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Factory Sorting Station for Material Handling


IO-Link Enabled Factory Sorting

The Application

A large material handling OEM/integrator was using a competitor’s product for communication of their distributed I/O on the sorter. The competitor's solutions were proprietary, making components expensive and hard to source. The integrator was looking for a solution that would fit into their existing system design with minimal redesigns required from both a mechanical and electrical perspective.


The Goal

They needed a new solution that offered an open standard as well as scalability. This would eliminate the limited resource for components and provide a more cost-effective solution. They were also looking for a solution that would work within their existing programmable logic controller (PLC) control platform. 


The Solution

After extensive testing in their lab and the field, they went with our ICE1 IO-Link block with R100 series retroreflective sensors. The ICE1 IO-Link block provided the required I/O.  IO-Links utilization of standard M12 connections and cables helped offset the cost from the previous solution, which required expensive proprietary wiring solutions. The OEM field mounted the ICE1 IO-Link block with R100 series retroreflective sensors on their conveyers. Using standard Ethernet and M12 cables, this eliminated the need for a conduit.  This allowed them to make the migration to the Pepperl+Fuchs product with little to no modifications to their existing infrastructure. IO-Links usage of standard industrial Ethernet protocols also eliminated costly communication cards required before to communicate to their PLC platforms.

The Benefits

IO-Link is an open standard allowing the OEM to use multiple products from multiple manufacturers in the IO-Link Community. With this new solution, scalability was made simple, they were able to grow from a single conveyer to thousands of feet of conveyors.


At a Glance

  • An OEM needed a solution for communicating with their distributed I/O on the sorter.
  • The OEM field mounted the ICE1 IO-Link block with R100 series retroreflective sensors on their conveyers. 
  • Using standard Ethernet and M12 cables.


Technical Features

  • Retro-reflective sensors provide a longer sensing range.
  • Ethernet IO modules for up to 16 digital sensors and actuators.
  • Flexible automation solutions and real-time data transfer.


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