02 April 2020

IO-Link: Industry 4.0 for everyone

Submitted by CubicICE (PTY) Ltd
IO-Link: Industry 4.0 for everyone

IO-Link is not just gaining increasing acceptance in an ever greater number of applications ‒ the manufacturer-independent communication technology is also an enabler for innovative sensor solutions and supports the global availability of data and information required by Industry 4.0. Switching devices and simple sensors, in particular, can benefit from this fast and cost-effective method of connecting to the data world.

The advantages of IO-Link from SICK Automation are readily apparent. Since devices can be integrated via the existing cabling, IO-Link enables Industry 4.0 solutions to be expanded down to even the smallest inductive sensors. What complex sensor systems can accomplish via a fieldbus connection can now be delivered by simple sensor technology: state and parameterisation data throughout the entire plant or factory. IO-Link not only establishes a reliable communication channel, it also allows IO-Link-enabled sensors to be integrated into any existing network.

Flexibility, transparency, and reduced costs

Sensors with an IO-Link interface can supply a wealth of information ‒ process data, parameter settings, and detailed diagnostic data via the existing connection ‒ all in real time. They are also capable, for example, of receiving new parameter sets within seconds for flexible production right down to a batch size of 1. IO-Link offers continuous digital data transmission, thus superseding the classical method of analogue value transmission. It also has significant advantages with regard to electromagnetic compatibility as it allows standard non-shielded cables to be used, thereby reducing cabling costs.

IO-Link makes plug and play a reality

The different parameter settings can be visualised, tested, and, if necessary, optimised during integration and commissioning. Furthermore, it is possible to store different parameter sets in the automation system and upload them to the sensor during operation without any delay. This makes it possible to automatically and remotely configure sensors installed in locations that are difficult to access.

Machines and plants with frequent changeovers between product variants can particularly benefit from this functionality, which enables changeovers to be performed quickly and with a high level of process reliability. Replacing devices also becomes easier. If a sensor is defective, the most recently used parameter set can be automatically transmitted to the replacement sensor via IO-Link.

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