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Application report: SFH optimise plant using IO-Link solutions from ifm

SFH develop and produce fluid systems and systems for swarf handling systems. The company has been working very closely with ifm for many years and has now decided to equip their machines with IO-Link sensors and masters to benefit from the advantages of IO-Link: easy parameter setting, fast exchange, remote maintenance and big savings in wiring.

The company was founded in Saint-Étienne (France) in 1981 and relies on a growing green division: Metal 'skeletons' from deep-drawing are cut up, spin-dried and then compressed. The cutting fluid is returned to the machine tools. SFH is active in the aviation, automotive and cosmetics industries. For 20 years, ifm has been the most important supplier of the company and has been working with them on the development of their machines.

In 2017 SFH decided to further develop the machines in their plant and to optimise automation: The focus was put on digital manufacturing and solutions of Industry 4.0. In this respect, SFH use ifm IO-Link sensors and masters.

The O1D120 and O5D100 photoelectric distance sensors are used to measure and monitor the level of the metal swarf to be processed and of other machining wastes. The hydraulic system of the plant was equipped with PN7 pressure sensors and TA temperature sensors.

SFH use AL2401-type IO-Link modules for the IFT200 inductive sensors. Type AL2330 modules are used to control the valve terminal. SFH also use ROP encoders with IO-Link. SFH manage the newly equipped plant with ifm's LR DEVICE software, which enables a complete overview of all sensors. The sensor parameters can be set remotely and visualise collected information. This allows condition-based maintenance of the machines.

By equipping all machines with IO-Link, SFH could benefit from many advantages. Wiring and commissioning of the machines require 30 % less time than before. The data of each sensor is read which considerably simplifies maintenance and remote diagnostics. Furthermore, IO-Link ensures more flexibility: It is now considerably easier to replace sensors and actuators. The required parameters are automatically saved and transferred to the new device.