connect

 

Step 6: Remote Access with RSLogix

 

At this point RSLogix can go online with the PLC and program in desired Controller operating mode.

 

remoteconnect_allenbradley

 

 

 

Remotely accessing Allen Bradley PLC’s is easy and reliable using Combivis Connect and the C6 Router. There is no lengthy setup process or complicated communication driver setup to access your Allen Bradley PLC’s.

 

Are you interested in remotely accessing your Allen Bradley PLC’s with a C6 Router? Contact a KEB controls engineer today to discuss.

 

New Remote Maintenance Features: Combivis Connect

The latest release of Combivis Connect v8.0 brings new features to KEB’s remote maintenance platform. The purpose of this post is to share several new features and how each feature can bring value to a machine network with a C6 device running Combivis Connect.

 

User Password Strength

 

The IEC 62443 cyber security standards for systems on industrial networks specify complexity requirements for passwords. Domain administrators in Combivis Connect can enable the option “Require strong user password (IEC 62443-3-3)” so that user passwords comply with complexity criteria defined by the IEC 62443.

 

Remote maintenance with Combivis Connect: new password options

 

Automatic Runtime Updates

 

Technology is rapidly advancing in today’s automation world. KEB is constantly improving Combivis Connect with new features to improve user experience. To ensure each KEB C6 device is operating with the latest firmware, it is now possible to update the Combivis Connect runtime on remote C6 devices using the Combivis Connect Control Center software. This feature keeps devices updated with the latest firmware versions without interruption.

 

Remote maintenance with Combivis Connect: RTE updates

 

 

Manual VPN Configuration

 

VPN connections to the remote machine network setup by the Combivis Connect Control Center provide a virtual data-link connection with virtual Ethernet ports. Once a VPN connection is established the Combivis Connect runtime serves an IP address within the remote machine network to the virtual Ethernet adapter on your PC. This means any application running on your PC can connect to remote devices in the same way as if it were actually connected with a cable. By default the Combivis Connect runtime will automatically assign an IP address based on automation network it is on. In some cases IT departments require static IP assignment of all devices within the automation network.

 

The C6 Router VPN configuration section allows for the manual assignment of a specific single IP address or a range of IP addresses that will be assigned to the virtual Ethernet adapter once a VPN connection has been instantiated.

 

Remote maintenance with Combivis Connect: VPN updates

 

 

Export of Runtime Logs

 

IT departments expect complete visibility of all remote access activities carried out by remote users. It is now possible for IT administrators to pull connection logs from individual C6 Routers by inserting a USB stick with a pre-configured XML file. Once the router reads the XML file the connection log will be exported to the USB stick in CSV format. Connection logs include who was connected, what activities were carried out and for how long.

 

 

Remote maintenance with Combivis Connect: logging updates

 

Do you have specific questions on how KEB can help you with your remote maintenance project? Comment below send me an email at colin.zauner@kebamerica.com.

CANopen Lift Plugfest – developing standard protocols for elevators

Plugfest is an event hosted by CAN in Automation that brings together developers from around the world to test and improve the interoperability of CANopen devices. This week, two KEB America employees are traveling to Nuremburg for CANopen Lift Plugfest. The CANopen Lift profile (CiA417) is designed specifically for lift and elevator applications.

 

The following blog post is a recap of the profile and how it’s used with KEB elevator drives. Though it has yet to gain much popularity in North American applications, our engineers are very familiar with the protocol and are available to answer any questions you might have about how your lift application could benefit.

Background

Reliable and safe operation of elevator systems requires interoperability between many interconnected devices. Throughout all phases of the lifetime of the elevator system if any device malfunctions or fails to operate as intended the entire system is in jeopardy of a shutdown. This is especially true for modern elevator systems which are equipped with many networked electronic devices. Interoperability of each networked device becomes a challenge when devices exchange information using different communication protocols.

 

With this challenge in mind a technical group named “CANopen Special Interest Group Lift” within CAN in Automation was formed to define a standard communication protocol to be used by all networked devices in the elevator control system. Such devices may be variable frequency drives, car controllers, door controllers, input panels, display units etc. The application profile CiA 417 Lift control was defined as the open standardized protocol for communication for devices in a CANopen elevator system. CiA 417 is based upon the communication profile CANopen, which is commonly utilized in many industrial applications. The goal of creating a standard communication protocol is to create a vendor-neutral elevator system using plug-and-play components. This allows users the freedom to combine products from different producers without the worry of incompatibility issues. The benefits of creating a plug-and-play system include reduced cost and time in designing, installing, and maintaining the elevator system.

