Hardware Comparison: Kinetix 5500 vs. 5700 Servo Drives

The Kinetix 5500 and 5700 series servo drives offer innovative responses to automation and motion control needs for any system.  Combined with the right Kinetix VP servo motors, these systems optimize space and are easier and simpler to use.  Because they integrate motion control on EtherNet/IP, a dedicated motion network is not required.  This allows for as much as a 60% reduction in cabling and eliminates the requirement for gateways to send and receive data from far away networks.  The 5500 comes in 6 sizes while the 5700 series comes in 18 sizes.

The 5500 and 5700 work with Kinetix VP servo motors for optimal performance.  Kinetix VP servo motors are designed for specific applications such as food grade, continuous duty, low inertia and others.  This gives users a motion control system customized for their specific applications. Because Kinetix servo motors have unique winding technology and a DSL encoder onboard, they can connect to smart cable technology to allow communication to the drive on a single cable.  This allows for simpler maintenance and better reliability

Feature Comparison

Common Features

The Kinetix 5500 and 5700 have many common features.  These include:

  1. Integrated Motion – A key feature of both the Kinetix series 5500 and 5700 is that they are part of Allen Bradley’s Kinetix Integrated Motion series and fall under Rockwell’s Automation Integrated Architecture system.  This allows them to utilize the RSLogix 5000 software as well as the Studio 5000 Logix Designer application.  This means that they can easily integrate with Allen Bradley Logix 5000 controllers such as ControlLogix, GuardLogix and CompactLogix as well as other motion and control products.  These features allow the integration of many advanced technology features such as load observer tuningless control, vector control algorithms, integrated safety technology and others.
  2. User Experience and Technology Integration – Because both series models use the same RSLogix software and Studio 5000 application, user experience and programming are common across both models.  Status and diagnostics are also identical between the two.  And all members in the Kinetix family have the same common baseline firmware.
  3. EtherNet/IP and Sercos – Both the 5500 and 5700 run EtherNet/IP as an onboard offering.  This allows them to use several technologies based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) standards such as CIP Motion, CIP Synch, CIP Safety and others.  The use of these technologies over the EtherNet/IP network improves real-time data flow management for connected factories and helps optimize control systems. The 5500 and 5700 also utilize the serial Real-time communication (Sercos) interface that uses a single fiber optic ring between control and drive.  This makes the system noise immune and eliminates the need for feedback wiring saving both cost and time on install.
  4. Single Motor Cable – The use of a single motor cable allows both series to transmit power as well as receive and send communication.  This feature streamlines maintenance improves reliability and significantly reduces cost and time associated with cabling.
  5. Integrated Safety – The 5500 and 5700 each have integrated safety on the EtherNet/IP network.  This allows the safety signal to be transmitted over the EtherNet/IP cable.  As a result, there is no need to hard-wire from drive to controller for safety.  This feature reduces overall safety wiring and the number of components needed for safety.  Configuration of safety can be done with the Studio 5000 Logix Designer to enable safety features such as SIL3Ple Safe Torque Off.
  6. Linear Actuators – Both the 5500 and 5700 are compatible with the same series of linear actuators.  Each module can work with the MP-Series Electrical Cylinders and Linear Stages as well as LDAT Integrated Linear Thrusters.  The only difference between the two on actuators is how connectivity is achieved.  The 5500 requires a Hiperface to DSL converter kit and the 5700 requires a universal feedback connector kit.

Differences Between the Series 5500 and 5700

The series 5500 was introduced by Allen Bradley in 2012 while the 5700 was introduced in 2016.  As such, there are differences between the two servo drive models.  Differences include:

