Industry 4.0 is being talked about by everyone as a vision of the future. Decentralized intelligence and autarkic behavior, open communication standards and fast connectivity for data exchange in real-time are the requirements for this. In the current motion controls and motion logic systems for hydraulics, Rexroth has moved numerous functions that were previously regulated on a purely hydromechanical basis into software. In the process, the particularities of the fluid technology are automatically compensated for. The decentralized controls execute their tasks autonomously and communicate with superordinate PLCs via open communication interfaces. Thus, users can use the physical advantages of hydraulics in an Industry 4.0 environment. How this works is shown by a new hydraulics demo from Bosch Rexroth, which is making its premiere at the Sercos International stand.
The Sercos SoftMaster Demo scores points with an open “upward” and “downward” communication link. This demo is based on a Sercos III SoftMaster core, which was developed in cooperation with Bosch Rexroth and is being made available as open-source software.
Thanks to the Sercos III SoftMaster, a Sercos III FPGA or ASIC master component is not required. Instead, a standard Ethernet controller is used, with the Sercos III hardware functions emulated in host-based driver software. With this implementation approach, adequate real-time behavior is ensured for a large number of applications. If an Ethernet controller with several queues and telegram scheduling (such as the Intel I210™) is used, even the synchronicity and the highest availabilities of a hardware-based master can be achieved.
Unlike the previous solution with a hardware-based Sercos master, with the Sercos SoftMaster machine, engineers and control manufacturers can now use an industrial PC without special fieldbus hardware and without PCI slots to control the machine. Due to the use of the Sercos SoftMaster in combination with the powerful Intel I210, the CPU load is reduced significantly, while costs and space are also saved.
The Sercos SoftMaster is available as an open-source software license for general use in the software pool of Sercos International e.V.
“With the provision of a Sercos III SoftMaster implementation as an open source, it becomes much, much easier for manufacturers to develop a Sercos III master and at the same time to participate in future improvements and expansions of the software,” says Peter Lutz, Managing Director of Sercos International. “In this way, control systems can be designed more affordably and will be simpler and more compact in the future. This is a very important criterion.”
In addition to the Sercos SoftMaster demo, additional demos as well as a large number of exhibits forming a cross section of the approximately 250 Sercos-capable products will be displayed in the Sercos stand.
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 are interoperable. 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 Realtime 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 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.