23 Jul 2024


Rockwell claims that its IO-Link family is a first

Rockwell Automation has announced a new IO-Link master for its Allen-Bradley Point I/O system, as well as series of IO-Link-enabled sensors that, it says, go beyond detecting machine problems to enhancing machine productivity. It claims it is the only company to be offering controllers, an IO-Link master, and IO-Link sensors which, when used together, will simplify configuration, monitor machine health, and communicate data and diagnostics in real time using the IO-Link protocol.

Traditional sensors simply send information stating whether they are on or off. If a sensor fails, users know only when something goes wrong. IO-Link-enabled sensors provide a continuous flow of diagnostic information, helping to predict the need for maintenance.

“These smart sensors enable smart machines, that enable smarter manufacturing,” says Craig Brockman, Rockwell’s marketing manager for presence sensing. “Based on IO-Link technology, our smart sensors and I/O are enabling technologies for the connected enterprise, which integrates control and information. The result is seamless visibility of field data through a Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture control system.”

The new sensors behave in the same way as standard sensors until they are connected to a master, when they allow users to access advanced data and configuration capabilities via the same three-wire cables.

The IO-Link master streamlines communication from the sensors to the controller using the IO-Link protocol, while the Point I/O system communicates with the controller via EtherNet/IP. This allows users to have an Ethernet-like experience to manage their sensors at an affordable cost.

They can program their sensors and controllers in the same design environment. Rockwell Software’s Studio 5000 Logix Designer software combines design and engineering elements in one interface, allowing users to access I/O and configuration data across the Integrated Architecture system.

With automatic device configuration, settings for the master and sensors are saved and can be downloaded from the controller when changing operations or replacing components. The system is said to streamline changeover operations on manufacturing lines, reducing the possibility of human error.

Rockwell says that by combining simple implementation with powerful data and diagnostics, its IO-Link sensors can optimise machine operation, thus helping to increase uptime and productivity.