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IO-Link: Not just a sensor/actuator interface

Author : David Dearden, Euchner

31 August 2022

In this article, Euchner’s UK&I Country Manager, David Dearden, looks at the growing popularity of IO-Link – especially within the machinery safety industry – and how its adoption can help machine builders and end users roll out an effective preventative maintenance programme, maintain efficient processes, and protect personnel.

IO-Link is a standardised I/O technology for transmitting point-to-point data to different fieldbus systems or PLCs. It readily lets you control and operate devices, communicate diagnostic data and present parameter settings to and from field devices (including safety interlocks), using vendor agnostic communication standards.
Even for products that do not contain an embedded IO-Link connection, there are solutions for retrofitting. For example, Euchner’s IO-Link Gateways (the GWY-CB and ESM-CB) can be installed using existing standard sensor and actuator cables, and serve as the interface between the safety interlock and the IO-Link master on the PLC or fieldbus. This use of existing/standard cables and plug connectors makes IO-Link economical, easier to connect and install different products, and versatile.

An Euchner IO-Link Gateway and up to 20 safety devices using them can transmit both cyclical (process) data – which the system continuously supplies to the IO-Link master – and acyclical (device/event) data, which can be polled specifically as needed. Process data includes door position status, actuator limit range, safety outputs state, general error messages, guard locking state, locking element state, and escape release state. Device/event data includes the sensor version/order number, number of devices in a chain, current/stored diagnostic code, code of current/blocked/taught-in actuator, voltage, temperature, number of switching cycles, and LOG files.

Industry 4.0 and IO-Link
With the push towards Industry 4.0 (which both produces and requires significant amounts of data), one question being asked is: what is the retrieved data being used for, and how can that data be analysed?

Read the full article in DPA's September issue

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