If sensors are to manage the tasks of the future, they need to do more than simply deliver process data to the machine control. Sensors must be able to communicate with all different kinds of receivers and send and receive data to and from higher-level information systems. Ethernet IO modules with integrated IO-Link master facilitate reliable, efficient communication between management and sensor/actuator levels as they assume a gateway function between Ethernet and IO‑Link. Up to eight IO‑Link devices may be directly connected—four channels are available for sensors, four channels for actuators. The ICE1 series IO-Link master enables integrated diagnostics and parameterization from the control level right down to the sensor level. Commissioning times are also significantly reduced, primarily in large-series production plants.
This means that Ethernet IO modules with integrated IO-Link master can be ideally incorporated into the requirements profile of innovative machine and plant manufacturers—forming a crucial component of Sensorik4.0®.
In addition to the ICE1 masters for PLC-based applications, two other modules are available for use in cloud-based and hybrid systems: the ICE2 (EtherNet/IP) and ICE3 (PROFINET) IO-Link master series. These support the industry’s leading protocols, including EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, and MODBUS TCP, and offer an OPC UA interface in addition to the real-time fieldbus protocol.
The open architecture of OPC UA (Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture) opens up cross-vendor, platform-independent, and interoperable collaboration of machines in production and makes communication between machines and computer- or cloud-based systems possible—both in closed networks and via internet.
Both IO-Link masters come with a completely web-based configuration concept for setting all module parameters and all connected IO-Link devices (web IODD operation). Thus, additional software or a higher-level programmable logic controller (PLC) are not required. When replacing or expanding modules, all module settings can be saved as a separate file and transferred to a new device using the module cloning function. OPC UA ensures a constant exchange of information across all levels so that processes in plants can be designed even more efficiently.
For quick and easy connection and configuration of IO-Link sensors via the USB interface on a computer, Pepperl+Fuchs offers an IO-Link USB master. Sensors can be integrated into an FDT user interface, such as PACTware® software, and parameterized outside the plant, directly via the IODD interpreter.
Using the IODD interpreter, individual IO-Link sensors are cloned easily, by transferring the configuration and parameterization data from one sensor to another. Extensive diagnostic options are also available during the setup process. For example, the data, stability, and functional reserve of a sensor signal can be checked and adjusted. The IO-Link USB master therefore offers the possibility to perform simple configuration and parameterization of IO-Link sensors outside the plant.
The ICE 2 and ICE3 IO-Link master series come with an OPC UA interface and a real-time fieldbus protocol, making them an ideal solution for cloud-based applications. Read more about possible scenarios in our blog.