Fieldbus-Independent Sensor/Actuator Communication With IO Link


Hanover, April 24th, 2006: Well-known manufacturers of sensors, actuators and automation technology have established the "IO Link" working group under the umbrella of PROFIBUS International (PI). Their goal is to develop the specification for a fieldbus-independent communication interface for intelligent sensors and actuators in production automation. The scope of the specification work will focus on the transmission physics (electrical and mechanical properties, topology), sensor/actuator communication with the IO assemblies, a neutral data interface to the higher-level communication system and engineering.


For the "last meter to the process" inexpensive point-to-point connection between sensor/actuator and the I/O assembly is maintained. Diagnosis and parameter information between sensor/actuator and the automation system will be exchanged with IO Link in addition to the measurement signal through the specified communication mechanism, thereby maximizing the performance of state-of-the-art intelligent sensors and actuators.


IO Link makes it possible for users to take advantage of automation solutions with system-wide, open communication to the individual sensor/actuator. IO Link allows to dynamically change device parameters through the PLC directly or uniform diagnosis information to the sensor/actuator level, as well as to easily exchange devices during operation. In particular, a "teach-in" can be executed with IO Link for easy and precise sensor settings. For the user, this means increased system availability, reduced downtimes and shorter maintenance times.


IO Link has been designed as an open interface and can be integrated in all current communication systems in automation. The mapping is developed on the PROFIBUS, Interbus and PROFINET fieldbus systems as a first step. The standardization in accordance with IEC is ongoing.

By: Weber