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Sercos International: Into the Future with New Technologies

At the recent Hanover Fair, Sercos International presented Sercos technologies that are secure for the future. These included the transmission of the Sercos® III real-time protocol via Ethernet standard IEEE 802.1 TSN (Time-Sensitive Networks) using a Sercos TSN demonstrator. The Sercos TSN demonstrator was created by the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units (ISW, University of Stuttgart) with support of several industry partners. It shows a real-time and multiprotocol-capable network infrastructure based on TSN for automation technology.

Other highlights were Industry 4.0 demonstrators from Sercos International and Renesas Electronics.

The Industry 4.0 demonstrator from Sercos International highlighted how process and device data are made available not just locally via the real-time bus, but also via OPC UA for a whole range of different application scenarios in a uniform and cross-manufacturer manner.

This makes data exchange between machine peripheries and superior IT systems easier and also supports the requirements of Industry 4.0 regarding semantic interoperability. The multi-protocol capability from Sercos makes various implementation options possible. One option is that the OPC UA server functionality can be integrated into a machine control. In this case, the control acts as a gateway in which the mapping of OPC protocol onto Sercos services and data is implemented. It is also possible to integrate an OPC UA server directly into a Sercos field device (drive, I/O station or sensor). In this case, the OPC protocol is routed directly to the relevant Sercos slave device. The gateway functionality of the control is thus reduced to the function of an Ethernet switch. Due to the Sercos transmission process (no tunneling!), the ability of an OPC client and an OPC UA server to communicate with each other is preserved even without continuous Sercos communication.

If the control wants to pass on the data of the connected field devices filtered or aggregated to the superimposed OPC UA clients, an OPC client can also be integrated into the control. This makes the data collected via Sercos available to other OPC UA clients in edited form via an OPC UA server.

An Industry 4.0 demo was shown by Renesas Electronics that accelerates industrial networking application development using the new RZ/N series microprocessors. The RZ/N series supports both industrial network protocols and network redundancy protocols for Industry 4.0 on one single chip. The RZ/N brings together multiple industrial networking technologies within a single chip, enabling system manufacturers to develop systems supporting a variety of industrial network protocols and network redundancy protocols in less time.

A Sercos SoftMaster demo was also presented, offering high speed and hard real-time by using a standard Ethernet controller.

The Sercos Slave Prototyping demo with EasySlave Kit for Arduino rounded off the demos shown at the fair. Steinbeis Embedded Systems Technologies GmbH developed a Sercos III product that uses an Arduino board as a rapid prototype platform for the application and a corresponding shield with a Sercos EasySlave FPGA, as well as other peripheral components. With these compact elements, the developer uses free and freely available software tools to create his prototypical Sercos application, from which corresponding Sercos III devices are then derived and implemented.

For more information, please subscribe to the Sercos International eNewsletter or visit their website.