Beckhoff Interactive Automation Days


The Interests Group SERCOS interface e. V. (IGS), have set themselves the task, to provide all companies interested with this digital interface for communication between numerical controls and drives under the name of SERCOS interface, established as International Standard IEC 61491 and European Standard EN 61491 and supervise their compliance with the association mark.

SERCOS International e.V.
Landhausstr. 20
70190 Stuttgart
Tel: + 49 (0) 711 284 57-50
Fax + 49 (0) 711 284 57-55

SERCOS interface - Technical overview
SERCOS interface, the digital drive interface, has become a worldwide accepted networking standard for distributed motion control applications over the last decade. SERCOS is particularly interesting due to its outstanding technical features like real time capabilities, performance, noise immunity, and last but not least a very large variety of products and suppliers. The formula for the Third SERCOS generation is therefore: 'Combining Ethernet's physics and protocol with the proven mechanisms of SERCOS interface'. This combination offers new and innovative options for the future automation technology.

SERCOS interface, the unique worldwide standardized (IEC 61491 and EN61491) digital interface for a communication between control systems and drives. This, for the first time, allows the realization of numerically controlled high-performance applications in the machine tool engineering.

An optical fibre ring is used as transmission medium.

The maximum transmission rate with the new SERCON 816 ASIC is 2, 4,8 or 16 Mbit/s, depending on the device design.

Basically three communications types between CNC and digital drive control elements can be realised with this interface:

  • transmission of nominal position
  • transmission of nominal speed or
  • transmission of nominal torque

The transmission of the nominal position proved to be the best solution for fast and highly precise applications.

In one optical fibrs ring up to 6 axes can be cyclically and parallel supplied with new nominal positions values (nominal positions) every 0,5 ms . The SERCOS interface allows all drive-internal data, parameters and diagnosis data to be displayed and entered by means of a SERCOS-compatible CNC.

SERCOS interface offers the following advantages:

  • Noise free transmission via optical fibre
  • Digital interface
  • International Standard
  • Standardized, worldwide established interface (EN/IEC 61491)
  • High transfer rate - up to 16 Mbit/s
  • Meticulous synchronisation of all nodes in the SERCOS ring (especially for coordinated multi-axes applications)
  • Cycle time configurable (typically: 1 msec.)
  • Ring structure with up to 254 nodes and reduced wiring complexity
  • More than 70 suppliers worldwide offering SERCOS interface devices
  • Standardised operating data and commands provide interoperability of devices made by different manufacturers
  • Connecting controls, drives and E/A stations via a high-speed serial communications bus


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