If you are an electrical engineer, and you work on industrial systems with PLCs and RTUs, and cable ducts jammed with copper wire bundles, you may be looking for an alternative.

Enter the IO-Link – an alternative method to field wiring that creates a “modular” approach. It allows universal communication from individualized automation processes all the way to the main control unit… and vice versa. IO-Link makes it simpler, smarter, and creates a universal language of communication throughout the process which makes diagnostics easier as well. IO-Link has been called the “USB interface” of automation because it’s so universal.

What is IO-Link?

IO-Link is a powerful standard (IEC 61131-9) for setting up intelligent solutions for industrial automation. The digital interface is a fieldbus-neutral, point-to-point connection. It is the first globally standardized IO-technology that communicates from the controller down to the lowest automation level and integrates sensors as well as actuators at the fieldbus level.

IO-Link can be used universally

The interface communicates from the controller down to the lowest automation level and can be connected with nearly any fieldbus system. You only need a standard cable and a standardized port with M5, M8 or M12 connectors. Furthermore, using IO-Link, sensors can be built in directly at the location of operation, where they are optimally placed in terms of technical aspects of the process.

IO-Link is an intelligent enabler of technology

The standard enables the exchange of process data, service data and events. In doing so, IO-Link offers the possibility of saving parameter data directly in the IO-Link master. That gives the advantage of allowing the saved information to be automatically taken over during a device exchange. Thus, parameter data for a new, identical replacement device can be used easily, saving time and reducing errors.

IO-Link is simple

IO-Link makes the installation and the exchange of new devices easier and guarantees error-free data transfer. Each device has an IODD (IO Device Description). There, information on the manufacturer, the article number or the function is saved and is clearly readable. The clear classification enables easy parameterization, error analysis and process oversight, all of which is also possible from mobile end devices, regardless of location. The accessibility of the sensors no longer plays a role thanks to IO-Link. The relevant information is saved and can be called up at a central location in the controller.

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