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Faster, cheaper chip broadens Sercos` appeal

01 May, 2001

Faster, cheaper chip broadens Sercos` appeal

Access to the Sercos servo interface system has become faster and cheaper with the arrival of a new interface chip that is four times faster than its predecessor, and half its price. Sercos - the SERial Real-time COmmunications System - is the only non-proprietary, real-time digital communications standard dedicated to motion controls.

The new chip raises the highest data transfer rate from 4Mbps to 16 Mbps. Its effective transfer rate is claimed to be similar to that of a 100Mbs Ethernet system. Other improvements include a larger on-board memory and support for a 850nm fibre optic transmission wavelength, in addition to the original 650nm.

The price of the new chip is expected to drop below the $10 soon, compared to the $25 cost of the original Sercos ASIC. This is likely to open up many new applications, especially for servos below 1kW, which account for 70% of all servos sold. The faster operating speed is predicted to boost the uptake of Sercos by the semiconductor and laser processing sectors.

The new Sercos chip has arrived soon after the millionth first-generation chip was delivered to a US packaging machine manufacturer, RA Jones & Co. The chip formed part of a servo drive for a machine Jones was building for a European customer.

At a ceremony to mark the event, Pekka Paasivaara, chairman of the Sercos trade association, said that "the age of open systems in all types of machinery has already begun and will lead our industry to new dimensions of flexibility, productivity and growth". He predicted that the slowing in the growth of the global economy "will only reinforce this trend because open systems save costs for both end-users and machine builders".

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