NFC And Marshal App

A Tap With Science!

APR 05, 2022

Control Techniques is innovating again with its brand-new Commander S. It’s compact, but powerful. It’s cost-effective, reliable, and easy to install and to use. It’s tap and go.

But how does the tap work? Why did our engineers decide to integrate this technology in Commander S? What is NFC technology? Is it safe to communicate with a drive using a mobile app?

These are some of the questions we will answer in the article below.

NFC technology. Tap here, tap there, tap everywhere…

NFC technology is literally everywhere we go. We use it to pay with our phones at shops and supermarkets, to open gateways at subway and train stations, to open doors, to read electronic passports, to add points to loyalty cards, the list just goes on.

Control Techniques is now incorporating this technology into their new drive, making the whole installing and commissioning process a game changer in the industry.

Why was NFC technology an avenue to explore?

Our R&D engineers researched the market and understood that customers want to have a drive that can be configured to give the maximum performance for their application, saving time and energy. The drive is only one of many products they combine to create a system, so the cost of the components should be minimised.

The focus was to deliver a product which was both cost effective and intuitive to use, so the customer would feel they have achieved the best optimised design for their application.

What we uncovered with this initial research process is that many general purpose drive applications were simple and didn’t need the full featured PC tools. Many companies charge for their PC tools, Control Techniques’ PC tools are totally free of charge so there is no additional expense to get the features needed to run an application. 

And finally, fully featured display technology is very expensive and is only used for a few minutes during the installation and commissioning of the drive. That’s why we had to come up with an alternative that would facilitate a faster return on investment.

Why we chose NFC technology instead of Bluetooth connectivity?

Bluetooth is a powerful interface, but several customers had concerns over security. Also, establishing the initial connection to a specific drive could become difficult in an industrial environment.

We studied and innovated with the capabilities of NFC and found we could develop solutions to integrate this technology into existing circuitry in the drive in a very cost-effective manner.

Also, as all modern mobile phones support NFC, users were familiar with the tap to transfer data from point to point.

We’ve done several tests to optimise our data packets to increase security and reduce the transfer time between the Marshal app and the drive. We’ve successfully managed to reach the point where the user can have the complete drive Setup in the app in less than 60 seconds and can tap to transfer in less than half a second.

How can the drive receive data through NFC when its powered off?

Our engineers developed new methods to store and process the data which allowed the drive to take tiny fractions of power from the phone and enable the drive to be programmed, even without the mains supply connection.

Is NFC a secure communication method? What are the advantages compared to a cable connection?

The NFC method gives customers the reassurance that they are transferring data to the correct drive. It also provides the flexibility to share and recreate the same setup through cloning in fractions of a second. 

The security features which were developed ensure that only the Control Techniques Marshal app has the access key to alter the drive setup. If required, the NFC access can be entirely disabled for very high security installations.


The Marshal app. Powered by NFC technology. The reasons why it’s a game changer.


What are the advantages of having an app to communicate and set up the drive?

The Marshal app has been developed to be simple to use. It is free to download and can be found by scanning the NFC in the drive or the QR code.  It works immediately without complicated registration forms and validation. By registering as a user, a free 5 year warranty is automatically activated for each drive. 

As well as the guided setup and commissioning for the drive and motor, full detailed help and explanations are provided in each parameter. Marshal acts like an expert on the field and we added features that help the user in real life installations. This is a ground-breaking in the industry.

For example, when confirming the motor orientation during a commissioning test, a simple tap on the screen will reverse the spin direction without the need to rewire the motor. 

When something goes wrong with the drive, technical errors can be hard to fix causing delays in production facilities, for example. How does Marshal help the customer to quickly solve errors and get the drive up and running?

We have studied the most common technical support queries when new customers use any drive. Our engineers have developed guided problem-solving techniques to help the customer quickly solve these issues without needing to contact the drive supplier or experts for help. Let’s say “we help our customers become experts”.

The other benefit is that Marshal speaks many languages! The app, at the last count, has been translated into 10 languages which can be automatically detected from the phone settings.


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More