A press conference at the Pack Expo International 2008 show Nov. 9-13 in Chicago saw the SERCOS (Serial Real-time Communication System) vendor organization announce the development of a Pack Profile for real-time Ethernet-based Sercos III. “The packaging profile is targeted for an April 2009 release, and a conformance test is being developed to ensure interoperability,” said Peter Lutz, managing director for SERCOS International (www.sercos.de).
The packaging profile defines a subset of SERCOS interface functions for packaging machinery, eases the implementation of the standard, and improves the interoperability of servo drives and controls. SERCOS defined the original Pack Profile for SERCOS II in response to a request by the OMAC Packaging Machinery Working Group (OPW) in 2005.
Lutz provided an overview of SERCOS, and described the SERCOS III Pack Profile benefits. The new SERCOS III interface integrates the open Ethernet protocol with high-speed data transfer at 100 Mbits per second, he noted. Benefits include improved safety, the ability to construct efficient networks with minimum cabling due to a redundant ring and/or line structure, and specific cross communication traffic capability between controls systems, one of the deliverables requested by OPW, Lutz pointed out.
Other speakers included John Kowal, global marketing manager at Elau Inc., a Schneider Electric company with U.S. offices in Schaumburg, Ill., and Wolfgang Ember, managing director at Rovema Global Packaging Group, Fernwald, Germany.
SERCOS I became a worldwide standard in 1995 and the more flexible SERCOS II followed in 1999. All three generations conform to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) international standards. More than 2 million SERCOS I and II nodes have been installed to date.