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Motion control to automation solution: How KEB is Automation with Drive

Author : Mark Checkley is the Sales and Marketing Manager for KEB UK Ltd

18 December 2017

KEB’s humble beginnings started with high quality, reliable electromagnetic brakes and clutches to give basic motion control. This is still a strong part of the business and alongside the industrial range there is a separate automotive division, supplying into major manufacturers.

KEB’s move into VSD’s in the 80’s took its motion control solutions to a new level and expanded again when Regen units were introduced. KEB’s key is always processor optimisation, driven by flexibly adjustable speeds, torques and/or precise positioning enabling it to meet the many demanding applications industrial automation requires.

Through cooperative partnership KEB’s aim is to find the right solution and through its programme of constant improvement and development has led to today’s Generation 6 range of products. The complete portfolio, but especially the drives range, is designed to meet & surpass current requirements & demand of industrial automation applications. 

The range

KEB understands that customers’ require drives to be reliable, efficient, low maintenance and economical. 

The current product range covers the requirement for a range of single-axle drives and a series for multi-axle drives with DC intermediate circuit linkage, as well as Regenerative system and AFE’s. 

KEB’s drives cover both open and closed loop and by using their Sensorless closed loop features – ASCL & SCL (see September 2016 DPA article for more details) customers are able to achieve closed loop speed and position control without the need of traditional feedback devices, saving on the feedback device, cable(s), installation and maintenance associated with them – all achieved without the need for any special cables. All drives are also capable of running a variety of types of motors including ASM, SM, IPM and SRM.

The range includes servo controllers for precise speed, torque and position control, in dynamic response applications which have a higher current overload capability in a slim book style footprint.

Majority of drives have dual multi-function encoder inputs ensuring compatibility, if required, with most feedback devices including Resolver, Endat, Hiperface, BISS, SSI, Incremental TTL/HTL, should be required. 


The development of drives to Regen Units was a logical one for KEB and the range now covers 11 … 1,000kVA. It is a sensible solution enabling the customer to feed the generator-based braking energy in temporary and continuous processes back into the mains power supply thereby reducing the operating costs in an environmentally friendly way, but also drastically reducing the payback time of a system with a continued saving afterwards. 


With passive components from KEB’s COMBILINE range, which it designs & manufacture, not only help with EMC compatibility but will dampen external influences or backlashes in system reactions, thereby protecting the windings of high frequency motors against premature ageing or the mains power supplies from the impact of harmonics. This can increase the life of components. The range includes Mains chokes; output Chokes; Harmonic & HF Filters: Sinusoidal and sinusoidal EMC Filters: NHF Filters and I/O filters


The different options for cooling are not always discussed but for higher powers where space is at a premium having the different options can be crucial in helping customers realise a viable, competitive solution. Various Air cooled options such as standard, flat rear and through mount are common but the water/liquid cooled options can reduce the housing size – not just on drives and filters too.


The fieldbus connectivity on all of KEB’s products is designed to help customers connect all KEB devices seamlessly but also to other manufacturers components easily using standard protocols. The latest Generation 6 Drives all have EtherCAT and CAN built in as standard and options for PROFINET & POWERLINK as well supporting all major standards such as PROFIBUS, Device Net, MODBUS, Ethernet TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP and Interbus.

Control & IO

The Controls range completes the jigsaw for an automation solution provider. KEB’s range covers Visualisation with HMI’s & Monitors, Compact PLC and IPC’s including DIN Rail, Panel, Box and book mount products. As well as a compact I/O System with a range of different modules, the latest of which is the SAFETY PLC. This controller offers the option to build upon the standard STO within the drives and add additional levels of safety within the system. The safety PLC coupled with the relevant safety card means that the following safety states can be achieved (can you name them all?): 



A key part to all KEB’s offerings is that there is one software package that can be used to programme all devices – COMBVIS. It is CODSYES based and available from KEB’s website. For customers this means upscaling or downsizing between applications and products across the KEB portfolio is simply and seamless. 

Not forgetting the motors!

KEB also manufacturers a range of AC and Servo motors, plain shaft or with a range of gearhead options. Selection is made easy with an online selection programme.

With acknowledged high design and production depth KEB uses its product know-how, application and sector expertise for the benefit of customers, often taking a standard product and utilising key features to give an often unique solution. KEB also has specialist fields with dedicated solutions, currently in the following sectors: Automotive, emobility and Wind Power.


KEB is listening, providing competent advice and reliable help, with constant support - moving and always on the move. With drive technology integrated into automation - which is KEB’s philosophy – it has developed the concept of KEB as System Solution Provider.

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