IT, New Media & Software

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 16:21

The future of integrated IO-Link technology is here with FieldEcho®

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The FieldEcho® needs neither special hardware nor a special protocol.

Integrated IO-Link technology that enables full data accessibility and transparency across all platforms is here with the FieldEcho® from SICK Automation. IO-Link is an increasingly used manufacturer-independent communication standard that provides significantly more information, configurability and control. From installation to operation and even maintenance of an automation system, integrated IO-Link technology provides clear advantages over analogue solutions.

 This technology brings continuity of information from the sensor level to the automation and web worlds, and is an enabler for innovative sensors. Sensors and actuators become active process participants in an end-to-end automation network. The FieldEcho® ensures the data availability demanded by Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. SICK’s FieldEcho® gives you platform-independent access to all IO-Link devices in an automation system with only one software tool.

Now, with simple sensor technology, you can establish a reliable communication channel that is integrated into any existing network to supply a wealth of information – in real time. With the FieldEcho®, you can parameterise, diagnose and monitor all the IO-Link devices that are integrated into a machine or plant. From commissioning and runtime, to device replacement and maintenance, you can monitor all the IO-Link devices in your plant with a few clicks from any internet browser, throughout the plant’s entire life cycle.

Regardless of what programmable logic controller (PLC), fieldbus or IO-Link master is used, FieldEcho® automatically finds connected IO-Link devices. Thanks to the remote access function, all relevant IO-Link device data can be easily accessed no matter where in the world you are. With the FieldEcho®, remote diagnosis is possible, which minimises your maintenance costs and reduces downtime. Manual download of IODD is no longer necessary which saves time and increases efficiency.

The FieldEcho® provides unlimited, bi-directional communication access to the IO-Link device. Covering the globally recognised PLC standard, the FieldEcho® allows data to be exchanged between all configured IO-Link masters and devices clearly and conveniently using a modern interface. This software tool can also be used in browsers or integrated in HMIs.

Valuable process and service data is available in the operational management level (MES), the enterprise level (ERP), for various cloud services and any customer-specific applications. The data can be efficiently used for subsequent processing e.g. for inventory, predictive maintenance or data analysis.

 There are numerous advantages to support Industry 4.0 solutions. The FieldEcho® IO-Link software enables continuous digital data transmission, allows standard non-shielded cables to be used, is capable of receiving new parameter sets within seconds, and makes plug-and-play a reality. Different parameter settings can be visualised, tested, and optimised during integration and commissioning. It is also possible to store different parameter sets in the automation system and upload them to the sensor during operation without any delay. With the FieldEcho® you can automatically and remotely configure sensors installed in locations that are difficult to access.

FieldEcho’s® REST API grants IT access to IO-Link device data for applications like ERP, MES or cloud-based services and bridges the shop floor and Industry 4.0. Only one line of PLC code is required to call up the generic function block delivered with the FieldEcho®, which exchanges data with the PLC via OPC UA. Neither special hardware nor a special protocol is required for use of the FieldEcho® making time and cost-intensive programming of the PLC unnecessary. A self-structuring FieldEcho® dashboard rounds out the product.

 SICK Automation has met the challenge of matching automation technology with the Internet world. In line with Industry 4.0 standards, the FieldEcho® software tool ensures all relevant plant information is globally available regardless of the platform used. Thanks to SICK’s intelligent sensors and sensor solutions, accessing a plant’s process and service data is a click away from any Internet browser.

CubicICE (PTY) Ltd

CubicICE is an integrated marketing and communications agency specialising in B2B and industrial marketing. We are a trusted marketing partner to some of Africa’s largest brands, and, with more than 30 years’ experience, have helped over 200 clients grow their business through strategic marketing intelligence and communications skill. As a full service integrated marketer, CubicICE combines traditional and digital marketing and creative design under one roof, and specialises in both quality lead generation and brand building. We offer all necessary in-house consulting; business planning, research and strategy; copywriting; graphic and digital design; campaign performance measuring and analysis; media planning; and administrative skills – all from our Sandton-based office in Johannesburg. A Google Partner, SEO-certified Company and IAB Member, CubicICE is a leader in search engine marketing, with a results-driven digital approach geared towards providing our clients with a clear online business advantage. Visit us at www.cubicice.co.za

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