Using IO-Link on an existing network; Add scalability to your application


“I already have an existing network (PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, CC-Link, etc…) so why would I be interested in an IO-Link enhancement?”

The answer is simple, instant SCALABILITY!

What do I gain by having an additional 4 IO-Link channels?

  • Open architecture, add any vendors IO-Link device to your existing network up to 20 meters away using standard sensor/actuator cordsets
    • For example:
      • Add up to 16 I/O points from an IO-Link channel using IO-Link I/O hubs
      • Add a channel of analog, by using an IO-Link analog-to-IO-Link converter, providing up to 14-bit resolution
      • Add a RF Identification read/write device
      • Add a color sensor, who parameters can be recipe driven from a controller
      • Add a distant measurement device that provides a high-resolution distance value, as well as set points
      • Control a valve manifold using an IO-Link valve controller
  • Diagnostic capabilities down to the IO-Link device level
    • Receive as much device diagnostic information as an equivalent network product
    • Receive IO-Link device and cordset health diagnostics
  • Cost savings
    • No need to add new network nodes
    • No need to add more network cordsets
    • Use standard sensor/actuator cordsets
    • Use lower cost IO-Link devices vs. network devices
    • Faster network commissioning, less nodes
  • Less downtime
    • Fast IO-Link device replacement
      • Plug and Play and Walk away on devices using default parameter values
      • Plug and Play and Walk away and have the controller download saved parameter values when needed
    • Troubleshoot a point-to-point connection, not a network
  • Higher Uptime
    • Recipe driven parameter changes from the controller
    • Robust IO-Link signal passes through the application, instead of a network signal
    • Continuous monitoring of process data

What is involved in making the change?

1.  Replace an existing network I/O module with an IO-Link network proxy/gateway.  Yes, this means adding GSD file(s) and making changes in the network configuration software, but you were already going to have to do this and think of what you gain. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

2.   Replace existing I/O wiring.  Depending on the number of pre-existing I/O points, this could involve using one IO-Link channel with and IO-Link I/O expansion device. (Figure 2)

Figure 2
Figure 3

To see IO-Link products click here, and to view all vendors of IO-Link devices click here.

John Harmon has experience and knowledge of the industrial automation industry with Balluff. With his product and industry knowledge, he is sharing his passion for automation with Automation Insights.

2 Replies to “Using IO-Link on an existing network; Add scalability to your application”

  1. The pictures are very helpful, I was trying to figure out how you where talking about the network and then I scrolled down and man what an amazing way to visualize what you are talking about. Great article.

    1. John Harmon says:

      Hello Jim,

      Thank you for the comments. You are correct, the pictures do drive the point home. It is always difficult to visualize a network topology in text.



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