  1. Application Differences – There are several application differences between the Kinetix 5500 and 5700:
    1. Axis Operation – One difference is that the 5500 can operate on systems with a single axis and a double axis while the 5700 was designed specifically for machines with high axis counts.  Generally, the 5500 can operate from 1-12 axis while the 5700 is designed for operation for 4-12+ axis, so there is some flexibility depending on footprint, space, and power requirements between the two.  The 5500 can be configured for multi axis operation but must use the shared AC/DC bus connection to do so.
    1. Power – The 5700 can also handle higher power requirements as well as more precise performance requirements compared to the 5500.  The 5500 was designed for use in smaller footprint environments where power load is optimized. 
    1. Speed – The 5500 is best used in lower speed applications while the 5700 is best for high speed/high performance solutions.
  2. Power – The two series also have different power input power requirements.  The 5500 has bus sharing for AC power as well as 24V DC.  The 5700 utilizes bus sharing but with a 200 A DC and DC bus connector links. 
    1. Input Voltage – Input voltage for the 5500 is 195…264V AC three-phase, 324…528V AC three-phase, and a 195…264V AC for single-phase.  The 5700 by contrast is only designed for three-phase and a single range of 324- 528V.  Input voltage for the common bus follower is different as well with the 5500 ranging from 276…747V AC and the 5700 ranging from 458…747V AC.
    1. Output Voltage – Reflecting the fact that the 5700 is rated for higher performance higher axis count applications, output power is also different with the 5700 ranging from 1.7…60kW.  The 5500 is much lower over both three-and single-phase use with three-phase output ranging from 0.3…7.2 kW and 0.6…14.6 three-phase and 0.2…1.0 kW.  This reflects the 5500’s use in both single axis applications and multi-axis applications requiring less high performance and precision.
  3. Feedback – The Kinetix 5500 uses a single cable for feedback.  The Kinetix 5700 also uses a single cable but has multiple support structures for feedback including DSL, Hiperface, EnDat 2.x and TTL.  The DSL is accessed through a single port and the others are accessed through a multi feedback port.  Both models accept high resolution absolute feedback and feedback for multi and single turn encoders.  Both also accept Hiperface encoder support.  However, for the 5700, Hiperface is accessed with a connector while the 5500 requires a converter kit to enable it for Hiperface.
  4. Cabling – The 5700 can handle longer cable runs compared to the 5500.  The 5700 allows cable lengths of up to 90 meters and allows up to 400 meters per bus sharing group.
  5. I/O – Both the 5500 and the 5700 allow I/O control over the EtherNet/IP network.  For digital inputs, the 5500 has one port for a dual function home registration and one high speed registration.  By contrast, the 5700 has four assignable inputs for its axis modules that include inputs such as home, enable, regeneration and both positive and negative overtravel and others for a total of ten functions.  The 5700 also has two assignable inputs for the DC bus supply that include four configurable inputs such as shunt thermal switch, bus capacitor, and contactor enable.
  6. Accessories – Compatibility for accessories varies from the 5500 to the 5700 with both being compatible with a capacitor module, line filters, shared-bus connector kits and external passive shunt resistors.  The 5700 is also compatible with line reactors and DCBUS-10 extension modules.

Recent Changes

In 2019, Rockwell Automation introduced two additional members of the 5700.  These additions keep pace with the trend toward better sustainability as well as increasingly complex machine requirements from manufacturing OEMs.  These distinctions further differentiate the high-end, high-performance capabilities of the Kinetix 5700. 

The first addition was a large frame design for extremely high axis count machines.  The large frame 5700 includes an inverter that extends power capability from the previous max of 60 kW all the way up to 112 kW.  It also includes adaptive run-time tuning and technology for load observation.  The large frame also has improved safety features that allow technicians to place the machine in a safe state where maintenance can be performed without the need to stop production.

The second addition was the arrival of the regenerative bus version of the 5700.  With increased scrutiny on sustainability, the regenerative bus version allows excess energy from coasting and winding down motors to be captured and returned to the grid within the factory.  This helps reduce energy costs overall.  The regenerative system can be monitored via EtherNet/IP to optimize the system through real-time, data-based decision-making.

Kinetix Motor Selection

The value of the 5500 and 5700 servo system is intricately tied to the selection of motors.  Because of this, Rockwell Automation developed the VP series of servo motors to work with both the Kinetix 5500 and 5700.  They are compatible with the single cable capability of both models and have both 200V and 400V sizing.  Kinetix VP Motors can accept multi-turn, single-turn and absolute position encoders.

While motor type does not define whether users should select the 5500 or 5700, selecting the right motor for the right motion control and overall control system is critical in designing and deploying an optimized control system.  To help users visualize which Kinetix servo drive makes the most sense for their application, here is a quick look at the different types of servo motors available in the Kinetix VP motor category that are designed specifically to work with either the 5500 or the 5700:

  1. VPL Low Inertia – The low inertia motor is used in high volume production environments can use both absolute and multi-turn encoders.
  2. VPF Food Grade – Built to address the control needs in the highly regulated world of food production, these motors are constructed with non-corrosive parts and stainless-steel shafts.  They utilize food-grade paint and food-grade epoxy coatings.  They come with configurable brakes as well as configurable winding options and encoder feedback and are rated for both absolute and multi-turn encoders.
  3. VPH Hygiene – Similar to the food grade motors, Kinetix VPH motors are built for the exacting environments where heavy washdowns are required.  They consist of a stainless-steel exterior with cable extensions available to keep the electric supply off the wash floor.  These motors meet the EHEDG guidelines for hygiene and are 3A certified.  They accept absolute and multi-turn encoder options.
  4. VPS Stainless Steel – Like the hygiene VPH, these Kinetix motors are also stainless steel with cable extensions for heavy washdowns where high pressure or caustic conditions exist.  NSF/ANSI Standard 169 compliant, The VPS can withstand up to 1200psi washdowns.
  5. VPC Continuous Duty – When high speeds or high torque is required, the VPC continuous duty motors can run consistently and reliably.  The continuous duty motor comes in versions for single cable connection allowing absolute and multi-turn capability as well as a version with both motor and feedback cables to allow for configuration to both absolute and single turn as well as absolute and multi-turn.
  6. Additional Motors – In addition to the Kinetix VP series, Kinetix offers the MP series, the TLP Multi Service Motor, the TL and TLY Compact Motor, the HPK Asynchronous Motor to give control system designers using the Kinetix 5500 or 5700 the versatility and flexibility needed for any control need.

For custom built control systems for increasing complexity in today’s machinery, the Kinetix 5500 and Kinetix 5700 offer flexibility to meet system design requirements.  Scale, space, time and cost are all optimized in the 5000 series models to bring machines online faster and with reliable and dependable control.


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