New firmware enables faster drive-to-drive communication

The COMBIVERT F6 and S6 drive controllers from KEB Automation are now available with new firmware that includes a special highlight: CAN cross-communication. This means that plant and machine builders using the corresponding drives benefit from faster and more flexible communication between the inverters. Users can also utilise all process data-capable parameters.

The new firmware, including CAN cross-communication, is available for the APPLICATION and PRO device variants of the COMBIVERT F6 and S6 drive controllers. “The cross-communication enables the direct exchange of information and data between the inverters without the information having to take the diversions via the customer controller and other fieldbus participants,” says Tobias Wenneker, Product Manager Drives at KEB Automation.

The fact that data can now be exchanged independently and no longer necessarily via other fieldbus participants means that a faster data flow can be achieved. In the drive trains of many machines, milliseconds can be critical. With a rigidly coupled shaft, even the smallest of delays can lead to considerable damage to the shaft in the long term and therefore to machine downtime. This makes the fast and flexible exchange of CANopen process data between the inverters all the more important.

“A special feature of CAN cross-communication with KEB drives is that users can utilise all process data-capable parameters. Whether it’s torque, position or speed, plant and machine manufacturers are free to decide which data they want to work with,” explains Wenneker.

Up to 10 COMBIVERT F6 or S6 drive controllers can communicate directly with each other. The independent exchange of data also has the advantage of reducing the load on the machine’s Ethernet-based fieldbus communication. Last but not least, cross-communication also enables multi-level communication systems to be set up in which the fieldbus ‘slave’ of one system acts as the fieldbus ‘master’ of another system. Parallel fieldbus communication is supported by EtherCAT and Profinet.

CAN cross-communication in practical use

In general, the advantages of cross-communication come into play in many application areas – for example, where high torques are required. In this context, fast, synchronised torque sharing of the drives is critical. The COMBIVERT drive controllers enable exactly this through the direct exchange of torque data by means of cross-communication without a PLC loop. In this way, machine and system builders can not only increase efficiencies, but also the overall service life of the machine.

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