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OPC UA Companion Specification Announced for Sercos

Sercos International announced plans to develop an OPC Unified Architecture (UA) Companion Specification for Sercos. This specification describes the mapping of the Sercos® information model to OPC UA so that functions and data of Sercos devices are made available and accessible via OPC UA. This initiative aims at simplifying the communication between machine periphery and supervisory IT systems, supporting the requirements of Industry 4.0 regarding semantic interoperability.

In September, Sercos International launched a "call for experts", in order to invite members and specialists to contribute to this OPC UA initiative. A draft of the Sercos OPC UA Companion Specification is already available and is currently being reviewed by a technical working group consisting of device manufacturers, technology providers and research institutes. The final specification for publication will be available in April 2015.

"In today's automation systems, Sercos devices from many different manufacturers have to be integrated and maintained, resulting in significant total cost of ownership (TCO) during the entire product life cycle. At the same time product planning and control require process and machine related information to facilitate the efficient use of the manufacturing resources. This challenge can be faced best with a standardized OPC UA Sercos information model that brings together the well-defined device profiles of Sercos with the data exchange standard of OPC UA. Use cases cover a broad range from device parametrization and network configuration up to energy management and preventive maintenance", states Peter Lutz, Managing Director of Sercos International.

The mapping rules specified by Sercos can be used for different implementation approaches. On the one hand, the OPC UA server functionality can be implemented in a Sercos master device (e.g. CNC or PLC). On the other hand it is possible to implement this functionality in a Sercos slave device. In the latter case, the OPC UA accesses are executed in parallel to the Sercos real-time communication or even without any Sercos real-time communication.

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