KEB Technology

The role of the IT professional in Industry 4.0

The role of the IT professional in Industry 4.0Building and maintaining an automated industrial process is changing. Improved networking capabilities is bringing a wave of businesses into Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. So much so, that younger professionals have come to expect the ability to monitor their installations remotely from their desk, smartphone, or tablet, and companies like KEB are building a new generation of products that speaks to this need. When a product comes with a choice of communication interfaces, wireless or wired, WAN, LAN, and serial, the most informed consumer will be the one who knows the communication network inside and out.


In most installations, setting up network connectivity falls to a department that previously wouldn’t have been involved in purchasing decisions for the factory floor – the IT department. Recent surveys among integrators that have begin setting up IIoT-ready automation processes have indicated that nearly a quarter of all purchase decisions for these installations will involve IT, and in many cases these purchases will be a line item in the IT budget. Though a product may be used by the engineers, KEB recognizes every department within a company will have different business goals, different bottom lines. In IIoT, there’s an intersection of interests between engineers and IT so the products offered need to serve both of these.


In a previous post, I went over how data-gathering techniques that are a part of IIoT devices can be used to improve the productivity of an installation. KEB drives, like the F5 Inverter, have the ability to send data to devices with logging capabilities. Being a part of industry 4.0 is building a system in which this communication takes place as part of the IT department’s new role in factory automation. KEB’s products are able to speak to each other using one of more than a dozen communication protocols. Additionally, our C6 VPN Router can be integrated wirelessly, or using a wired network. By using KEB products an integrator will give their IT department maximum flexibility for designing the communication network.


Watch the video

It’s more common, however, for our customers to be updating their existing installations rather than starting from the ground up. Many of KEB’s products are designed for a long product and support lifetime. The F4 series of drives, for example, was produced for over twenty years before we updated to the F5 which has now been going strong for fifteen years. We hope that all of our products will see many years of use in a customer’s installation, so we endeavor to make our new products easy to integrate into existing systems. Even third party products can work well with KEB’s IIoT-ready devices. Are you using an Allen Bradley PLC? We can work with that. This feature – the ease of integration – is what we feel makes our IIoT products truly IT-friendly.


When it comes to industry 4.0 and the IT department’s role in a company, we know they have loads of responsibilities on their plate. Adding into this the necessity of installing and maintaining the factory floor’s communication network shouldn’t be a roadblock to the newest technology and the future of machine automation. Give us a call, or send us an email and we’ll help you make your IT professional’s job easier.


Non-proprietary Elevator Controllers & Drives – KEB Machine Room Vids #02


The second video in our series of Machine Room visits. In this episode, we discuss non-proprietary elevator controllers and the advantage of using KEB elevator drives.


Advantages include: all needed tools for adjustment, documentation to aid support, designed for long product lifecycle, etc.


Check out the first video in the series on our YouTube channel.


View full transcript

So non-proprietary controllers are controllers that have been designed to be maintained and serviced by any number of parties. They’re not closed or restricted as far as the information and who can service them.


So today we’re at an application, this is an MCE controller, an I Control. MCE is one company that provides non-proprietary controllers. So this is the KEB elevator drive and R6 line regen unit. Everything ships with the drive that’s needed to service it, install it, maintain it. All the adjustments can be done right on the drive itself so there’s no proprietary cables or dongles. The keypad is central so through the keypad all the adjustments that are needed can be made. Additionally, diagnostics can be reached there without any sort of additional tool.


If you want you can connect to our software. The software is free and it’s available for download on our website.


A second distinction to make is in the hardware itself. This is not special hardware, it’s based on standard industrial drive hardware that KEB uses in other applications worldwide. The F5 series is built on standard industrial drive platform for KEB, which means that it’s been designed for a long product lifetime. KEB shoots for twenty years in the product lifetime. The F4 series which we just discontinued was over twenty years. The F5 series is going on fifteen years and still has a long life. So that’s definitely one important consideration – is the product going to be available and maintainable, not just today but in the future?


