System overview IO-Link

What is IO-Link?

IO-Link is a standardized communication system for integrating intelligent sensors and actuators into the control level and communicating with them (IEC 61131-9). Intelligent means that a device can supply process data, diagnostic data, and device information and that these can be read or written via the IO-Link protocol. Parameters can then be changed, in some cases during operation, via the superimposed PLC. IO-Link specifies three communication speeds: COM1, COM2, and COM3 at 4.8 kbaud, 38.4 kbaud, and 230.4 kbaud.

IO-Link technology

An IO-Link system consists of an IO-Link master and an IO-Link device, which are connected via an unshielded 3-wire sensor cable. The IO-Link master is the interface to the higher-level controller and handles communication with the IO-Link device. An IO-Link master can have one or more ports. However, only one IO-Link device can be connected to each port. IO-Link is therefore point-to-point communication and is the next evolutionary stage of the previous tried-and-tested connection technology for sensors and actuators.

Each IO-Link can also be used as a digital input or digital output. This means that free IO-Link ports on the masters can be used for standard signals.

Beckhoff IO-Link products

As an IO-Link manufacturer and community member, Beckhoff offers IO-Link masters and devices/hubs with an IP20 protection rating (EtherCAT Terminals, EtherCAT plug-in modules, and bus terminals) for use in control cabinets and with an IP67 protection rating (EtherCAT Box modules, IO-Link box modules) for modular machine concepts with devices located in the field.

The project planning and parameterization for the IO-Link devices is carried out from TwinCAT via ADS or simply via the integrated IO-Link commissioning tool. The tool enables automatic scanning of the IO-Link devices, convenient sensor parameter processing, and an integrated online search for sensor description files, along with other functions.

IO-Link application example

This diagram shows an example control system with IO-Link integration. The EtherCAT Box modules act as IO-Link masters and, on the lower level, as IO-Link devices.

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