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IO-Link technology

An intelligent way to communicate to sensors

Manufacturing plants worldwide are preparing to leverage data and information technology to improve their overall equipment efficiency. IO-Link is a breakthrough technology that will make this possible. IO-Link allows the pathway for sensors to communicate diagnostic information to the PLC and directly to higher-level business control systems.

System overview

  1. IO-Link masters – gateways between intelligent IO-Link enabled devices and the fieldbus. Available in 4-port and 8-port versions for IP67 industrial automation environments, IP69K washdown environments and IP20 cabinet mount versions.
  2. LR Device parameterization software – read and write parameter sets on IO-Link masters and devices via a central point on the network.
  3. Ethernet / Fieldbus cabling – adding IO-Link technology to your current controls architecture requires very little changes and cost. IO-Link is not a fieldbus, but rather a new way to communicate to sensors. It uses the same cabling and system design as your current control system. In fact, if you are using ifm sensors, you might already have IO-Link!
  4. IO-Link devices – IO-Link is a serial, bi-directional, point-to-point connection for signal transmission. Sensors featuring embedded IO-Link behave the same way as standard I/O sensors you’re already using until you connect them to an IO-Link master. That’s how you access all the advanced data and configuration capabilities of IO-Link with a conventional 3-wire unshielded patchcord.
  5. Standard industrial cordsets – IO-Link uses standard unshielded cordsets to connect to IO-Link enabled sensors.
  6. Input / Output hubs – use the IO-Link bandwidth to transport the status of simple ON / OFF devices.
  7. IIoT communication port – separate Ethernet connection from the DataLine and CabinetLine masters. The IIoT port requires its own IP address and offers a safe physical connection to the IT world so you can transfer data directly to your higher-level software without tying up the resources of your PLC.

In summary, IO-Link:

  • Is an IEC 61131-9 global standard digital communication protocol
  • Is point-to-point communication, not a fieldbus
  • Is a complement to control systems utilizing Ethernet-base fieldbus such as Ethernet/IP
  • Uses standard, unshielded device cordsets – M8, M12, etc. with a 20 m maximum length
  • Allows device to send and receive significantly more data
    • Digital measured value of sensor’s process data
    • Parameter setting and monitoring
    • Event and diagnostic data
  • Allows for connection of standard I/O (binary sensors)
  • Is the foundation of the “Digital Factory”