Absolutely!  The IO-Link consortium is widespread and active worldwide, making an IO-Link version available for almost every sensor and actuator type. Anderson-Negele provides sensors for various measuring ranges such as flow, level, pressure, turbidity, conductivity, and temperature from a single source.

Additionally, their flow monitors and point level detectors with their on/off output can be processed directly by the IO-Link master.
And many sensor types which are not yet available as IO-Link devices can be integrated with a converter that converts an analog 4…20 mA or HART signal into a IO-Link signal.

Tip: Compile the list of sensors and actuators you plan to use in your plant. You will see: For most processes in the food and beverage industry, you can already today operate everything with IO-Link.

What advantages does IO-Link offer in the planning and construction of plants?

The main benefit is up to 50 % savings on cabling, both for the installation time and cost as well as for the material itself. Typically, each cable must be laid in parallel wiring continuously from the sensor to the PLC or control unit. Usually this has to be a shielded special cable.

This means enormous costs for the often very expensive special cables, which also have to be laid over a long distance. In addition, this leads to a high installation effort for the cable ducts and brackets, as well as for connection of the entire cables by specialized plant electricians.

IO-Link simplifies all this by connecting each device to a local IO-Link master with just one cable. From the master, only one cable is needed to connect to the PLC. As digital data transmission is resistant to interference, standard M12 cables are sufficient for this purpose.

Tip: Customers have reported both a 50 % reduction in labour costs and material costs for cable installation with new plant setups. Calculate your own costs for cables and labour and see how much you could save with IO-Link.

What advantages does IO-Link offer in the commissioning of plants?

IO-Link devices are configured by connecting a computer to the IO-Link master. You just have to download sensor specific data, the IODD (IO Device Description) from a central database. Then you can enter the configuration of all the parameters, such as the measuring range for turbidity or the temperature display in either °C or °F, for the process.

This programming is saved in the IO-Link master and can be copied directly to other sensors using copy-paste if multiple sensors need to be configured in the same way. This allows for faster set-up and fewer sources of error.

You only have to use one interface to configure all devices and sensors, eliminating the need for product-specific programming adapters, special hardware and software, or programming directly on the sensor display.

Tip: Thanks to Flex-Hybrid technology, for existing analogue systems you can also take advantage of these special benefits:

  • Easy programming and configuration: all parameters can be set for all sensors easily on a laptop using only one software, even by someone outside of production or a plant engineer.
  • Copy-paste for mutiple sensors: the settings only need to be made once and can then be saved in the IO-Link master, allowing for simple configuration of additional sensors with a few clicks using copy-paste.
  • Automatic programming when replacing sensors: the programming saved in the IO-Link Master can be automatically transferred to the replacement sensor by plugging in the M12 cable.

What do I need for the use of IO-Link and where can I find it?

Thanks to the standardized communication protocol used across all sensors, actuators, and control components, setup and commissioning with IO-Link is simple and fast, even for those without expertise in the field. With just a few hardware and software components, you can get started with IO-Link:

  • IO-Link master: This data hub, which is attached to the plant near the sensors, allows up to eight sensors or actuators to be plugged in via M12 cable. If more than eight devices are needed, several IO-Link masters can be connected to a central master with one cable each. Each IO-Link master model has its own software for configuration and operation of the connected devices.
  • Cables: Thanks to the digital transmission‘s interference immunity, pre-made 3-pin M12 standard cables are sufficient.
  • IODD: The „IO-Link Device Description“ is device-specific software necessary for operation via the IO-Link master. It can be downloaded from the IO-Link website or from any Anderson-Negele product page.
  • AOI: The „Add-On Instruction“ is required only by few PLC types.

Tip: To configure all sensors, simply connect the IO-Link master to your computer via USB cable or wireless function.

With just one software, you can configure, save, and transfer all configurations to other sensors, retrieve status reports of sensors, and even change settings remotely via protected access while the process is running.

This provides you with complete control over your processes and all devices involved at all times.

How can I connect devices that do not offer IO-Link?

Not all devices are already available with IO-Link. You can still integrate such components into the IO-Link system. By means of converters, you can use other signals from the sensors. Additional functions such as the status reports on the sensors themselves are not possible in this case, but the correct operation of the system is not a problem.

Tip: I/0 devices with PNP signal for On/Off can be connected directly to the IO-Link master. These are e.g. our flow monitors and point level sensors. For all 4…20 mA devices, special converters can be used to transform the analog current signals into digital data.


Raymond Karsten
Instek Control
Tel. +27 12 998 6326

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