Flexible manufacturing has never been easier or more cost effective to implement, even down to lot-size-one, now that IO-Link has become an accepted standard. Fixed control and buried information is no longer acceptable. Driven by the needs of IIoT and Industry 4.0, IO-Link provides the additional data that unlocks the flexibility in modern automation equipment, and it’s here now! As evidence, here are the top five examples of IO-Link enabled flexibility:
#5. Quick Change Tooling: The technology of inductive coupling connects standard IO-Link devices through an airgap. Change parts and End of Arm (EOA) tooling can quickly and reliably be changed and verified while maintaining connection with sensors and pneumatic valves. This is really cool technology…power through the air!
#4. On-the-fly Sensors Programming: Many sensor applications require new settings when the target changes, and the targets seem to always change. IO-Link enables this at minimal cost and very little time investment. It’s just built in.
#3. Flexible Indicator Lights: Detailed communication with the operators no long requires a traditional HMI. In our flexible world, information such as variable process data, timing indication, machine status, run states and change over verification can be displayed at the point of use. This represents endless creativity possibilities.
#2. Low cost RFID: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been around for a while. But with the cost point of IO-Link, the applications have been rapidly climbing. From traditional manufacturing pallets to change-part tracking, the ease and cost effectiveness of RFID is at a record level. If you have ever thought about RFID, now is the time.
#1. Move Away from Discrete to Continuously Variable Sensors: Moving from discrete, on-off sensors to continuously variable sensors (like analog but better) opens up tremendous flexibility. This eliminates multiple discrete sensors or re-positioning of sensors. One sensor can handle multiple types and sizes of products with no cost penalty. IO-Link makes this more economical than traditional analog with much more information available. This could be the best technology shift since the move to Ethernet based I/O networks.
Balluff speaks IO-Link in All Areas of Automation:
The seamless communication from the sensor to the network is essential for fast, flexible and efficient production. At the same time, a growing amount of data needs to be managed, which requires components that make information available and an infrastructure that transports them across all levels.
With IO-Link, you communicate from the control unit down to the lowest level of automation through a universally applicable standard interface for communication. With IO-Link enabled sensors, I/O hubs and RFID installed on the line, systems can communicate directly to the controller via the network level to guarantee efficiency.
IO-Link from Balluff comprises sensors and fieldbus technology with an extremely wide range of function principles. Using fieldbus systems like PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CC-Link, CC-Link IE and EtherCAT, Balluff speaks IO-Link in all areas of automation.
Call us at 800-214-0322 for more information about our Balluff products.