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Sercos Goes Open Source

Sercos Goes Open Source

Because very few companies standardize with one hardware or software supplier throughout their business, the ability to connect hardware and software packages from different suppliers is essential. However, that didn't stop many hardware and software suppliers from trying to own their niche of the playing field. But the realities of marketplace demand have been leading a shift toward more open and easily integrated products for years now. It happened with enterprise software nearly a decade ago, and now the spirit of openness is starting to be felt more widely at the device and device communication level.

At Hannover Fair 2011, Sercos International announced that it is making the Sercos/IP protocol driver library for the Sercos automation bus available as open source software. The driver software is available for download in C# source code via There are no license fees or usage limitations associated with the Sercos open source code.

The protocol is designed to allow direct communication and data exchange between devices without requiring a Sercos master or the use of existing Sercos communication.

One of the primary uses of the Sercos protocol has been for real-time control applications. Sercos International maintains that the open source Sercos/IP protocol can still be used in cyclic real time operation. The association notes that, despite having the Sercos/IP telegrams transferred into the Sercos NRT (Non Real-Time) channel in real-time applications, there is reportedly no negative influence on the real time behavior of the network.

The open source Sercos/IP also maintains that set-up, remote maintenance and diagnosis of Sercos device capabilities can be carried out over an intranet or the Internet.

In related open communication news, Sercos International also announced at Hannover Fair that it is strengthening its cooperation with ODVA by becoming an active partner organization within the new ODVA machine initiative. A principal objective of this connection between the groups is the expansion of CIP Safety, which is currently used as a bus-independent safety protocol for DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP and Sercos.

"CIP Safety on Sercos is an excellent example of how technologies from different organizations can successfully complement each other -- to benefit manufacturers as well as users," said Peter Lutz, managing director of Sercos International.

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