HANNOVER, Germany -- The first practical results of the machinery initiative, which was launched jointly by Sercos International, ODVA, and OPC Foundation in April 2011, were announced at the 2012 Hannover trade fair.
"We are convinced that today's great variety of automation technology requires a new conceptual approach to simplify integration of machinery in manufacturing," said Peter Lutz, Managing Director of Sercos international. "For this reason, we have cooperated with ODVA and the OPC Foundation in identifying topics that result in considerable technical and market synergies for users and providers."
Specifically, the deliberations focused on how to implement a joint network infrastructure in which the different network protocols can coexist and the devices of different manufacturers can be operated together. This approach is intended to support mechanical engineers and users in reducing the complexity and costs of device integration in machines and systems. It also enables mechanical engineers and users to select preferred product providers and to utilize their devices.
Because the infrastructure required for EtherNet/IP and Sercos III includes the physics and data link layers of Ethernet, Sercos telegrams, CIP messages and TCP/IP messages can coexist within a network without requiring additional cables. To keep the cyclical and clocked communication of Sercos III intact, the CIP messages and TCP/IP messages are transmitted in the Unified Communication Channel (UCC). This channel sits directly on the Ethernet layer without tunneling, allowing the connection of users who do not have Sercos III, but instead support a different Ethernet-based protocol.
This approach allows the combination of Sercos III devices, EtherNet/IP devices and other Ethernet devices in a joint network infrastructure in a machine or system. The existing Sercos III and EtherNet/IP specifications do not have to be modified, as the respective communication mechanisms have already been integrated in the Sercos III transmission process.
By late 2012, the providers aim to create an implementation guide that describes the planning and set-up of such multi-protocol networks. Initial prototypes are expected to be presented at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2012 show as a demo system.
About Sercos International
Sercos International is an association of users and manufacturers that is in charge of technical development, standardization, conformance inspection, certification, and marketing for the Sercos automation bus. Compliance tests ensure that the implementation of Sercos is in accordance with IEC standards and thus allows the combination and integration of devices from different manufacturers. Based in Germany, the organization presently has more than 70 member companies located around the world, and has liaison offices in North America and Asia.
Sercos, SErial Realtime COmmunication System, is one of the world's leading digital interfaces for communication between controls, drives, and decentralized peripheral devices. Sercos has been used in machine engineering for more than 25 years and is implemented in over 3 million real time nodes. With its open Ethernet-based manufacturer-independent architecture, Sercos III offers a universal bus for all automation solutions.