Smart sensors using the IO-Link protocol will help boost industrial IoT development.
Factory automation environments are currently experiencing a massive surge in the number of sensors deployed. These sensors measure everything from temperature to proximity and weight to pressure, as well as a host of other variables. The key trend is smart sensors. Traditional industrial sensors simply communicate an analog voltage/current, or a digital on/off signal. Smart sensors communicate critical parameters enhancing the agility of modern factories and enabling rapid process decisions. Furthermore, these smart sensors add critical pieces to the Big Data resource that will eventually allow for better plant optimization and/or predict the maintenance and/or failure of critical systems.
While there are various communication protocols for sensors, the fastest growth is now occurring with the new and open standard called IO-Link. This simple interface, based on the popular 3-wire sensor cable, allows users to build relatively inexpensive sensor systems with a minimal set of components. The simplicity of this sensor protocol has resulted in a double digit compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of IO-Link sensors deployed within the control and automation market. IO-Link can be used wherever analog or digital sensors were previously used—and it provides significantly more information and affords higher levels of configurability of each sensor.
This article looks at emerging IO-Link sensor protocol in detail, and show real-life designs of various IO-Link based sensor systems. It also details how these sensor systems can be utilized to provide relevant information within a factory automation environment.
Read the full text of this article in our sister publication EDN.