In my last blog we reviewed how utilizing IO-Link sensors over analog sensors could be cost effective solution as it eliminates need for all the expensive analog I/O cards and shielded cables. In this blog we will see how IO-Link can effectively integrate your analog sensor- in case you want to retrofit your old sensor or maybe just because the IO-Link version for the sensor is not available.
Just to review few main points:
- Your beloved analog sensor typically requires a shielded cable run from the sensor to the control cabinet. The shielded sensor cables are usually 1.5x- 2x the cost of the standard M12 prox cables that you probably use elsewhere in the system.
- Where to connect the shielded cable? Now, you require analog card (typically 4 channel), which is also expensive compared to digital I/O cards — May be equally expensive as the IO-Link card. But, a 4 channel IO-Link master card could offer lot more compared to the 4-channel analog card. Simply put- your analog card can only take another 3 channels of analog signal where as there are a host of devices that you can connect to the IO-Link master to make your system scalable or future proof – more on this later- I get so excited talking about IO-Link.
In any case, coming back to the point- in general we pay a lot of money to add a single analog sensor in the system. What if we could convert the analog signal to digital (same function that the analog card does), closer to the measurement sensor and get the digital data over a standard prox cable back to the control cabinet or to IO-Link? This way, we can totally eliminate or at least reduce the shielded cable run from sensor to the converter.
Balluff offers this A/D converter module — at Balluff we refer to it as “Hobbit” – it is more like a small adapter that fits directly onto a sensor using the standard M12 fittings. The other side is M12 IO-Link connection to take the data back to the controller via an IO-Link master. This single channel “Hobbit” offers 14 bits of conversion – to ensure you don’t lose data in translation.
If you need more than a single channel, Balluff also offers a 4-channel IO-Link hub, this still utilizes only a single port on the IO-Link master. Now, you have 3 or 7 ports (in case of 8 port IO-Link master), open to connect host of other devices such as digital I/O hubs, valve connectors, SmartLights, RFID, color sensors, Pressure sensors, linear measurement devices and so on…
I hope this blog helps you get little more clarity of many benefits of IO-Link. You can always learn more about the benefits of IO-Link at www.balluff.us/iolink.
On behalf of entire Balluff team, I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!