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IO-Link spawns a safety version

10 May, 2017

The IO-Link Community has announced a safety version of its technology, which is fieldbus and system-independent. The new IO-Link Safety achieves this by converting the many safety protocols on the market to IO-Link Safety in a master.

There are many more IO-Link device types (more than 4,000) than IO-Link masters. By developing a suitable IO-Link Safety master, any existing IO-Link Safety devices can be used without modification.

Configuring IO-Link Safety is said to entail minimal time and effort. Authentication is derived from the assignment to a master port, and the monitoring time is set automatically for each device. As with IO-Link, devices can be replaced without needing an engineering tool. The replaced device is assigned the stored parameters of its predecessor automatically.

Open and secure parameterisation of safety devices can be difficult, but all IO-Link Safety devices have an IODD device description, detailing their communication, identification, parameterisation and diagnosis properties. Because the applicable standards require a “dedicated safety tool” to avoid manipulations, a software interface has been provided for integrating dedicated tools associated with the devices. The Device Tool Interface (DTI) has been kept simple and ensures that integration into existing IO-Link engineering tools does not pose any problems and that safety-related device software can be adapted easily and used again on the device side.

IO-Link Safety devices will start to arrive in 2018

It is important that the package consisting of the IO-Link Safety device, IODD, and the “dedicated tool” can be used without modification in any environment. Users can thus access a broad range of devices – regardless of what automation system they are using, or where they are working.

The testing organisation TÜV SÜD has performed a successful concept assessment of IO-Link Safety. The IO-Link Community says that device manufacturers can now start to integrate IO-Link Safety into their systems. The test specification, test system and certification are being developed in parallel. The first commercial devices are expected in 2018.

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