How IO-Link Improves Sensor-Level Diagnostics and Communication

Sensors are a fundamental piece of an automated environment. With the continuing focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), many engineers are exploring how IO-Link can unlock data in industrial sensors in a way that wasn’t possible before.

IO-Link is a global standard that improves communication from sensors and actuators so engineers can better understand what’s happening on the plant floor, at the sensor level.

With this capability, manufacturers can use data and diagnostics to improve productivity and reduce downtime through parameterization. Design engineers can simplify configuration and reduce machine costs by decreasing the number of I/O connections needed in an application, and better connect their plant to take advantage of the IIoT.

IO-Link is a certified industrial standard for sensor communication that is based on a point-to-point connection between a sensor, actuator or I/O hub, and an interface module. The technology was created by a consortium of manufacturers to improve sensor-level communication in industrial environments.

When a sensor is IO-Link capable, it can communicate more detailed information about what’s happening at the device level. At the control panel, the operator can use this data to make decisions about the system and maintenance needs.

With IO-Link, sensors can communicate more than just the basics. They can communicate about health, safety, and environmental factors, such as specific temperature, placement of a position element, or if a pressure rating has been exceeded.

IO-Link can benefit nearly all industrial automation environments where there is interest in learning more about what’s happening at the sensor level. This is especially helpful for companies looking to adopt IIoT practices. Sensor parameterization and validation, improved data and diagnostics, and reduced machine costs are three leading reasons why OEMs and manufacturers choose to implement IO-Link systems.

>>Read more by Tony Udelhoven, Design News, 10/13/16