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OPC UA Companion Specification for Sercos Released

The newly released OPC Unified Architecture (UA) Companion Specification for Sercos describes the mapping of the Sercos information model to OPC UA so that the 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.

The OPC UA companion specification for Sercos is the result of a "call for experts" launched by Sercos International in September 2014. A first draft of the Sercos OPC UA Companion Specification was made available in November 2014. The following review was executed by a technical working group consisting of device manufacturers, technology providers and research institutes. The final specification was published in early November 2015 as release V1.0.

"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 best faced 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 running.

Inclusion of OPC UA in the Sercos system architecture

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