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A secure router for Industry 4.0

05 May 2017

IEC62443 is the standard for “Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems” to assist in addressing the ever increasing question of online security with Industry 4.0.

The C6 Router

KEB’s C6 Router & COMBIVIS software have been independently tested and passed this standard with the certificate & data available on its website. 

First look at the C6 Router shows the body is only 138mm high, 116mm deep and either 35 or 45mm wide depending upon the model selected. All four models are made from rugged industrial grade materials – have a stainless steel enclosure that can be DIN rail or wall mounted and have no fans or moving parts. All model variants carry CE and cULus approvals, with an IP20 protection rating. Inside is an ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB project memory for free use and WEC7 Pro.

How can an Industrial Router add value to your product?

Fitting a device with this small footprint will enable customers to carry out remote maintenance and diagnostics. The router communicates to other devices in the machine such as embedded controllers, IPC’s, PLC’s or drives using its LAN or WAN Ethernet ports or through its serial port which supports RS232/422/485. With a wide library of drivers available, connection to most devices is straight forward. Custom solutions can also be accommodated if required.  

There are two ways to configure the C6 Router – either manually with the local network connection or by plugging a USB stick containing an exported configuration data file. The configuration of the C6 Router is straight forward using the wizard with step by step guidance with only a few parameters to set. The proven COMBIVIS connect software can then be used to connect the plant to be monitored to your workplace via a secure VPN with Worldwide support from multiple server locations. 

By enabling customers to create a networked automation system, the C6 Router facilitates remote monitoring and the diagnostic tools, so the machine control architecture can be accessed through the secure remote connection anywhere in the world using KEB’s secure global network. Whether this is from an area on the same site or from a technical support office on the other side of the world the machine can be accessed safely and securely. The connections are always controlled by the user, the KEB COMBIVIS Connect software simply facilities the secure connection. The customer retains control of their machines and can save time and money as well as offering their customer the peace of mind this technology provides.

If the machine is located where there is no Ethernet connection, or access to the customer’s own network is prohibited there is the option of cellular networking. Using the SIM card slot in the rear, a data only SIM card (mini) can be used to create the connection. The C6 Router supports 2G/3G/3G+ EDGE/HSPA Quadband Modem with up to 5.76Mbps upload/14.4Mbps download. This option means it can be used in inaccessible locations or where connections to the internal network is not cost effective, provided you can get a signal. This option is also ideal for temporary insulations, commissioning, mobile applications or where hard cabling is impractical. To help get the best signal there are four different aerial options – stick antenna, stick antenna with either a 3, 5 or 10m extension, stick antenna that is wall mounted and IP67 with a 3m extension or an IP67 outdoor antenna with 1m extension.

Suggestions of using products in remote areas normally flags up temperature range concerns. The C6 Router has a standard range of zero to 50°C but to help with ever increasing requests there is an option to have it with an extended temperature of -20°C up to 70°C.

There are four base configurations. First choice is either the Ethernet connected unit in the 35mm wide unit or Cellular via the SIM Card in the 45mm wide unit. With either of these there is the option to have the C6 Router with or without COMBIVIS studio HMI, providing an option with HMI Visualisation.

The HMI visualisation allows users to set up a “virtual” HMI which is seen when a user is connected to the router. This provides a configurable user-friendly graphical interface and with the password protection features can also provide multi-level access from basic monitoring to full access.

Enabling the data to be clearly displayed, understood and monitored improves the remote maintenance and diagnostics functions through clear visualisation. To give even greater assistance KEB have also included in the HMI software a data-logger and scope function. The data-logger can transfer the data e.g. in a .csv file making graphs and tables of the data very easy to produce and use. These tools have been successfully used to provide data sets from on board sensors, analysis of this data allowed for process characterisation and fault finding.

This is especially useful for round the clock monitoring and infrequent events or where the presence of personnel is not permitted during machine operation. Data acquisition can be set to suit customer requirements, allowing process parameters to be used for big data analysis. 
KEB have a free app – CV HMI mobile. When installed on a suitable tablet or smart phone and security access is given to connect to the C6 Router, the virtual HMI will be displayed on this device. Depending how it is set up and deployed, this option can be used by engineers or even for the machine user, giving greater flexibility and information from your machine.

The router with an enabled SIM card installed also has some other very useful features. Once set up the C6 Router has the capability to send SMS texts and emails. This has been used for maintenance alerts; preventative maintenance reminders; and warnings if temperature and vibration ranges have been increasing or exceed their limits. Additionally, if configured, the C6 Router can be enabled and disabled via text, so it only needs to be on when required.  

The C6 Router has been successfully used to remotely update firmware on drives and update programmes during development and commissioning work. When there are multiply machines in a plant and no network available the C6 Routers are an easy and cost effective solution to connect to them and transfer the data.

After just a few minutes of router configuration you have secure worldwide access to remote devices for maintenance and monitoring – irrespective of device and manufacturer.

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