Harnessing sensor data.
Creating value.
Improving simplicity.

SmartBridge® Interface

Sensorik4.0® – the Future Generation of Sensors

Industrie 4.0 needs new components

The overall vision of an Industrie 4.0

“Industrie 4.0” means the networking of all components, machines, and plants with the goal to minimize information and media gaps, optimize processes, and save valuable resources. This vision needs new components that enable an intelligent integration—for Pepperl+Fuchs this is “Sensorik 4.0”.
Sensorik4.0® redefines terms

Sensorik4.0® for Industrie 4.0

Sensorik4.0 redefines the terms identity, communication, and intelligence. The sensor automatically detects its origins and determination. Communication occurs in a new, service-oriented universal language. Collected data is setup specifically to offer the greatest possible benefits to the respective recipient.
IO-Link is an investment in the future

The I40 language of sensors and actuators

IO-Link compatible sensors prepare the technology used today for Industrie 4.0. These sensors have an identity, transmit process data, and inform on their status. SmartBridge technology by Pepper+Fuchs creates a new access channel to this data, giving valuable insights into the condition of machines and plants.
Comfortable use with intuitive apps

Apps turn to the new face of Industrie 4.0

The SmartBridge app makes sensor data visible on your tablet or smartphone. This inside view remarkably eases the control of status and process data. Setting, changing, and copying operating parameters per “touch and type” offers intuitive handling even for more complex sensors.

SmartBridge® Technology for IO-Link Devices

Automation pyramid

SmartBridge technology enables an extended, wireless based channel (“data access channel”) to access information generated by sensors or actuators inside a machine or plant. This data access channel is plugged into the connection line between machine control and an IO-Link compatible field device. Here, the system picks up the digital signal of the IO-Link device and uses Bluetooth to transfer the signal to a mobile device with Internet access. The standard communication channel between field device and control unit remains unaffected by the addition.

This extended, wireless based channel provided by SmartBridge is an important building block for the networking with sensors and actuators in the “industrial internet” of Industrie 4.0.

Horizontal communication
Horizontal communication: within the concept of human-machine interaction, the wireless exchange of process and parameter information from a sensor or an actuatur with the user's mobile device of a establishes a horizontal communication. In a second step, this channel could also be used as a vehicle for a completely autonomous machine-to-machine communication between sensors and actuators.
Vertical communication
Vertical communication: in addition to data exchange with an operator, diagnostic data of sensors and actuators is sent to other company software systems like MES or ERP. Due to the flexible wireless connection, this exchange is not limited to transfer from one communication level to another, but is possible across several levels.
Network communication
Network communication: the new data access channel of SmartBridge also enables a hybrid form of horizontal and vertical communication: via an Internet gateway, any level of an external system could be addressed as well. This is the first step towards connected communication in the sense of Industrie 4.0.

SmartBridge® Components and Features

The SmartBridge system for IO-Link devices

The SmartBridge system consists of a hardware interface (IO-Link/Bluetooth interface) and the SmartBridge app for mobile devices. When the interface is plugged into an existing IO-Link communication between an IO-Link compatible device and a control unit, it displays this information exchange on a mobile device. If the interface is plugged into a connection between an IO-Link compatible device and a conventional control unit, or is being used entirely without a machine control, it works as a master module. In this operating mode, SmartBridge supports the display of all device information as well as the parameterization of IO-Link compatible sensors and actuators.

SmartBridge system

SmartBridge interface
IO-Link Bluetooth interface

The interface operates based on the standardized IO-Link protocol (IEC 61131-9) and is vendor-neutral. Consequently, sensors and actuators from all manufacturers that are part of the IO-Link consortium can be addressed with this interface (see www.io-link.com)—giving you the flexibility to choose the appropriate device for your application.

SmartBridge app
SmartBridge app

The SmartBridge app provides a clean and easily understandable user interface for IO-Link compatible field devices. Once a new device has been detected, required drivers (IO-Link Device Description and Graphical-Interface Description) are loaded automatically. With these driver files, the functionalities of the respective field device get displayed graphically and in clear text for the respective language. You enjoy a very intuitive handling of sensors and actuators.

SmartBridge data logger
Data logging

The interface features a built-in slot for microSD cards. With this additional functionality, you log process data on a memory card and later run an advanced analysis of the recorded data on your desktop PC.

SmartBridge security
Security concept

The SmartBridge system features a rigorous safety concept: only after a clear authentication of permitted hardware and a password check have been passed will the SmartBridge app grants access to connected IO-Link devices.

Use Cases and Advantages

Parameterization of sensors
Parameterization of IO-Link devices

Intelligent sensors and actuators frequently boast a variety of functionalities with the most different parameters. The SmartBridge app displays all of these device functionalities with their respective parameters and allows you to quickly change them without extensive study of manuals.

Commissioning of sensors
Commissioning of machines and plants

During the initial commissioning of machines and plants, various functionalities may not run smoothly right from the start. In these situations, SmartBridge gives you insights whether the parameters of sensors and actuators are correct and if data transfer is working properly.

Error search for sensors
Error search in maintenance cases

Troubleshooting can be an extremely time-consuming task—especially when errors occur at random. In these situations, a data logger protocol for the actual activities is very helpful. In addition to this real-time process information, analyzing historical process data (as operation or function counter) is beneficial as well. SmartBridge enables easy access to both current and historical data of an IO-Link compatible device.

Status monitoring of sensors
Status monitoring of IO-Link compatible devices

Sensors and actuators often times are located at error-prone positions in plants and machines. The reasons for faults and discrepancies vary from mechanical wear-and-tear, to electrical failure, or changes in ambient conditions. In these scenarios, permanent monitoring of limit values is of great use. SmartBridge is suited for long-term application in a machine or plant and transmits relevant process and status information of the IO-Link device to an external monitoring system of your choice.

Contact Us

With SmartBridge, Pepperl+Fuchs is taking a first step on the path towards Sensorik4.0. Contact us now to get more information on the advantages the future holds for you.