Arduino is a physical computing platform that is enjoying strongly growing popularity in research and teaching and also in the implementation of IoT concepts. The special thing about Arduino is that the boards are inexpensive and both hardware and software components are open source. The hardware consists of a simple I/O board with a micro-controller plus analog and digital inputs and outputs. The development environment is based on processing and facilitates access to the programming and to micro-controllers for those who are less technically versed. The programming takes place in C and/or C++, while technical details such as header files are largely hidden from the users. Extensive libraries and examples simplify the programming. Arduino can be used to manage independent interactive objects or to interact with software applications on computers. For expansion, pre-assembled or partly assembled circuit boards – called shields – are offered that can be adhered to the Arduino board.
Steinbeis Embedded Systems Technologies GmbH has developed a Sercos III product that uses an Arduino board as a rapid prototype platform for the application and a corresponding shield with a Sercos EasySlave FPGA, as well as other peripheral components. With these compact elements, the developer uses free and freely available software tools to create his prototypical Sercos application, from which corresponding Sercos III devices are then derived and implemented.
"With the Sercos EasySlave, a simple and inexpensive interface for Sercos networks has already been available for a few years. Now, the Sercos EasySlave kit for Arduino offers the chance to connect one’s own applications to Sercos via a simple API without major development effort. In particular, combination with the numerous shields already available from other manufacturers enables the user to perform diverse realizations of his application,” says Christian Hayer, Managing Director of Steinbeis EST GmbH.
“The range of products and providers for Sercos III has grown impressively in the last few years. Despite this, mechanical engineers and device manufacturers may find the introductory hurdle of implementation too high, especially in the case of niche products and small batch sizes. With the Sercos shield for Arduino, Sercos III device prototypes can now be inexpensively developed and tested in the simplest manner. Teaching and research institutions also benefit from this approach, as ideas and concepts can be implemented simply with the Arduino platform and the Sercos shield,” says Peter Lutz, Managing Director of Sercos International.
Licenses for the EasySlave are granted via Sercos International. Different license models are available; and member companies of Sercos International receive preferential prices.
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.
About Steinbeis EST GmbH
Steinbeis Embedded Systems Technologies GmbH (Steinbeis EST), based in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany, sees itself as a flexible and reliable partner of industrial companies, especially in the field of automation technology. The technical areas of focus of Steinbeis EST GmbH are distributed embedded systems and industrial communication. Here, the range of services extends from the design and development of electronic switches to PC-based applications. Steinbeis EST is a company within the Steinbeis Group of more than 1,000 Steinbeis companies worldwide.
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.