SICK is opening up its protocol for HIPERFACE DSL¨

The simple things are always the most ingenious
SICK is opening up its protocol for HIPERFACE DSL¨ : Is the one cable connection
for electric motors soon to be the automation standard?

Why take two when one would do? Why waste valuable space with twice as
many cables when installing the entire system could be much smarter and compact
with half the effort? There are so many advantages of connecting regulated
electric motors with just one cable – and these extend across the entire value
chain for machines and plants. SICK is opening up its patented HIPERFACE DSL¨
protocol with a licensing model for competitors. This will pave the way for establishing one cable connection
technology for servo motors and torque drives as an open standard without
elaborately designed hybrid cables.

Taking a look inside standard cables within servo drive
technology usually reveals three wires for the motor power, one wire for PE and
two others to control the brakes and evaluate the winding temperature sensor.
In conventional connection technology, a second cable is also needed for this
configuration to transmit the typical feedback signals for the closed-loop
system. With HIPERFACE DSL¨ (HDSL), SICK brought together the necessary
functions in one sheath – without additional costs for the cable or increasing
the amount of work required to handle different variants. In practice, the HDSL
signal uses the two wires to monitor the temperature and, in turn, transfers
the Celsius values required for operational safety via the DSL protocol.

This simple and effective option
for the streamlined installation of machines and plants has been available
since 2011. Now, approximately six years later, SICK is opening up access to
the drive’s slave side and motor-side encoder in addition to the master side,
which has been open from the very beginning. The protocol, therefore, has real
potential, similar to USB, to become the digital connection of the future.

Intelligence at every level

Two become one: The benefit of
one cable connection technology, particularly in machines with drives
distributed across wide areas and with a relatively high number of axes, is
undoubtedly huge – but there isn’t just one. Given
the current technical developments of Industry 4.0, HIPERFACE DSL¨ is laying
the groundwork for an automation model based on variably distributed
intelligence without the rigid levels of the established automation pyramid.
While it is pretty much taken for granted
that drives will take on additional tasks in
relation to condition monitoring, motors and sensors are also emerging
more and more as independent participants within an intelligent network.

This theory is one that can clearlybe proved with a motor feedback system
with HDSL from SICK. Due to its digital nature, this standard is capable not
only of transmitting the absolute positions and speeds measured by the feedback
system but also of performing functions
that extend much further. For example, something that may be impossible with a
resolver such as collecting further sensor signals at the feedback system can indeed be achieved with intelligent digital feedback. That being the case,
the bestpossible conditions for
preventive maintenance have been created.

Condition monitoring – pure and simple!

While encoders originally
designed for motor feedback are easy to kit out with additional intelligence,
incorporating HDSL data transmission enables a condition monitoring and early
warning system to be established with little effort. The objectives of Industry
4.0 provide the framework for the cyber-physical systems. Here, it is important
not only to record the data in large volumes
but to process it profitably, primarily using sophisticated algorithms. Smart
motor sensors can be used to record service life data from the motor and
accordingly to draw conclusions regarding failure probability and life

The opening up of the HDSL
protocol is seen as the initial spark for
further innovations and particularly data connection options within factory
automation. After all, SICK cannot possibly have every single encoder
technology that is in demand on the market in its portfolio and, for this
reason, is convinced that the widespread availability of the protocol will lead
to increased product variance – and therefore application possibilities – for
feedback systems from different manufacturers. The time has come for this
digital system to be standardised further
at international level – with the ultimate aim of offering more functions for
the advancing digitalisation of
production processes. From the smart drive to the smart machine to the smart

In contrast to other one cable
solutions, HIPERFACE DSL¨ has a competitive edge of at least three to five
years. This statement can be backed up in the way that the protocol has entered
the market, adopted by over 50 drive and motor manufacturers worldwide. In terms of infrastructure, it also boasts an
extensive portfolio of cables, male connectors, FPGAs, and microcontrollers.

Destined for robotics

The performance of the
communication system is also evidenced by functions that extend beyond simply
highly dynamic and high-resolution position control. The wide field of Safe
Motion is just one example of this. Here, the now open SICK protocol achieves SIL3
as per IEC 61508 or performance level Ein
accordance with EN ISO 13849-1 when safety-related function chains are established. The basic conditions are
therefore in place to enable HIPERFACE DSL¨ to be put to use in robotics
applications in particular, as safety technology comes included as standard
with Safety IP Core from SICK. As a result, there’s no need for any customer to
give this further aspect consideration –
something that is a real advantage particularly in the case of collaborative
production processes. What’s more, the fact that robots have highly dynamic
kinematics coordinated over multiple axes is an area where one cable connection
technology can really show its strengths.
Each cable that is saved reduces the net
weight while also improving MTBF figures, as only half the number of cable
connections are present.

The HIPERFACE DSL¨ protocol can be used with ready-to-install SoC (System on
Chip) modules, which make them much easier to implement into the drives. The
HIPERFACE DSL¨ Master IP Core can also be integrated directly into the drive’s
existing FPGA, provided the corresponding
free memory is available.

With HIPERFACE DSL¨ , SICK brings Industry 4.0 to the motor

By opening up HIPERFACE DSL¨ ,
SICK has paved the way for competitors to make use of the internationally
defined standard – ultimately with the intention of further enhancing its
acceptance and availability. Accordingly, machine builders and operating entities
can tap into the advantages of one cable
connection technology as well as simple options for future-oriented
preventative maintenance, to name but a couple of examples. Additionally, the
digital connection of the future has real potential for developing new
possibilities within Industry 4.0 as intelligence is increasingly being moved to the sensor

Written By:

Clemens Bitsch, Product Manager
for Motor Feedback Systems, SICK Stegmann GmbH, Donaueschingen

Daniel Schwšrer, Head of the
Global Industry Centre for Drives & Controls, SICK AG, Waldkirch

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