 

The product family COMBIVERT F5 with CANopen Lift (CiA 417) operator has been developed for use in elevator applications. The CANopen Lift operator was built upon an already proven elevator program which includes a wide range of specially designed features to reduce installation times and provide high performance ride quality without sacrificing safety.

 

For more information, see this video created by the CANopen Lift group (4:16 in length)

 

Standard Open Protocol

 

CiA 417 defines a standard communication protocol to be used by all devices on the communication bus for elevator systems. Each device will communicate using the same set of rules when transmitting information. This means that the transmission of information to all devices on the bus will follow a common format and meaning. In addition all information is transmitted and received using the same communication mechanism. CiA 417 defines all parameters, commands, and services used by the elevator system. The corner stone of CiA 417 is its unique object dictionary containing defined I/O settings, configuration settings, baud rates , specific device identifiers etc. Using this common “language” each device on the bus will understand all commands or status messages that are sent.

 

Furthermore, CAN bus systems allow information to be exchanged to all devices at the same time (Figure 1). Each device then individually determines the importance of each message and decides how it should react.  For example, if the elevator drive enters an error state, the drive would send out a corresponding error register and error description to all devices on the bus signaling an error. The state of the drive will be universally known to all devices for proper system correction. Accessing status information on all devices can help in reducing the time and cost spent on troubleshooting and resolving issues.

 

An additional specification that ensures reliable communication and fast error handling is the heartbeat protocol. The heartbeat is used to confirm connection and status of each device on the bus. Periodically each device will send out a short message on the bus indicating to every other device it is connected. If a device does not respond in a specific amount of time the master device can take a specific action to reset the device or trigger an error.

 

Distributed CAN network, CANopen Lift, Plugfest

Figure 1.

 

 

Virtual Terminal

CiA 417 allows the parameters from all devices to be accessed and adjusted regardless of physical location with any human machine interface. Remote access to any device is achieved through the virtual terminal. For example, the adjustment of a drive parameter may be very challenging if the elevator is machine room less (MRL) and the drive is mounted in the hoistway. This is simplified with the virtual terminal as it would be possible to adjust drive parameters directly from a car controller. The virtual terminal uses virtual keyboard codes (Figure 2) and screen characters using ASCII codes according to ISO 88915 standard (Figure 2) for device parameterization and configuration. Each HMI using the same codes and sequences can be used as the screen of a remote device. If a wireless device is connected to the bus it is also possible to remote connect using a smartphone and utilize it as an adjustment tool. The KEB operator interface includes the virtual terminal for universal access to all devices on the bus.

Commands for the virtual terminal to be used with CANopen Lift, Plugfest

Figure 2.

 

 

Hardware

CANopen is a higher level communication protocol built upon the CAN protocol. The underlying CAN protocol is the foundation of the networking hardware and defines the procedure of data transfer.

High Availability, Low Cost

 

CAN bus systems are utilized in many including industrial and automotive applications. The high demand of CAN controller chips creates a high supply of CAN chips from various chip manufacturers at a cost effective price.

Excellent Error Handling

 

Elevator control cabinets often contain many potential forms of electromagnetic interference or EMI. Troubleshooting EMI and corrupted data transfer can cause significant installation delays and come at a considerable financial loss. CAN controller chips have advanced error handling built-in. CAN hardware can detect bit errors and prevent transmitters and receivers from transmitting invalid messages before further data transfer. Error checking mechanisms include bit monitoring frame checking, acknowledgment checking, and error confinement among others.

 bit-timing

Figure 3.

 

 

KEB CANopen Lift Drives

 

KEB CANopen Lift drives take reliability and interoperability a step further by integrating advanced features and diagnostics in its elevator application software.

High Performance Control

The position controller in the drive can be used in conjunction with a CAN encoder to determine precise position and movement of the elevator car. This information can be used for direct-to-floor position control. Not only does this provide an optimized speed profile it also reduces the burden on the main controller CPU. The intensive task of calculating slowdown distances and determining deceleration or acceleration rates can be handled by the KEB drive for a smooth and precise approach to the floor with minimal leveling distance, as depicted below (Figure 4).

 

Final-Approach, speed

 

Figure 4.

