The Missing IO-Link- How can it help manufacturers?

Industrial networks are nothing new to manufacturers. Therefore when we talk about IO-Link it might be hard for some to understand what all the fuss is about.

The ‘fuss’ is this; IO-Link is critical to the modern manufacturing environment, helping to scale automation and ultimately, save you money.  But how does it work?

Well, IO-Link is based on a point-to-point connection between the sensor/actuator and an interface module. This allows for information about process values to be exchanged, in addition to parameters and diagnostic messages. In other words, workers need not stare at a screen full of numbers and try to decipher and decode. With IO-Link it’s all collected autonomously in a neat, visual graphical display making it easier and quicker for manufacturers to trace and analyse their production process.

And it has multiple capabilities. From operation, to maintenance and installation of an automated system, IO-Link provides many manufacturing benefits.

Efficiency

As production scales and manufacturers increase their ranges, production processes must be adapted to fit these new requirements.

IO-Link enables you to automate parameterization and access a devices parameters remotely to  significantly reduce the downtime associated with manually reconfiguring production.

Maintenance

IO-Link provides remote and real-time access to data needed to maintain and maxmise productivity. Best in class accessibility helps manufacturers pinpoint issues and potential errors before they occur. For example, a sensor might send an alert to a PLC that a machine is vibrating at an abnormally high level. Maintenace staff can then immediately adddress the problem, preventing a break-down and stopped production.

Installation

When installing new systems, IO-Link makes this process much easier than traditional machine installations. Standard connectors and cables reduce wiring complexity by eliminating the need for custom cables, connectors or termination.

When replacing devices, IO-Link is able to download parameters into the replacement device right from the controller, eliminating the need for maintenance workers to spend hours reprogramming high end devices.

IFM

IFM’s Linerecorder software allows manufacturers to control processes through its ability to simplify parameter settings and the monitoring of different sensors.

Sensor values are automatically displayed as a table or as a chart helping to free up labour time spent interpreting data.

With the option to purchase up to 15 functional add-ons/apps, sensor signals can be used to calculate quantitative and qualitative parameters throughout production, assisting with process optimisation, reduced production costs, evaluation and assurance of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and traceability.

Key benefits for manufacturers include:

  • Process optimisation
  • Traceability
  • Quality control
  • Order and process control
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Material monitoring
  • Maintenance management
  • Calculation of MDA / OEE
  • ERP connectivity

For information on how IFM’s LINERECORDER MES software can improve planning and material management, process control and order management and traceability, click here