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MDSI Announces Real-Time Software Interface to SERCOS Digital Drives

MDSI announces a real-time software interface to Indramat's SERCOS digital drives

ANN ARBOR, MI—Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. (MDSI), today announced the development of a servo interface to digital drives using SERCOS technology. MDSI, the developer of OpenCNC® software, the leading unbundled, all-software, open architecture CNC on the market, developed the interface in collaboration with Rexroth Indramat, Lohr, Germany, a global manufacturer of servo drives and controllers.

MDSI's SERCOS digital drive interface is included as a standard feature in the latest version of MDSI's OpenCNC product, Version 5.0. MDSI's new SERCOS interface is based on Rexroth Indramat's SoftSERCANS technology, a software-based SERCOS interface manager. SERCOS (SErial Real-time COmmunications System) is an open, fiber-optics-based, CNC-to-digital drive interface standard. It was approved as international standard IEC-61491 in 1995.

Interfacing a completely open, all-software CNC with an open digital communications standard allows the power and tuning of a servo drive to be managed entirely in software from a single PC, with just one fiber optic cable and a passive communication card between the PC and the drive. The benefit of the OpenCNC SERCOS interface for machine tool builders and end-user manufacturers is enhanced servo performance, improved part finish, and the cost savings associated with using standard digital interfaces and non-hardware-based open solutions for communications to the machine tool versus using proprietary digital or analog drives.

In an industry dominated by proprietary hardware CNC solutions, MDSI has proven that high-end, multi-axis CNC machine tools can be controlled entirely from software-without any motion control cards, proprietary hardware, or embedded firmware. Although traditional CNC vendors currently tout their own proprietary, digital drive technologies, customers don't have a choice in servo systems with those proprietary technologies, says MDSI president and CEO, James R. Fall.

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