CANopen Lift Inverters

The goal of this blog post is to help KEB customers and users understand the benefits of implementing KEB variable frequency drives with CANopen Lift (CiA 417) interface in elevator applications.This post will serve as an introduction to the benefits of using CANopen KEB elevator drives.

Background

Reliable and safe operation of elevator systems requires interoperability between many interconnected devices. Throughout all phases of the lifetime of the elevator system if any device malfunctions or fails to operate as intended the entire system is in jeopardy of a shutdown. This is especially true for modern elevator systems which are equipped with many networked electronic devices. Interoperability of each networked device becomes a challenge when devices exchange information using different communication protocols.

 

With this challenge in mind a technical group named “CANopen Special Interest Group Lift” within CAN in Automation was formed to define a standard communication protocol to be used by all networked devices in the elevator control system. Such devices may be variable frequency drives, car controllers, door controllers, input panels, display units etc. The application profile CiA 417 Lift control was defined as the open standardized protocol for communication for devices in a CANopen elevator system. CiA 417 is based upon the communication profile CANopen, which is commonly utilized in many industrial applications. The goal of creating a standard communication protocol is to create a vendor-neutral elevator system using plug-and-play components. This allows users the freedom to combine products from different producers without the worry of incompatibility issues. The benefits of creating a plug-and-play system include reduced cost and time in designing, installing, and maintaining the elevator system.

 

The product family COMBIVERT F5 with CANopen Lift (CiA 417) operator has been developed for use in elevator applications. The CANopen Lift operator was built upon an already proven elevator program which includes a wide range of specially designed features to reduce installation times and provide high performance ride quality without sacrificing safety.

 

For more information, see this video created by the CANopen Lift group (4:16 in length)

 

Standard Open Protocol

 

CiA 417 defines a standard communication protocol to be used by all devices on the communication bus for elevator systems. Each device will communicate using the same set of rules when transmitting information. This means that the transmission of information to all devices on the bus will follow a common format and meaning. In addition all information is transmitted and received using the same communication mechanism. CiA 417 defines all parameters, commands, and services used by the elevator system. The corner stone of CiA 417 is its unique object dictionary containing defined I/O settings, configuration settings, baud rates , specific device identifiers etc. Using this common “language” each device on the bus will understand all commands or status messages that are sent.

 

Furthermore, CAN bus systems allow information to be exchanged to all devices at the same time (Figure 1). Each device then individually determines the importance of each message and decides how it should react.  For example, if the elevator drive enters an error state, the drive would send out a corresponding error register and error description to all devices on the bus signaling an error. The state of the drive will be universally known to all devices for proper system correction. Accessing status information on all devices can help in reducing the time and cost spent on troubleshooting and resolving issues.

 

An additional specification that ensures reliable communication and fast error handling is the heartbeat protocol. The heartbeat is used to confirm connection and status of each device on the bus. Periodically each device will send out a short message on the bus indicating to every other device it is connected. If a device does not respond in a specific amount of time the master device can take a specific action to reset the device or trigger an error.

 

Distributed CAN network, CANopen Lift

Figure 1.

 

 

Virtual Terminal

CiA 417 allows the parameters from all devices to be accessed and adjusted regardless of physical location with any human machine interface. Remote access to any device is achieved through the virtual terminal. For example, the adjustment of a drive parameter may be very challenging if the elevator is machine room less (MRL) and the drive is mounted in the hoistway. This is simplified with the virtual terminal as it would be possible to adjust drive parameters directly from a car controller. The virtual terminal uses virtual keyboard codes (Figure 2) and screen characters using ASCII codes according to ISO 88915 standard (Figure 2) for device parameterization and configuration. Each HMI using the same codes and sequences can be used as the screen of a remote device. If a wireless device is connected to the bus it is also possible to remote connect using a smartphone and utilize it as an adjustment tool. The KEB operator interface includes the virtual terminal for universal access to all devices on the bus.

Commands for the virtual terminal to be used with CANopen Lift

Figure 2.

 

 

Hardware

CANopen is a higher level communication protocol built upon the CAN protocol. The underlying CAN protocol is the foundation of the networking hardware and defines the procedure of data transfer.

High Availability, Low Cost

 

CAN bus systems are utilized in many including industrial and automotive applications. The high demand of CAN controller chips creates a high supply of CAN chips from various chip manufacturers at a cost effective price.

