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Two different industries, two different challenges, one solution.
John works the third shift as a maintenance manager at an automotive plant. When a sensor failed, a machine stopped on his production line. After some time, he determined that it was a pressure sensor, but he did not know the parameters to set for the replacement sensor, and had to search for them. John’s production line was down for two hours, resulting in lost revenue.
At a nearby food processing facility, Bob works as a process engineer. He relies on process equipment for blending ingredients. The ingredients must maintain a target temperature for sufficient mixing, so temperature sensors are manually calibrated weekly to match plc control parameters. When Bob realized the temperature display for a batch was incorrect, the batch had to be discarded.
The solution – ifm IO-Link enabled sensors!
Both challenges could have been avoided if John and Bob had IO-Link enabled sensors. With IO-Link, if a sensor fails, the plc is alerted and the replacement sensor maintains the established parameters. IO-Link enabled sensors eliminate the opportunity for human error in process control. Plus, the pure digital signal provides accurate and reliable controls.
What is IO-Link technology?
IO-Link technology is a point-to-point communication interface for the connection of sensors and actuators to a control system. It is a neutral interface, independent of fieldbus systems, designed to unlock the intelligence found in standard sensors. With IO-Link technology, the last meter of data is a super highway of information.
IO-Link unlocks the trapped intelligence in your sensors
Whether we work in an industrial or a process control environment, we rely on sensors. Sensors are smart devices. Much of the data they can provide us with is trapped data that we are not trying to access. Why is that?
It’s because of the limits of today’s control architecture. Sensors transmit simple On/Off signals or analog signals because that is what the plc can accept. Typically, to get a better highway of sensor data delivered to us, investments are made in expensive field bus networks that only work with their own type of bus. These systems often utilize network capacity, limiting the number of I/O.
Today’s sensors have evolved from standard switches with simple on/off capabilities to highly intelligent units with built-in microprocessors. This means that it is possible to receive diagnostic information for predictive maintenance or to parameterize a sensor for real-time “recipe changes” during production.
Thanks to IO-Link technology, the new international standard for sensors and actuators, you can tap into all of your trapped sensor data at very little cost. There’s no longer a need for a big investment in a fieldbus network that requires specific wires or cables.
And because IO-Link uses your existing connectors and does not require any special wiring, you have more flexibility for your production and maintenance – at no increase in cost.
Another advantage is that IO-Link uses standardized interfaces that work with all IO-Link technology. If a sensor fails, it can be replaced without interrupting your production line. There is no need to manually re-program parameters because with automatic sensor replacement, the sensor will remember the setpoints and calibrate to the original parameters. You’ll never need to shut down your operations for adjustments!
Uniform setup and configuration, regardless of manufacturer
Each manufacturer’s sensor has its own interface and configuration settings. IO-Link has solved this problem by creating standardization of all IO-Link enabled sensors, regardless of the manufacturer.