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Programmable logic control in manufacturing

Jonathan Bullick | October 5th, 2016

Last month we had the opportunity to share our newest products with machine tool manufacturers at IMTS in Chicago. Meeting manufacturers and other engineers in the industry was a great experience for the whole KEB team. The latest trends in industrial engineering were on full display, particularly in the area of networking and Industry 4.0. With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), networked automation is becoming increasingly important.


KEB has been working on new products designed with IIoT in mind and we were very excited to share some of our newest PLCs and IPCs at the show. Connectivity is a key part of modern manufacturing. KEB’s main product for integrating connectivity is the C6 Router. Our router was designed to be integrated in many types of existing application setups. It can be paired with most third-party PLCs in addition to the ones produced by KEB, such as the C6 Smart and the HMI LC. A benefit of using KEB products for logic control is that they come with a Combivis Connect license for remote connection, so there is no additional license to purchase. You can read more about our C6 Router here. In this post, we’ll be reviewing the features and functions of our C6 Smart for embedded control and the C6 HMI LC.


C6 Smart for logic control


This year KEB released our new C6 Smart. The Smart is compact, IT-friendly, and packed with features that make it stand out in a market of embedded control products. In addition to Combivis Connect for connectivity, it comes standard with an integrated communication bus for I/O blocks so a separate coupler module is no longer needed. There are optional CAN or serial inputs that can be added to the front of the device. The Smart comes with lots of memory standard so you won’t need to worry about adding more storage. It’s easy to program and update – the system image can be stored on a USB stick. All you need to do to update the Smart is connect the USB. The Quad Core version of the Smart also supports visualization with an integrated DVI output, so you can connect any monitor you’d like. All of this is designed to give top tier performance backed by an ARM9 processor.


SmartThe Smart was designed for use in industrial environments: no fans or moving parts to replace, a wide temperature range, and wide acceptable voltage range for the power supply. It has a compact form – just 47mm in width – and is DIN rail mounted. There’s an EtherCAT master side port for connecting remote I/O modules, and all of the connection points are on the front – nothing sticks out above or below. The EtherCAT master ensures you get real-time performance from the Smart and connected I/O. We’ve also included a micro-UPS, as standard, to save non-volatile data in case of a power outage. The C6 Smart has an IP20 environmental rating.


The C6 Smart works wonderfully as a logic controller, but it’s at its best when handling a machine’s coordinated motion control. It includes an extensive library of PLCopen® and KEB-specific function blocks that can support functionality like electronic gearing, CAM profiles, and relative/absolute/superimposed moves.


In some installations the full feature set of an IPC plus I/O and other accessories isn’t necessary. For basic applications requireing some logic control and visualization the C6 HMI LC provides excellent value. At IMTS I was able to talk to one of our sales engineers about the HMI LC.




If you missed us at IMTS and want to discuss KEB solutions for manufacturing automation, please contact us today or follow us on social media for more information about our products.

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