At Hanover Fair 2003, Interests Group SERCOS interface (IGS) announced a new project involving linking the existing high-performance SERCOS interface and the Ethernet standard to form a new generation of SERCOS, named SERCOS-III. Work has proceeded as scheduled; so, as promised, a progress report was issued at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives 2003 show in Nürnberg.
SERCOS-III is based on the established real time mechanisms of the original SERCOS interface and continues to work on the principle of cyclic data transfer with an exact time pattern. A hardware-based synchronization is the indispensable prerequisite for the reliable implementation of motion applications, such as electronic line shafts in printing machines, packaging machines or multi-axis machine tools.
SERCOS-III has been defined such that any standard IP telegram (e.g., TCP/IP) can be transmitted in a non-real-time time slot, in parallel to the real-time transfer of the data required for motion control. The SERCOS-III controller is able to exchange these telegrams with superordinate devices in the network. Thus, SERCOS-III combines the established real time mechanisms of the SERCOS interface, with their superior diagnostic capabilities, with universal communication based on Ethernet.
SERCOS-III is being defined such that real time communication will be compatible with the established SERCOS mechanisms to the greatest possible extent, so that upgrading of existing software solutions will be possible at low cost and effort.
An important goal is the reduction of the per-node interface costs by offering powerful, low-priced hardware components. Options being examined include an FPGA-based controller and a multi-protocol communication controller. These considerations will be finalized in the few next months.
The rough technical concept of SERCOS-III has been worked out and verified, and the SERCOS promotional groups are announcing that the first SERCOS-III prototypes will be available in 2005.
A presentation with additional technical details and a white paper on SERCOS-III are available from SERCOS N.A. on request or can be downloaded from www.sercos.com. (http://www.sercos.com/pressroom/pr011304a.htm