Good news for the packaging industry: The SERCOS (Serial Realtime Communication System) vendor organizations have announced the development of a Pack Profile for real-time Ethernet-based SERCOS III. The new profile defines a subset of SERCOS interface functions for packaging machinery to ease implementation of the standard and improve multi-vendor interoperability of servo controls and drives. Products from various vendors that conform to the Pack Profile will provide plug-and-play functionality for packaging machinery. The specification is being developed in consultation with users and suppliers of packaging machinery, and will be available in April 2009. In parallel, a conformance test is being developed to ensure interoperability.

The original Pack Profile for SERCOS II was defined in response to a request by the OMAC Packaging Machinery Working Group (OPW) in 2005. Since then, it has been used by major packaging machinery builders and suppliers in a variety of packaging applications. SERCOS III is the third generation of the interface, and integrates the open Ethernet protocol with high-speed data transfer at 100 MBits per second. Additional features include improved safety, the construction of efficient networks with minimum cabling due to a redundant ring and/or line structure, and specific cross communication traffic between control systems. For more information, visit www.sercos.com.

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