Success Story: Connected drive technology for critical applications

SCHIEBEL Antriebstechnik GmbH, based in Vienna, is a globally operating machine manufacturer in the drive systems sector. The Austrian family-owned company develops and produces actuators and controls for gate valves, globe valves, butterfly valves, ball valves and fittings, among other things. The technology leader regularly sets itself apart from the competition thanks to its continuous innovative strength and early adoption of future industry trends. SCHIEBEL solutions are primarily used in safety-sensitive sectors and areas of application, for example in the oil and gas industry, water and wastewater management, power plants, the chemical industry and shipbuilding. One of the company‘s specialties is its failsafe technology. In the event of an interrupted power supply, this mechanical safety function always moves an electric actuator to a predefined position.

An industrial actuator by SCHIEBEL in a dark environment. On the left side of the device is a red spring. A display with "100 %" is mounted at the actuator.
Areas of application of SCHIEBEL actuators ( selection)
Water & waste water

SCHIEBEL actuators are known for their long service life and have specially treated surfaces to protect them, especially from corrosion.

Power plants

Reliability is a crucial issue in power plant construction. SCHIEBEL has all the necessary certifications to protect personnel as well as plant components.

Oil & gas

Reliable actuators are particularly popular for this application due to their innovative safety system and ease of maintenance.


SCHIEBEL actuators comply with all general and customer-specific safety certificates. The Viennese company is a reliable partner when it comes to maximum safety.

Increased networking of critical infrastructures

Due to the safety-critical areas of application in these sectors, the networking of relevant components is usually carried out with a very conservative approach. It is therefore traditionally slower than in other markets. In many places, analog communication technologies are still being used, but the number of fieldbusbased or, in some cases, Ethernet-based actuators is steadily increasing.

All SCHIEBEL actuators are networked via the Smartcon control system, which was specially developed for the company‘s own applications. The control board, which is standardized for each actuator, is equipped with additional modular circuit boards depending on customer requirements - for example, to integrate various I/O options or bus connectivity. SCHIEBEL uses the embedded modules from Hilscher‘ s netIC series for communication via bus or Ethernet protocols. Originally launched with the netIC 50, the Viennese machine manufacturer has now seamlessly switched to its successor, the netIC 52. Thanks to the supplied GSD file, which customers can read into their system to carry out the general device parameterization, communication is almost plug & play and available without much programming effort. Another advantage for the actuator manufacturer: thanks to the multi-protocol capability of the Hilscher modules, SCHIEBEL can quickly load the protocol stack required by the customer onto the netIC without any hardware adjustments. 

netX 90: Communication and application in one SoC

The netX 90, Hilscher‘s smallest multiprotocol-capable communication processor, has an innovative architecture. The system-on-chip (SoC) developed by Hilscher is divided into two ARM Cortex-M4 processors. One processor handles the complete communication including a flexibly exchangeable firmware stack. The second processor of the netX 90, on the other hand, provides resources for customized applications. This offers users a highly integrated and efficient solution for all Industrial Ethernet, fieldbus and IIoT standards. The range is complemented by integrated security functions for secure field and cloud connectivity, for example in accordance with the IEC 62443 standard.

Logo SCHIEBEL Antriebstechnik GmbH

Safety and availability: these are the two keywords that are of the utmost importance in our target markets. With Hilscher‘s communication solutions, we can meet these requirements and at the same time implement highly flexible, future-proof interfaces in our control systems.

Milan Svarny
Software Developer
SCHIEBEL Antriebstechnik GmbH

A portrait picture of a man. He is smiling into the camera. He wears a dark pullover with a mint green shirt underneath. The background is grey with a white gleam around his head.
Universal control board for all communication requirements

The great flexibility and simplicity of a protocol change are also decisive factors for SCHIEBEL when it comes to using Hilscher‘s netRAPID 90 to develop a new control board. According to the motto „One fits all“, this board is to form the basis of all SCHIEBEL control systems in the future. To achieve this, it must be able to meet the current and future requirements of all customers. With the help of the netRAPID module, SCHIEBEL will be able to map all possible protocols and technologies on the communication side in future - from classic fieldbus to TCP-based solutions, Real-Time Ethernet and Industrial IoT via MQTT or OPC UA.

“Although we are active in conservative target markets, we see our new control system as a special milestone that will work with our actuators in the long term,” explains Milan Svarny, Software Developer at SCHIEBEL. “In addition to maximum protocol variability, the netRAPID 90 gives us a highly redundant dual-channel board that offers our customers the highest possible level of security and availability. However, the biggest advantage for us is the integrated application core of the netX-90 chip. In principle, this works like an independent chip that processes data for our host CPU. The netRAPID therefore not only handles the classic communication tasks for us, but goes far beyond this.”

5 Smartcon drive controllers in different colors lined up horizontally on white background
SCHIEBEL innovative: Future trends, tested at an early stage

The development of the new control board is a prime example of SCHIEBEL‘s culture of innovation. Although OPC UA and MQTT, for example, still play a very minor role in the safety-critical target markets, the Viennese family business is already equipping its components for such future requirements. By the time these technologies are widely adapted, SCHIEBEL will already have a wealth of experience and reliable solutions ready for series production - and will therefore be able to actively support its customers. „With Hilscher‘s solution portfolio, we can optimally fulfill even our most demanding requirements. Our safe and highly available actuators therefore support even critical infrastructures both today and in the future in benefiting from the potential of increasing networking,“ summarizes Milan Svarny.


Benefits of netX technology for SCHIEBEL:

  • Multi-protocol capability enables simple and fast change of the protocol stack
  • High redundancy and availability
  • Flexibility, also for future applications
An industrial actuator painted in white with a yellow control unit facing the camera. The background is plain white.
Related links
Logo Schiebel Antriebstechnik GmbH

Schiebel Antriebstechnik GmbH is a manufacturer of high-end actuators from Vienna, Austria. With more than 100 employees, the familiy-owned company ensures unsurpassed quality and adherence to all safety standards when it comes to drive solutions for the most demanding industrial applications.

Learn more about Schiebel on their website.

Smallest multiprotocol SoC


netX 90 Chip Carrier - programming platform

Ultracompact netX 90 design - tested completely