One other important distinction as far as documentation and support. Some systems can be pretty closed as far as who has access to the information – what different parameters do, different things like that. By philosophy KEB is very open, so every drive would ship with a manual basically that has this information. It’s not closed information that’s just available to KEB employees or anything like that so it helps in cases where the job might change hands or somebody else might be servicing the elevator than originally installed it.


So if you have any questions about KEB’s integration into non-proprietary elevator controllers you can contact us here or give us a call. Thanks.


High temperature industrial router for outdoor datalogging and communication

Here at KEB, summertime is great for picnics, bike rides, or a cool dip in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 beautiful lakes. Unfortunately, finding relief from the heat of the summer air isn’t as easy for many industrial installations. A high temperature router is important to maintaining consistent datalogging and communication in installations that may lack cooling or air conditioning. In this post we’ll highlight the extended temperature range and optional communication options of our C6 Industrial VPN Router.


The largest benefit our customers see from creating a networked automation system is that it can save time and money when it comes to maintenance and monitoring. When something goes wrong with a machine it can be looked into from a remote connection anywhere in the world using KEB’s secure global network.


C6 Router for Remote Connection


The standard router is a great tool for monitoring many types of installations, but we know some of our customers work in environments that lack climate control or Ethernet networking. Wastewater, oil and gas, wind turbines, and many other types of outdoor installations can benefit from communication options that can be used on any cellular network, as well as an extended operating temperature range.


For applications in environments prone to extreme temperatures – like a cabinet without air conditioning in the Arizona desert – the router comes in an extended temperature version. With the extended range, the router can safely be used in temperatures as low as -20°C and up to 70°C. This option is available for all four models of our router.


The M1 and M2 models come with one push-pin type SIM card and a SMAStecker antenna. An auxiliary Diversity antenna is optionally available as well. The antenna can be directly mounted to the device, connected via extension cable or extension cable with wall mount, or the router can be connected with an outdoor antenna.

Industrial router antenna


Every C6 router is made from rugged industrial-grade materials. It has a stainless steel enclosure that can be DIN rail or wall mounted, and has no fans or moving parts. They carry CE and cULus approvals and an IP20 protection rating. Communication to other devices is set up using the WAN or LAN Ethernet ports. The standard router will operate in temperatures ranging from 0° to 50°C.


If your application can benefit from the extended temperature range or cellular communication options for our C6 Router please contact us today and we’ll get you set up with a risk-free trial.

EtherCAT Stepper | BLDC Module – KEB America


KEB’s EtherCAT Stepper BLDC Module is the newest addition to the KEB IO family. This compact module brings stepper and brushless DC motor control to the DIN rail.


It is rated for 5 Amps nominal and up to 15 Amps peak. It is UL listed to 42 VDC. Inputs are available for limit switches and encoder feedback. Additionally, a brake output is available. Units are programmed according to the CiA DS402 motion profiles


Read the full transcript

KEB’s EtherCAT stepper module is used to operate both brushless DC and stepper motors.


This compact module measures only 25mm wide and easily expands onto other C6 I/O products.  It is capable of 5 amps nominal current and can reach up to 15 amps peak for brushless DC motors.


For motors with a brake, the module can handle the brake control and a half amp output is available for powering the brake.


The stepper module can run motors ranging from 12 to 72 Volts DC and is UL listed up to 42Volts DC.


The unit uses the CiA DS402 motion control profiles so standard homing, velocity and Torque Modes are possible.  Positioning modes are also possible when using the encoder and hall effect sensor inputs.


Additional programmable I/O is available for wiring limit switches and other required sensors.

Safe Torque Off and Safe Brake Control in the S6-A Servo Drive

KEB has a wide array of functional safety products, making it an industry leader in safety for motion control applications. One of these products is the S6 Servo Drive, which was introduced in a previous post.  This post will go into detail on Module 1 of the more flexible S6-A control version.



