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Introducing Murrelektronik’s new IO-Link system – functions and benefits

Author : Q&A with Craig Cookson, UK Applications Engineer

26 January 2022

Craig Cookson, UK Applications Engineer at Murrelektronik, answers questions about the company's new IO-Link system – specifically its functions and benefits.

Murrelektronik has recently expanded its IO-Link portfolio. Can you tell me about the new products?  

We have expanded our portfolio both in "Master" devices and "Slave" devices. Firstly, Murrelektronik has added Masters in two of our core fieldbus ranges – Impact and MVK, presenting customers with a better IO-Link offering. The new Impact Pro and MVK Pro are both 8 port IO link master devices with all eight connecting ports having fully flexible functionality. Each port has the possibility to be an IO-Link master (pin 4 only) or fully useable as an input or output (both pins 4 and 2 on all ports). In addition to providing more IO-link ports, the system currents have also increased with 2A available per pin and 4A for each port in total current and 2x16A supplies via an M12 L coded power pin into the block and daisy chainable to the next fieldbus device. 

The new slave devices are all about flexibility to suit your application. Our original IO-Link hubs offer the simplicity of “plug and play” with minimal configuration required so were presented as fixed input devices or fixed input and output devices. However, the slave hubs in new our range are fully flexible being input/output devices, so each pin on each port can be configured as the user needs. There is also now an added advantage of an M8 port offering for the IO link hubs, enabling a more compact field mounted device. This adds more flexibility for mounting position and easy connection to M8 sensors. There is also a new product coming for temperature to IO link converters – watch this space! 

What are the products designed to do?

The new products are designed for flexibility in design and commissioning, our IO link fieldbus products have always offered flexibility to a degree, but these new products are far more advanced, offering an expanded number of master ports and flexible Input/Output pins on slaves. By having the eight ports as master we also can enable IIoT integration and have tested for parallel access using the IIOT protocols JSON, OPC UA and MQTT among others.  

Why should UK designers and OEMs consider specifying these products?  

Murrelektronik has a long history of producing fieldbus products with a rugged housing and in-built protection for short circuit and overload. The zinc alloy-based housing of the MVK module is designed for chemically aggressive environments, such as machining or chemical cleaning lines – we have customers in many industries that have these exact requirements and specify this module. In contrast, the Impact module is built with a plastic body to reduce cost but still has a focus on protection and diagnostics. The main differences between the two being the reduced chemical resistance. Impact is still tested for IP67 and, as with all IP rated Murrelektronik components, our products are tested not just achieve the IP67 tests and specification but to double the minimum requirements. All Murrelektronik products have the highest of quality standards and testing – we don’t batch test. All products are tested at all required points of manufacturing down to individual cables being electrical tested during manufacture. 

What applications are these new products ideal for? 

Craig Cookson, UK Applications Engineer
Craig Cookson, UK Applications Engineer

These new IO Link modules are suitable for most applications. But my advice is, talk to us first. We offer a free system consultation service and can answer all your questions about all systems with different focuses and requirements, making the best recommendation for your application. When considering adding IO Link to your system, it’s important to identify how you will make use of the function. IO-link can offer so many benefits in terms of flexibility, in my experience working with machine builders, there is frequently a need for a specification change or an additional requirement that only becomes apparent during build. An IO Link system is flexible enough to soak that additional requirement easily, as a spare port can expand the basic IO, connect to a smart sensor, or be used for analogue converter so these additions/changes don’t have as great an impact on the timescale or profit realised from the project. If the focus is Industry 4.0 or IIoT, then this is difficult to realise without implementing IO-link because the additional information contained within IO-link/smart sensors is key to the additional data fields required to make these goals a reality. 

Why are there eight multifunctional class A/B ports? What would these be used for?

IO-link class A is a smart device with IO-link communication, that only needs a single power source. This primary power source normally powers the chip and logic for comms and basic input information, it can be used for outputs but then there is the risk of losing that communication under overload or short circuit condition. However, with class B, there is a second current carrying pair and supply, meaning that any output IO link devices won’t lose connection and communication if any problems are experienced making our additional diagnostics still available for better issue resolution and speedier fixes as the required parts may be obtained before having to go and investigate. 

How beneficial are these to companies developing IIoT solutions/equipment? 

If IIoT solutions are a focus then the new master products, Impact and MVK Pro are a must! Using IO-Link for additional smart data fields is the only way to really achieve these goals. With our tested and protected systems providing focused diagnostics, there is no better device to retrieve this data. We have seen this goal and realised devices ideal for retrieving the IIoT data and tested the devices in the most common methods and protocols. 

As a UK manufacturer, will these products be a benefit when manufacturing equipment for use both in the UK and for export?

Absolutely, we have developed these products with international sales in mind, we have covered the major three fieldbus protocols, (Profinet, Ethernet IP, and Ethercat) we have used M12 L coded for the power feeds, and have certified them in all major industrial countries and standards.  

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