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The advantages of IO-Link in practice

Simplifying installation - automating parameter setting – using unified diagnosis.

Parallel wiring eliminated, control cabinet saved

May 5th, 2011 - A manufacturer of packaging machines identified the benefit to simplify the installation and cumulated 50 optoelectronic sensors to 7 IO-Link sensor hubs by Balluff, which in turn were connected to two 4-channel IO-Link masters of the Siemens ET200 system. IO-Link typically a simple three-core sensor cable is sufficient for this purpose.

Sensor hubs with IO Link by Balluff
IO Link sensor hubs cumulate up to 16 switching sensors to only one connection with a three-core sensor cable.

This approach terminates effectively the parallel wiring or eliminates it completely in most cases. So a manufacturer of machine tools saved the whole control cabinet due to this approach.


Connecting instead of wiring is the message. Multi-core cables, multi-core plug-in connections, cables gland, terminal boxes and the associated large wiring plans as well as the expenditure of time for the wiring can be omitted due to IO-Link. Installation engineering via IO-Link needs only the plug-finished sensors round cable, millionfold used by the industry.


IO Link enables the connection with all kinds of sensors and actors.
IO-Link allows the economical connection to all kinds of sensors and actuators (RFID, multiple position switch, Laser distance sensor…)


Also more and more IO-Link actoric concepts are getting used: a manufacturer of machining centres uses, beside IO-Link sensor technology, a large number of IO-Link engine starters and IO-Link actuator hubs for the control of the hydraulic valves, likewise combined with an impressing simplification of the installation.

Central parameter setting accelerates production processes

IO-Link stands for simple and central parameter setting: in former times, using the example of a pressure sensor, one had to adjust manually and time-consumingly the switching point, the hysteresis, the switching characteristics of the NO and NC contacts on sensor’s site.

IO Link reduces the wiring of a valve terminal to a 5-channel sensor cable.
The wiring of a valve terminal by means of parallel interface is reduced to a 5-channel sensor cable.

IO-Link makes for the first time a central parameter setting via the machine’s HMI possible, the accessibility to the sensor is no longer imperative. In the automated case the operator loads central deposited data sets by functional modules into the pressure sensor.


So the parameters of whole groups of equipments can automatically be changed in shortest time, if changes of formats and recipes are requested. Who changes its production plant so fast, benefits competitive advantages.


Lowering costs by intelligent diagnostic concepts

IO-Link enables the transmission of additional information between sensor, actuator and control system trouble-freely and without additional installation expenditure.


The circuit diagram of IO Link integrated in a sensor round cable.
In such way IO-Link is switched inside millionfold used plug-finished sensors round cable.

If a defect or a fault occurs standardized or device-specific diagnostic messages are sent to the control system. Information regarding the operational condition of devices on site is available at any time via acyclic services.


Broken IO-Link field devices can be exchanged without interchanging by mistake due to the IO-Link identification parameters. In case of IO-Link V1.1 the exchange device receives automatically the parameters of its predecessor. So the expenditure is limited to the mechanical exchange of the sensor, the system ensures the correct parameter setting.

Market penetration is growing

Foto of Albert Feinäugle, Head of Marketing Services at Balluff GmbH, Neuhausen a.d.F., Germany
Albert Feinäugle, Head of Marketing Services at Balluff GmbH, Neuhausen a.d.F., Germany

In the meantime ever more IO-Link suited devices are entering the market, among them also signal devices, operator panels, vacuum generators and even miniature drives.


So the customer has the greatest benefit: he/she can produce flexibly and efficiently without having to worry about annoying and time-consuming preparations and setting-ups.


For your questions, comments or inquiries write an email to Albert Feinäugle, please.


Balluff GmbH, Gartenstrasse 21-25, 73765 Neuhausen a.d.F., Germany, phone 00497158-173-0.


More information about IO-Link on the website of Balluff.


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