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SICK has introduced Hiperface DSL, a fully digital encoder feedback interface suitable for use in a range of robotic and automation machinery applications as well as process and packaging equipment.

The Hiperface DSL offers SIL2 and SIL3 safety capabilities for the communication of feedback data from brushless servomotors to associated drive electronics.

The data protocol has been designed to carry comprehensive sensor data from motor to drive while reducing system costs.

Darren Pratt, encoder specialist for SICK, said: ‘Hiperface DSL is currently the only motor feedback interface with the capability of supporting encoders to SIL3 levels for both safe speed and safe position functions.

‘In addition, the protocol requires less expensive hardware than current digital encoder feedback systems, enabling significant cost savings,’ he added.

According to Pratt, the interface is so robust that cores inside the motor power cable can be used for the communication of feedback data to the drive.

He continued: ‘The twisted pair traditionally used for the temperature winding sensor in a standard motor power cable can be utilised for the Hiperface DSL communication.

‘Encoders supporting Hiperface DSL will have an optional temperature sensor input for the digitisation of the temperature signal and transmission to the drive together with encoder feedback data.

‘The result is that the dedicated feedback cable can be completely eliminated.

‘Machine builders using a motor and drive solution utilising Hiperface DSL will benefit from a huge reduction in cabling costs and commissioning time.

‘Hiperface DSL encoders will also contain a lifetime management functionality for preventative maintenance.

‘Temperature, speed and rotation information will be logged inside the encoder, with all information accessible via Hiperface DSL.

‘Open accessibility to this information will enable plant operators and maintenance engineers to plan preventative maintenance, enabling increased plant availability and reduced machine downtime,’ said Pratt.

With future applications in mind, Hiperface DSL will also allow the incorporation of additional sensor information to further enhance dynamic axis control, including torque, vibration and acceleration.

The Hiperface DSL protocol enables digital sensor data transmission over up to 100m based on two or four wires integrated with the motor power cable, resistant to EMC interference.

The system is capable of supporting safe encoder solutions up to SIL3 PLe and facilitates a range of drive connectivity and applications.

The first encoders supporting Hiperface DSL will be launched in summer 2011.

Servomotor and drive manufacturers are expected to start launching systems utilising Hiperface DSL before the end of the year.


SICK is a global leader in sensors and sensing systems for factory automation, logistics automation and process control. SICK’s comprehensive product portfolio encompasses sensors, encoders, machinery safety, machine vision and auto-identification in use by customers all over the world. Established for over 70 years, SICK products range from simple optical devices through to embedded intelligent systems, ready to meet the needs of Industry 4.0.

SICK sensors: At the heart of automation

SICK is one of the world’s leaders in sensors and sensing technologies for factory automation, logistics automation and process control.

SICK’s comprehensive product portfolio encompasses sensors, encoders, machinery safety, machine vision and auto-identification. The company also provides process instrumentation for gas and fluid flow and for chemical and pollutant detection.

From simple optical sensors and barcode readers to complex safety systems; from machine vision to emissions monitoring, SICK’s intelligent sensor solutions facilitate advanced automation and process control.

SICK products are designed with simplicity of installation and operation in mind. They help customers to achieve greater reliability and productivity, increased production flexibility and more efficient use of resources.

Founded in Germany more than 70 years ago, SICK employs more than 7,400 employees worldwide. The company invests heavily in research and development and is leading the way in smart sensor development to support Industry 4.0 objectives.

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