S6-A Module 1

The S6-A is the ideal fit for applications with more robust communication and safety requirements. Module 1 of the S6-A comes standard with Safe Torque Off (STO) and Safe Brake Control (SBC).  These two safety functions allow for the safe control of both the motor shaft and brake.  These two functions are rated to SIL3 for the IEC 61508 standard and to Performance Level e according to the ISO 13849 standard.  Additionally, these functions have been certified by TÜV Rheinland in a 3rd party safety audit.

Safe Torque Off

Safe Torque Off (STO) is an integrated safety function that prevents the drive from applying torque to the motor shaft and can be used for a category 0 stop according to EN 60204-1.

Safe Torque Off (STO) IEC 61800-5-2

IEC 61800-5-2 Safe Torque Off (STO)

How does STO work?

The S6 drive has two independent 24V STO inputs. Both of these inputs are required in order for the drive to apply torque to the motor shaft.  If either of the inputs drop during operation, the drive goes into stop category 0.  This is an uncontrolled stop, where the drive ceases output to the motor and the motor is allowed to coast to a stop.


The two inputs each control 3 of the 6 output IGBTs and this redundancy reduces the common-mode error.  The probability both inputs fail is very low, 2.3×10-7 according to the IEC 61508 standard.  In this rare case, a DC voltage (non-rotating) will be applied to the motor.  This may cause the motor to jump to the next pole pair.  The rotation angle of this jump can be calculated based on the number of pole pairs and gear ratio.  During the safety evaluation, this rotational jerk must be considered.  However, based on the low probability, the risk is typically acceptable.


In addition to the safety functionality from the redundant safety inputs, the STO inputs are designed so that safety switchgear units with test pulses can be used. These units use Output Signal Switching Device (OSSD) signals to send 24V offset pulsed signals – like a heartbeat.    These OSSD signals allow the drive to detect if the signal wires are miswired, damaged or shorted.


What are the benefits of STO?

STO is a relatively safe way to ensure there is no torque at the motor shaft during an E-stop or other unwanted situations. The redundant dual inputs ensure the drive does not output to the motor if a single contactor fails to open during an E-Stop.  Alternatively, they ensure the drive does not accidently start the motor if a single contactor gets stuck closed.


Depending on the risk analysis, it is possible that STO can replace a power contactor.  Power contactors (especially large ones) can be expensive, take up panel space, and require additional wiring.  Contactors are wear components that must be replaced in time.  Put together, STO in the S6 can potentially offer lower cost, a smaller footprint, and better reliability.


Finally, the drive can go into the “Safe-Torque Off” state without removing the full incoming power to the drive.  This allows the KEB drive to be enabled much more quickly than powering down the drive, waiting for the capacitors to discharge, and then charging the unit back up.  This is ideal for applications that need to repeatedly start and stop quickly while safely preventing shaft rotation.


Safe Brake Control

The Safe Brake Control in the S6 is designed to safely control an external power-off brake.  This function is typically used to control the motor holding brake.


How does SBC work?

IEC 61508 Safe Brake Control (SBC)

Along with the STO inputs, the S6 safety module terminal strip has dual control inputs for the SBC. The brake is then controlled via the integrated 24V (2A) power supply within the drive.


In order for the output to be active, both inputs must be supplied. The two input channels are realized with a diverse high-side and low-side switch.  These two input channels are tested on their switching ability every hour to ensure they are working properly.  In addition to the testing of the inputs, the 24V output is short-circuit proof and is actively monitored.  If the voltage is outside of 24V±10%, or if the output is not switching properly, the control is disconnected and the drive will enter a fault state.


What are the benefits of SBC?

SBC is an easy and safe way to control a 24 motor brake.  Integrated into the S6 drive, it allows for the elimination of a safety relay which would traditionally control the brake.   Additionally, because the 24V brake power supply is integrated into the drive, the tradational safe power supply can be replaced.  This minimizes components, simplifies wiring, and saves money.


The Safe Torque Off and Safe Brake Control functions integrated into Module 1 of the S6-A drive make it the industry leader for servo applications requiring funcational safety.  Contact an Application Engineer at KEB America today to see if the S6-A is the right fit for you.

