Articles Archive > Simpler addressing
I/O modules with integrated display - world-wide for the first time on the market

Simpler addressing, manipulation protection,
easier maintenance

As world-wide the first supplier Balluff integrates highlighted LCDs into field bus I/O modules. This simplifies engineering and start-up for the machine-builder. The user of machines and plants is benefiting from more safety in the plants, shortened downtimes and easier maintenance.

Addressing becoming simpler

April 16th, 2012 - While still two decimal rotary switches were sufficient to set up the address of the I/O module to the network (address range 0-99) with Profibus or DeviceNet, IP addresses with their four bytes can only be insufficiently set up with rotary switches.


With Ethernet/IP the module receives its own IP address in the network. This address, the subnet screen form and the gateway address are directly entered into the module via two pushbuttons with the help of an intuitively operated menu. Once adjusted, they are recallable at any time at the push of a button, with some models also the adjusted Baud rate can be read.

Protection against manipulation

So far only the new I/O modules from Balluff offer the possibility of directly using a digital display to protect machines or plants against deliberate or unconscious manipulation. After the input of the address in the editing mode, a so-called „lock bit“ can be set up by the control system (PLC) disallowing a further re-programming of the address.


Who turns now from the display mode to the editing mode of the equipment addressing, will look there at the settled lock symbol in form of a key. Thoughtless changing of the address is not possible at this point; deliberate manipulating at least not manageable without hurdles, inquiry call and documentation by the PLC.

Integrated equipment identification

By pressing the key can be gotten to know rapidly and at a glance, which hardware and which software version are locally in use.


This is of advantage whenever for example the current status must be determined during maintenance or extension work.

Easier maintenance

Don’t search for a while gets quickly to the point is the motto. Two each bright red and green LEDs are integrated components of the display; the lights are independently of the module only controllable by the PLC. Via this function the user may specify reasonable states or circumstances, with whose entries the red, the green or both lamps (yellow) will light up.


Now the operator can purposefully actuate a module that will quickly identify itself by green or red shining LEDs being fast detectable. In comparable way matching modules of a certain cluster can be actuated. If a LED of a module does not light up, it could be a sign of malfunction.


The search & rescue function makes it also possible to visualize, which modules lie on the same subnet screen form. This is particularly helpful if duplicated lines are using same addresses but different screen forms or gates. A red shining LED can also indicate, provided accordingly specified by the PLC, that and where immediate actions are required in the process such as an exceeding the temperature. A comparable function is not available on the market by now.

Integrated web server

An integrated web server shows a close-to-reality picture of the I/O module as well as the current status of the signal LEDs. This applies not only for the process data but also for the bus signals.


In such a way the web server enables to pass on process images, settings and faults (diagnosis) without large expenditure via the Standard Intranet to the central coordination. So diagnosis and maintenance can centrally be managed and faults rapidly located.




Jürgen Gutekunst
Head of the Business Units Networking and Systems
Balluff GmbH, email juergen.gutekunst(at)


Balluff GmbH, Gartenstrasse 21-25, 73765 Neuhausen a.d.F., Germany
Phone +49(0)7158-173-0, Fax +49(0)7158-5010, Internet


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from Quest Trend Magazine No. 21
Print edition