Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ARC 2012 Preview Part 1: A Look Back at sercos

As the ARC 2012 World Industry forum approaches, we thought it might be a worthy time to take a look at the software and protocols behind our automation systems. As regular customers and readers probably know, this means an in-depth look at sercos, specifically some of the latest uses and breakthroughs in device-to-control communication. Leading up to the February 6th, 2012 conference, which features ODVA as a co-sponsor, we’ll take some time in our next several blog postings to look at both the big picture of sercos, and it’s specific applications.

First, a bit of history. Although sometimes identified as a motion control system, sercos is actually but a means to that end. In reality, it is a communication system – one that allows the intricate functions of motion control to take place with precise repeatability through constant communication and feedback between the operating device (the one doing the work) and the control device (the one where instructions – a desired time interval or cutting width, for instance – are input). This may sound a bit simplistic to experienced users familiar with the full potential of sercos, but, in a nutshell, this is the philosophy behind the system. 

From the original implementation of sercos, the protocol has been upgraded and updated to the current sercos III, which addresses the reality of the prevalence of computer network communication with full Ethernet support. The “Plug and Play” motto of sercos III is a clear indication that the system now aims to be a complete communication system for all types of devices and functions – and also aims to make it as user-friendly as possible.

Future postings on this topic will address the role of sercos in power efficiency, energy standards, and even marketing tactics. Contact us with your own thoughts or experiences with sercos!

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