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Unlock the potential of your machines with digital communication

The future of automation starts with IO-Link

Sensors and actuators are the eyes and ears of your equipment. Your machines and processes are limited by what your sensors can tell you. What if you can get more information without increasing cost, engineering time and complexity? What if we told you your existing infrastructure could already provide more insight?

Discover the potential of IO-Link and unlock the data that already exists today!

  • Improve the quality of your process control with a 100% digital signal that is more reliable and accurate than an analog signal.
  • Reduce cycle time for recipe changes because bi-directional communication with process instruments makes it easier.
  • Improve instrument calibration verification processes and product quality with predictive information from sensors.
  • Reduce cost by eliminating analog input cards and reducing size of control cabinets.

What is IO-Link?

IO-Link is an open standard that is globally supported by sensor and controls companies. The IO-Link master replaces a traditional analog input card and allows for a digital communication path to process sensors. The final result is a 100% digital path to your PLC from the field-mounted sensor.

Why has IO-Link been accepted so quickly?

The number of connected IO-Link nodes globally has grown exponentially in recent years. This is due to a number of factors.

Reduced complexity
  • Quick integration into existing controls architecture.
  • Scalable technology - use IO-Link data for simple on/off devices or for complete process transparency.
  • Minimal learning curve.
Reduced cost
  • IO-Link communication is already available in most ifm sensors, so there is no impact on sensor cost.
  • Since analog PLC cards are not required, save approximately 50% per point on your input cards.
Minimal changes required
  • Use standard unshielded cabling for connection.
  • Minimal changes required to existing controls architecture.

Comparison of other communication technologies

When compared to other sensor communications platforms, IO-Link provides the best of both worlds. IO-Link gives you the functionality of analog signals with the intelligence of Ethernet communication at the cost of binary On/Off points.

  Sensor communication
  Binary On/Off Analog IO-Link Ethernet based
Amount of data 1 bit 16 bits 32 bytes Many bytes
Sensor diagnostics    
Remote sensor parameter adjustment    
Automatic sensor parameter replacement    
Standard sensor cordsets  
Digital communication    
Complexity to integrate


Open standard

ifm is a founding member of the IO-Link consortium. In addition to ifm, it is supported by most PLC and Industrial sensor manufacturers. Over 250 members and increasing.

Visit the IO-Link Consortium page.
Full list of members of the IO-Link consortium.

Connected ecosystems

ifm offers one of the largest selections of IO-Link devices in the market. This broad offering allows you to implement a complete IO-Link system on your machines and processes.