“In today’s manufacturing systems, automation devices & systems 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 mapping which brings together the well-defined semantics of Sercos with the OPC UA Sercos information model. Use cases cover a broad range from device parametrization and network configuration up to energy management and preventive maintenance. Furthermore new business models can be easily implemented because users and suppliers can rely on a consistent and vendor-independent semantic”, states Peter Lutz, Managing Director of Sercos International.
Figure 1: Inclusion of OPC UA in the Sercos system architecture
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 transfer this functionality to 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. Thus, a consistent communication with OPC UA down to the field level is possible without abandoning the hard-real-time communication of the Sercos automation bus.
About Sercos International
Sercos International is an association of users and manufacturers that is in charge of technical development, standardization, certification and marketing for the Sercos automation bus. Conformance tests guarantee that Sercos implementations are standard-compliant ensuring that devices from different manufacturers can be combined. Based in Germany, the organization presently has more than 90 member companies located around the world and has national liaison offices in North America and Asia.
The Serial Real-time Communication System, or Sercos, is one of the world’s leading digital interfaces for communication between controls, drives and decentralized peripheral devices. Sercos has been used in machine engineering for approximately 25 years and is implemented in over 5 million real-time nodes. With its open, manufacturer-independent Ethernet-based architecture, Sercos III is a universal bus for all automation solutions.
About OPC Foundation
The OPC Foundation is a nonprofit international standards organization dedicated to developing and maintaining the best specifications, technology, process and certification to achieve multivendor multi-platform secure reliable information integration interoperability from the embedded world to the cloud. OPC Foundation started in 1995, and the OPC community is made up of over 4200 different companies building OPC Products with over 45,000,000 installations. OPC specifications are available without membership, OPC reference implementations are open sourced on GitHub, and the foundation has an open certification program enabling members and nonmembers to certify their products.
About OPC UA
OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a platform and vendor independent communication technology for a secure and reliable data exchange over the different levels of the automation pyramid. In addition, the information models of the OPC UA standard provide the foundation for a semantic interoperability.