Excellent Error Handling

 

Elevator control cabinets often contain many potential forms of electromagnetic interference or EMI. Troubleshooting EMI and corrupted data transfer can cause significant installation delays and come at a considerable financial loss. CAN controller chips have advanced error handling built-in. CAN hardware can detect bit errors and prevent transmitters and receivers from transmitting invalid messages before further data transfer. Error checking mechanisms include bit monitoring frame checking, acknowledgment checking, and error confinement among others.

 bit-timing

Figure 3.

 

 

KEB CANopen Lift Drives

 

KEB CANopen Lift drives take reliability and interoperability a step further by integrating advanced features and diagnostics in its elevator application software.

High Performance Control

The position controller in the drive can be used in conjunction with a CAN encoder to determine precise position and movement of the elevator car. This information can be used for direct-to-floor position control. Not only does this provide an optimized speed profile it also reduces the burden on the main controller CPU. The intensive task of calculating slowdown distances and determining deceleration or acceleration rates can be handled by the KEB drive for a smooth and precise approach to the floor with minimal leveling distance, as depicted below (Figure 4).

 

Final-Approach, speed

 

Figure 4.

KEB C6 HMI with Allen Bradley PLC

The KEB C6 HMI series is the ideal solution for customers looking to replace or retrofit their HMI. The C6 HMI can integrate directly with your current system because of many interfaces and communication drivers for PLC and drive communication (over 40+ communication drivers to support major protocols). It also offers direct tag sharing, integrated remote maintenance, and easy to use programming software to reduce costs of development.
This post will focus on how the C6 HMI can integrate directly with your current Allen Bradley PLC, and replace your Allen Bradley PanelView HMI or current HMI.

 

remote monitoring with Allen Bradley PLC

Protocol Support

 

Will the C6 HMI connect and communicate to the Allen Bradley PLC? Yes, to establish communication and support Allen-Bradley Ethernet and Serial protocols, KEB has developed specific EtherNET/IP and DF1 serial communication drivers.  All communication drivers can be easily configured during the HMI startup wizard and are free of charge. Below is a list of supported controllers:

 

EtherNET/IP Protocol

  • CompactLogix
  • Control Logix
  • MicroLogix
  • FlexLogix
  • PLC-5
  • SLC-500
  • Micro800

DF1 Serial Protocol

  • CompactLogix
  • ControlLogix
  • MicroLogix
  • Flex Logix
  • PLC-5
  • SLC-500

 

Many Interfaces

To communicate with your Allen Bradley PLC and entire machine network the C6 HMI is equipped with many interfaces including 2 x Ethernet Ports and 1 x Serial Interface (RS232/422/485). Also included is 2 x USB ports, and 1 x SD card slot for file saving and data collection.

 c6hmi_allenbradleyconnect

 

Tag Support and Easy Programming

Their is no need to rewrite PLC code or redesign an existing machine. KEB’s tag import functionality allows for seamless tag transferring. All your tags from your current PLC project can be imported into the KEB HMI software Combivis Studio HMI. Simply import your .L5K file into Combivis Studio HMI, and select the desired tags to import.

 

allenbradley_commdriver

 

Screen drawing and configuration is easy with drag and drop design methods as well as an extensive template library for reduced development time. Effective HMI’s designed to increase productivity and output are possible with built-in functions such as alarms, data loggers, recipe management, messaging (email, SMS), and networking. The HMI can support these powerful features with its fast ARM processor and 4GB of memory for project use.

 

Allen Bradley PLC Remote Connections

 

Each C6 HMI comes standard with remote maintenance functionality via Combivis Connect. Secure end-to-end VPN connections between a remote user PC and the Allen Bradley PLC or machine network is possible with every C6 HMI. After logging in to Combivis Connect on the user PC and connecting to the HMI, a virtual Ethernet adapter installed on the user PC by Combivis Connect receives an IP address within the machine network from the VPN server running on the HMI. At this point the PC becomes a true member of the remote machine network. This functionality allows for a direct end-to-end connection to your Allen Bradley PLC for programming, data collection, and maintenance from anywhere in the world.

 

Allen Bradley PLC remote connection with Combivis

 

The C6 HMI can replace your PanelView HMI or current HMI and integrate directly with an Allen Bradley PLC. The benefits of the C6 HMI include Allen Bradley protocol support, hardware compatibility , easy programming, and remote maintenance functionality for Allen Bradley PLC remote connections.

 

To hear more about KEB’s HMI products contact us today.

