The SERCOS vendor organizations have announced the development of a Pack Profile for real-time Ethernet-based SERCOS III. The Pack Profile defines a subset of the SERCOS interface functions for packaging machinery to ease implementation of the standard and improve the 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 Pack Profile 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 their suppliers in a variety of packaging applications.

SERCOS III is the third generation of the widely accepted SERCOS interface, and integrates the open Ethernet protocol with high-speed data transfer at 100 MBits per second. Additional innovations 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, one of the deliverables originally requested by OPW.

SERCOS III offers developers and users planning reliability due to continuity and a clear migration path. SERCOS I became a worldwide standard in 1995, and the more flexible SERCOS II followed in 1999. Over two million SERCOS I & II nodes have been installed to date. Now, all three SERCOS generations conform to IEC international standards. This ensures the interoperability of products from diverse manufacturers that use the same standardized interfaces, operating commands, and synchronization methods.

SERCOS (SErial Realtime COmmunication System) is one of the leading digital interfaces for communication between control systems, drives, and local peripheral devices such as I/Os. With the third generation, SERCOS not only increases speed, but now also enables the use of CAT-5 copper cables in addition to optical fiber waveguides, and it transfers data packets according to the TCP/IP Internet protocol. Trouble-free real-time operation is ensured by a number of security functions and secure full duplex operation. For more information, visit www.sercos.com.