ODVA's 'Machinery Initiative' Targets Integration

April 29, 2011
ODVA has launched a Machinery Initiative designed to improve the integration of machinery with the industrial manufacturing ecosystem.

ODVA has launched a Machinery Initiative designed to improve the integration of machinery with the industrial manufacturing ecosystem. Through this initiative, this global association of automation companies (www.odva.org) intends to develop “a comprehensive and open interoperability framework that will help machine builders drive innovation and productivity improvements for end users.” ODVA’s approach to this project will include alliances with other vendor-neutral standards development organizations, starting with Sercos International and OPC Foundation.

“ODVA embraces an open and inclusive approach to innovation in information and communication technology for OEM machinery,” said Katherine Voss, executive director, ODVA.

As its first action in its Machinery Initiative, Voss says ODVA has formed a task force to identify key milestones to ensure the appropriate input is received from machine builders on the process. The initiative will encompass technical work by the organization, as well as workshops with its alliance partners to identify initial areas of cross collaboration.
Serial Realtime Communications System (Sercos, www.sercos.com) is a digital motion control bus that interconnects motion controls, drives, input/output devices (I/O), sensors and actuators for numerically controlled machines and systems.

Sercos International (SI), the organization that manages this international standard, agreed to work with ODVA on this initiative following earlier cooperation in the area of functional safety. Peter Lutz, SI managing director, said, “The cooperation with ODVA and the joint support of CIP Safety has created substantial technical and market synergies for the safety network community. These positive experiences are what convinced SI to expand its collaboration with ODVA.

A key focus of the cooperation is the worldwide marketing and expansion of CIP Safety, which is currently used as a bus-independent safety protocol for DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP and Sercos. "CIP Safety on Sercos is an excellent example of how technologies from different organizations can successfully complement each other—to benefit manufacturers as well as users. Together with ODVA, we would like to discover similar synergies in other areas," said Lutz.

“Technological convergence is an important factor in achieving enhanced continuity and optimum compatibility,” according to a spokesman for SI. “Sercos International sees potential in topics such as control networking, connections to MES/ERP systems, and the use of common profiles, especially in networked machines and systems. “

The OPC Foundation (www.opcfoundation.org), administrator of the OPC and OPC UA cross platform frameworks, is equally excited about participation as an ODVA alliance partner, according to Thomas J. Burke, president and executive director. “Focus on this interoperable framework will provide guidance to machine builders on designing equipment for superior connectivity, helping end-user customers access data from their machinery and correlate it with data derived from their control, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and MES (manufacturing execution systems) systems.”

Voss said research indicates that users are increasingly relying on machine builders to provide the functionality needed to integrate machines with overall production processes and the enterprise. Users are interested in machine optimization—which includes application areas related to safety, energy and motion—as well as connectivity, information exchange, and device definition and configuration, she said.

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