IO link is a new sensor interface protocol, especially suited for smart sensors as well as existing sensors. It simply means one tool for all sensors with one single interface. It integrates with most of the well known field bus interfaces like Profinet, Ethernet etc . IO link technology enhances the use of smart sensors (Highly intelligent interface circuit with micro-controller).

Use of smart sensors provides precise control over automation. Smart sensors contain interfacing circuits which help to take independent decisions. IO link helps in maximum consistency and efficiency by providing benefits like integrated diagnostics , Remote Parametrization, Backward Compatibility etc.

Main aggregate for IO link is “IO link Master” which communicates with control system on Field-Bus like Profinet, Ethernet etc.

The Master is linked to field elements like discrete device, analog device & smart sensors (maximum distance between master & device is 20 meters ).

Each IO link device has an IODD file (Input Output Device Description) which provides information about :

  • Communication Properties
  • Identification, Process & Diagnostic Data
  • Logo of manufacturer
  • Device data etc

IO link is becoming essential in the implementation of industry 4.0. It is helpful in optimizing usage of assets and hence enhancing plant efficiency.

Use of IO link technology ensures :

  • Parametrization
  • Diagnostics
  • Ability to change the sensor’s settings without stopping the line
  • Plug and play capability
  • Backward compatibility
  • Integrated web server for configuration & diagnostics
  • Some IO link master modules can directly transmit data to management software such as SAP and many more.

As automation is becoming more complex, with a lot of demand on consistency and more production volume, the demand for having trained and expert decision makers will be a major issue. Manpower costs are increasing worldwide. The use of IO link technology in the factory will ensure faster usage of smart sensors in control systems incorporating state of an art Automation.

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