Interfacing Intelligent Sensors With Industrial Ethernet Networks

Types of distributed modular I/O slave devices that have implemented IO-Link communications include specialty sensors for measurement, position and color detection, valve manifold control, and industrial RFID processors and heads.   (Source: Balluff Inc.)
Types of distributed modular I/O slave devices that have implemented IO-Link communications include specialty sensors for measurement, position and color detection, valve manifold control, and industrial RFID processors and heads.
(Source: Balluff Inc.)

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
User Rank
Extension of Ethernet Network
apresher   10/23/2012 5:52:41 PM
Chuck, I am not sure about the development history of IO-Link. Clearly it was motivated by the need for an inexpensive way to easily set dconfiguration parameters, monitor systems and do troubleshooting of inexpensive devices linked to a fieldbus network.  Automation suppliers have widely embraced it for all of those reasons.  The overhead and expense of adding Ethernet to these simpler devices, such as sensors, plus the openness of the technology has also played a key role in its gaining support.  

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Re: Extension of Ethernet Network
Jack Rupert, PE   10/23/2012 2:26:41 PM
Chuck,  I think the idea was to have a standard type of communication topoology regardless of the bus structure.  Basically, it's due to the many different types of bus out there.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: Extension of Ethernet Network
Charles Murray   10/17/2012 4:47:52 PM
Interesting article, Al. What's the history of IO-Link? Did this grow up in response to Industrial Ethernet, or did it exist in some other form previously?

User Rank
Re: Extension of Ethernet Network
naperlou   10/17/2012 11:36:18 AM
apresher, the important thing is that Ethernet brings a lot of advantages to the industrial environment, while having a different structure than networking protocols that were designed for that environment.  The idea of a two tier approach, with another protocol handling the shorter distance, lower speed aspects of the last foot, is almost inevitable.  With the availability of standardized modules that interface these other bus technologies with Ethernet, a system can be created that easily handles modules with different protocols in the same system.  As long as the programmer can treat these as I/O points on the Ethernet network, then various suppliers can be used without unduly restricting the design.  This is the essence of the systems approach.

User Rank
Extension of Ethernet Network
apresher   10/17/2012 9:41:37 AM
Helge, Excellent discussion and analysis. The point is that these technologies can extend networking functionality at low cost the last foot, and provide a way to increase the intelligence of these devices without costs especially for setting parameters, configuration and diagnostics.  Thanks.

Helge Hornis
User Rank
IO-Link ... a possible solution for "the last foot"
Helge Hornis   10/17/2012 9:30:12 AM
It is important to clearly separate IO-Link and whatever Ethernet based protocol a user might select.  While IO-Link adds functionality and diagnostics capability to an "end device" it is still, as was pointed out, a parallel wiring technology and does therefor not simplify installations using Ethernet.  As was pointed out the overhead associated with Ethernet is significant.  This makes it necessary for Ethernet field I/O to have a relatively high I/O count; perhaps 16 or 32 I/O points per module.  IO-Link is not going to change that fact.  Considering applications in material handling or storage and retrieval such a high I/O count results in setting up an Ethernet network PLUS a significant parallel (i.e. hardwired) cabling to the sensors and actuators.  IO-Link or not, the extra material (cordsets, wiring duct ...) needed is still considerable.  In those cases a highly decentralized solutions like AS-Interface offers better functionality, faster installation, reduced material and ultimately lover cost.  And since AS-Interface makes use of a proven installation piercing technology adding low density I/O wherever necessary is possible. It should also be mentioned that AS-Interface does not replace Ethernet. On the contrary, users selecting any Ethernet solution will simply add the appropriate gateway and then collect field I/O through low density/ low cost I/O modules (some are as little as a book of matches.)  From the PLC's point of view a gateway is simply an Ethernet I/O module with hundreds of I/O points.   

Partner Zone
More Blogs
The phablet wars continue. Today we welcome the Nexus 6 -- a joint collaboration between Google and Motorola.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation call this deep learning.
Thanksgiving is a time for family. A time for togetherness. A time for… tech?
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
Design News Webinar Series
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Dec 1 - 5, An Introduction to Embedded Software Architecture and Design
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service