Estimate ROI with our elevator regen calculator

Could your elevator save money using KEB America’s R6 line regen? Use our online calculator to estimate ROI and savings. The tool, which is free to use, provides an estimate of annual energy savings when using a KEB regenerative unit and a breakeven analysis for the investment.


At various times during a traction elevator’s operation, energy is both delivered to and returned from the elevator system.  An R6 unit allows regenerated energy to be returned to the utility line instead of being dissipated as heat across a braking resistor grid.


“KEB’s R6 elevator regen drive has proven to be a very economical option to capture regen savings” says KEB America sales manager, Jonathan Bullick.  “In some cases, the payback period is only a year or two.  However, the amount of savings and the payback period can vary greatly depending on the usage, elevator capacity and type of elevator technology being used.  This calculator is a tool managers can use to justify the regen investment and determine prime regen candidates.”


The calculator and cost analysis tool was developed through the years by KEB elevator engineers.  It allows a user to enter basic elevator, usage, and investment parameters and approximates the regen savings one could expect.  When we launched our blog, we decided to publish the tool online so anyone interested in checking the numbers for themselves.


The calculator can be found at  Additional questions can be directed to, or you can use our contact form.






Download a sample report



Conveyor Motor Testing – Using KEB’s SCL control for PM Servo Motors


This video shows our S6 servo drive operating a conveyor motor. We are using our SCL™ (Sensorless Closed Loop) motor control technology.


SCL provides accurate position, speed, and torque control of a permanent magnet servo motor without the use of a traditional feedback device (encoder or resolver). The testing was done at KEB America’s R&D lab outside Minneapolis, MN.


Full transcript

Welcome to the R&D facility here at KEB America. In addition to the in-house testing we can do for product development, we can also offer motor testing for customers. In this case we’ve been working on S6 motor testing with a conveyor motor. Just want to give you a quick introduction of what we’ve been doing.


So you can see over here’s the conveyor motor. You’ll notice here there’s the power cables coming out, but there’s no encoder cables. That’s because with the S6 we’re able to do the Sensorless Closed Loop or what we call SCL. That allows us to do the precise speed and torque control of closed loop without actually needing the encoder feedback.


So you can see the motor cables coming back over here and then the S6 drive. Looks a little empty because it’s a relatively simple test setup. But you can notice how the S6 with its slim profile doesn’t take up much space in the cabinet. Up here you have the power cables coming from the main line into the motor. Right here is your connector to go back to the computer to get set up with the software. And then you have all the input and output terminals. There’s a lot of digital and analog inputs on the S6 drive. This breakout board you can see here allows us to easily trigger those on and off using a test setup we have.


So then as you follow the cables back here you can see our COMBIVIS 6 software. That’s what we use to get the motor and drive started up. With the S6 drive and the other generation 6 products there’s a lot of wizards offered that allows you to quickly and easily get set up.


There’s the scope functionality which allows you to add up to 16 parameters in the drive and track them as you go through the operation. So you can see for instance the output current to the motor or the voltage as you’re starting, stopping, accelerating, etc. So in this application, like I said, we’re using our S6 drive to run a conveyor motor. This is a great fit for the S6 because of its high overloads. It has up to 200% overload so when the conveyor, when you’re starting and stopping so quickly, in this case you’re going up to 3000 rpm in 0.1 seconds, so that high overload is required. And then the S6 also has that SCL that I mentioned earlier. That allows for precise speed and torque and positioning control without requiring the encoder feedback. So that saves you both the cost of the encoder and the cabling. And then also, in harsh environments it allows you to eliminate the encoder if it’s in a cold storage facility, or if you’re worried about electrical noise interfering with the encoder feedback.


So that’s just kind of a general overview of the system we have here. This is a great application fit for the S6 with this conveyor motor. This drive and motor testing is just one of the additional benefits we have to offer here at KEB America.

1 2 3 8
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match