SPS Report 3: IO-Link

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IO-Link is a fieldbus-neutral, point-to-point connection and communication method for intelligent IO.  I think of it as HART for discrete because it superimposes a digital signal over the regular wiring.  More information on IO-Link is at www.IO-Link.com.   And for my past posts on the topic, use the IO-Link tag.

IO-Link was big again this year:
big_io-link450

And it has reached critical mass.  There were many suppliers who had adopted it; many tool providers; many semiconductor providers; many inquiries in the US.  Here is the IO-Link wall in the PI Booth (note the non-PROFI masters on the wall):
io-link_wall450
        (click for larger image)

IO-Link was visible in many other booths as well, including PTO member Phoenix Contact:
io-link_phx450
        (click for larger image)

Siemens introduced a new range of IO-Link products at the fair as well.  Their IO-Link adapter has been available for a while.  It allows a standard sensor to communicate using IO-Link, thus allowing some diagnostic information to be communicated (wire break being one example):
io-link_adapter450

Siemens intelligent starters and contactors just started shipping the Monday before the fair.  These products were previously available with direct wiring and with an AS-I interface that mimicked the hard wiring; i.e., diagnostic information was not communicated.  The IO-Link versions communicate a wealth of information.  They can report information useful in asset management, like the number of cycles the contacts have made.  Predictive maintenance could therefore be implemented.  Reactive maintenance can be pinpointed, too, if for example, the contacts welded shut.
io-link_starters450

Watch for a lot more activity with IO-Link in the near future.

–Carl Henning

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