Remote Access to Allen Bradley PLCs

A few common questions I get from customers: Does the C6 Router support Ethernet/IP, DH+? Can the C6 Router connect to my ControlLogix, MicroLogix, CompactLogix, etc.? The answer to these questions is yes! The C6 Router used in conjunction with Combivis Connect software can setup a secure end-to-end VPN connection to your Allen Bradley PLC’s.

 

 

This blog post will review the steps needed to establish remote access with a C6 industrial router to a Allen Bradley PLC and RSLogix software.

 

Step 1: Internet Access to Router

 

In order for Combivis Connect to setup a VPN connection, the C6 router must have internet access. The router acts as a VPN server and assigns the user PC an IP address within the VPN network ensuring a direct end-to-end connection using secure TCP/UDP ports and SSL/TLS protocol.

 

This can be accomplished two ways. Either by configuring the WAN interface or configuring the modem with a standard SIM card.

 

Remote access allen bradley WAN config allenbradleyconnect_modem

 

Step 2: Configure LAN Interface

 

Assign the LAN interface an IP address within the local PLC network. All Allen Bradley PLC’s using EtherNET/IP, DeviceNet, ControlNet, etc. belonging to the subnet of the LAN interface can be reached via the VPN tunnel.

allenbradleyconnect_lan

 

Step 3: Serial Port Configuration

 

Allen Bradley PLC’s using serial protocols such as DF1, DH+, or DH485 can also be remotely monitored and programmed. Combivis Connect uses a virtual serial adapter to map to the physical serial port of the C6 router. Select the correct port setting.

allenbradleyconnect_serial

remote-connect-rockwell-slc-500

The C6 Industrial Router supports remote connection to legacy PLC-5 and SLC 500 series PLCs as well

Step 4: Register Router to Domain

 

Before the C6 router can be connected, too, the router must be assigned to the domain of Combivis Connect. Assign the router a name, and apply the settings.

domain_registration

 

Step 5: Connect to C6 Router

 

 

Once the router has finished rebooting, the router can be connected to. Simply select the Connect button to establish a connection. Once the router is connected the all Allen Bradley PLC’s can be accessed via the VPN tunnel.

 

vpn_connect

 

Step 6: Remote Access with RSLogix

 

At this point RSLogix can go online with the PLC and program in desired Controller operating mode.

 

remoteconnect_allenbradley

 

 

 

Remotely accessing Allen Bradley PLC’s is easy and reliable using Combivis Connect and the C6 Router. There is no lengthy setup process or complicated communication driver setup to access your Allen Bradley PLC’s.

 

Are you interested in remotely accessing your Allen Bradley PLC’s with a C6 Router? Contact a KEB controls engineer today to discuss.

 

High Performance Control with C6 SMART

Industrial automation applications require a controller with high functionality, connectivity, and flexibility to meet the demands of modern machines and systems. The C6 SMART is the smart solution for motion control applications. This article will review the advantages of the C6 SMART.

 

Compact Footprint

 

The C6 SMART is a din rail IPC with an impressively small footprint, designed with the user in mind. With a focus on reduced costs the SMART has a width of 47mm and depth of 124mm. Machine builders can expect to save space and installation costs.

C6 Smart dimensions

High Performance

 

While incredibly compact the C6 SMART is equipped with a powerful multi core ARM processor, capable of meeting the requirements of demanding synchronous motion control applications. To support the impressive processor performance, 8GB of memory is standard for storing PLC projects, and files.

 

Many Interfaces

 

The SMART offers a wide range of interfaces for fieldbus support , modular remote I/O connections, easy configuration, and HMI visualization. A list of interfaces includes:

 

  • EtherCAT Master
  • Internal EtherCAT I/O module bus (E-BUS port)
  • Serial Interface option
  • CAN option
  • Ethernet
  • USB
  • DVI-D

C6 Smart ebus

Remote Connectivity

 

Progressive machine maintenance is required today with the high cost of machine downtime. Users need the ability to remote access machines anywhere at any time. The C6 SMART can be remotely programmed or monitored with a secure end-to-end VPN connection utilizing the functionality of Combivis Connect.

 

Rugged and Reliable

 

Unfortunately, in industrial environments certain events happen that are out of user control. With this in mind the SMART includes innovative memory storage and micro UPS to save data and files even in the worst cases. To further reduce development costs for integrators and machine builders all of this functionality is standard with no special programming tasks or at additional cost.

C6 Smart features

 

 

Are you interested in evaluating the C6 SMART to see if it’s right for your machine? Contact a KEB controls engineer today to discuss.

 

 

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