This specification describes the mapping of the Sercos device model and the Sercos device profiles to OPC UA, so that functions and parameters of Sercos devices are made accessible via OPC UA in a vendor-independent manner. Publishing a standard information model for Sercos devices allows the sharing of status information between multi-vendor machines and the cloud. There the information can be analyzed and used for preventive maintenance, condition-based monitoring, and energy management applications.
This simplifies the communication between machine periphery and supervisory IT systems and supports the requirements of Industry 4.0 regarding semantic interoperability. “Sercos provides a very rich robust device model and device profiles that made logical sense to plug into an OPC UA namespace,” says Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President and Executive Director. “The Sercos OPC UA Companion Standard enables machine-to-machine interoperability, but we’ve taken this interoperability for machine-to-machine to the next level, providing streamlined information integration across machines. The interoperability solutions in the past have been about connectivity. Now we can actually provide syntax and semantic information integration across machines by leveraging the Sercos OPC UA companion specification data models. It’s all about data and information and being able to have this information published by devices and have generic applications be able to consume the data as well, resulting in truly intelligent operations beyond what we’ve ever seen before.
“We also have a tight partnership with OMAC, and the value proposition of this will allow the PackML standard, for which we are developing an OPC UA companion specification, to provide even more streamlined operation across packaging machines. Having all three of our organizations working together provides a complete solution for the end user companies leveraging these complex machines and brings them seamless information integration. This leads to better operation of the machines as well as improved maintenance operations. People using packaging machines want to have control over their destiny. Providing the data and information necessary to allow them to make intelligent decisions about maintenance operations cannot be underestimated. Sercos suppliers will now be able to take advantage of the rich service oriented architecture of OPC UA, truly facilitating the vision of the embedded world having information integration into the cloud. The OPC community will now be able to easily extend their products to support the great networking technology of Sercos. Both organizations are working together to facilitate and help technology suppliers like Rockwell and Siemens or OEMs like Krones and Tetra Pak bring certified products to the marketplace supporting this new companion specification.”
A practical example illustrating the added value of the Sercos OPC UA Companion Standard, which was on display recently at interpack, is the project “ChoConnect.” Different machine builders cooperate in order to exchange production data in a “digital chocolate line” by using OPC UA. The chocolate line uses Rexroth, Schneider Electric, and Siemens automation solutions and currently focuses on the exchange of data at the machine / control level. By applying the Sercos OPC UA Companion Standard, data at the machine / control level be exchanged. But also given in a vendor- and product-independent way is full access to the data of machinery periphery (servo drives, I/O devices, camera systems, encoders) of Sercos suppliers (in this case it was Rexroth and Schneider Electric).