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SERCOS III Implementation for Altera FPGAs

November 23, 2005 -- SERCOS International e.V. and Altera, one of the leading manufacturers of programmable logic chips, have agreed to make the SERCOS III Core available for the Altera Cyclone II FPGA family, creating new controllers for SERCOS III, the new Ethernet-based implementation of the SERCOS interface® for motion control and factory automation.

The SERCOS III Core includes all hardware functions, such as timing, synchronization and processing of cyclic and non-cyclic data on the basis of two integrated Ethernet MACs. The existing core will be ported onto the Altera high-volume low-cost FPGA platform. The SERCOS III IP will be provided in the form of a bit-stream or in the form of a netlist. First prototypes will be available in the fourth quarter of 2005, so utilization in commercial products is possible in early 2006. 

Peter Lutz, General Manager of SERCOS International e.V., points out that it is mainly the flexibility of the FPGAs that makes this solution so interesting for the automation manufacturer. "Our member companies have very different requirements regarding the design of SERCOS III hardware. Some manufacturers only require a replacement for the previous SERCON816 communication controller, other companies want to combine the SERCOS III hardware functionality with additional logical functions in one chip, and still other manufacturers would like to support several different real-time Ethernet protocols with one controller. These implementations are all possible with this communications controller." 

According to Mr. Udo Renz, Area Sales Director, Altera Central Europe, "The Altera FPGA provides an efficient and low-priced standard hardware platform for SERCOS III, which considerably reduces the effort and the costs for a hardware design and also insures high manufacturer acceptance. The attractive pricing for SERCOS member companies negotiated with SERCOS International e.V. ensures this from the very beginning."

SERCOS III is based on the established real time mechanisms of the original SERCOS interface, maintaining the principle of cyclic data transfer with deterministic timing. This hardware-based synchronization is the prerequisite for the reliable implementation of challenging motion applications, such as packaging machines, multi-axis machine tools and electronic line shafts in printing machines. 

SERCOS III has been defined such that any standard IP telegram (e.g., TCP/IP) can be transmitted in a non-real time slot, in parallel to the real time processing. A SERCOS III control system is able to exchange these telegrams with super-ordinate devices in the network. Thus, SERCOS III combines the established SERCOS real time mechanisms and standardized parameter set with universal communications based on Industrial Ethernet.

SERCOS International e.V. is a global user organization, responsible for the technical development, standardization, certification and commercialization of the SERCOS interface real time communication standard. The organization, with its headquarters in Stuttgart Germany, together with its subsidiaries, SERCOS North America and SERCOS Japan, presently has more than 60 member companies worldwide.

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world's pioneer in system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solutions. Combining programmable logic technology with software tools, intellectual property, and technical services, Altera provides high-value programmable solutions to approximately 14,000 customers worldwide.


More information is available at www.altera.com.

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