Using sensor intelligence the smart way with IO-Link

Sensor requirements have been on the rise for years. The demand for sensors to help automate and network processes and to make those processes more efficient began growing even before the dawn of the Industry 4.0 initiative and "Internet of Things". IO-Link makes it possible to easily transfer parameter data integrated in the Baumer sensors, such as measuring ranges or switchable distances, from master to sensor and vice versa. Conversely, the sensor can also provide the user with process and diagnostic data such as the sensor's current state (e.g. switching point, alarm).

IO-Link can help you:

  • Quickly and easily install sensors by way of automated configuration
  • Easily swap sensors
  • Streamline processes and minimize costs through proactive maintenance/status monitoring
  • Access an extensive range of diagnostic functions at the sensor level

As a member of the IO-Link Consortium, Baumer is involved in developing the standard and is one of the first manufacturers to feature the new Smart Sensor Profile 1.1. in its sensors.

  • What is IO-Link?
      What is IO-Link?

      The IO-Link communication standard is the first internationally standardized IO technology (IEC 61131-9) and facilitates the easy and smart linking of sensors to the control system through the simplest cabling using an unshielded three-core cable up to 20 meters long. The connection is standardized using M5, M8 and M12 connectors.

      IO-Link is not a bus system, but rather a point-to-point interface for the parallel connection of sensors and actuators to a control system. This connection makes it possible to use the IO-Link mode to transmit parameters, process data and diagnostic data without any additional effort. A wide variety of additional data can thus be exchanged between the master and sensor. Primarily parameter data is transmitted from master to sensor. Going the opposite direction, cyclical process data and, if necessary, service and diagnostic data is transmitted to the master.

      All parameters can be saved in the control system. If a defective sensor needs to be replaced while the equipment is running, the sensor is recognized based on an ID number and the control system can automatically transfer the respective parameters to the new sensor. IO-Link thus reduces the amount of effort necessary to integrate and set up the sensors, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of the production process.

      Example of a system architecture using IO-Link

      Operating modes

      Each port of the IO-Link master can be operated either in SIO mode (standard IO mode) or in IO-Link mode and can thus process the information from all sensors. In SIO mode, the senor functions like its conventional counterpart. Measured values and switching states are transmitted to the control system via digital or analog outputs. In IO-Link mode, the sensor's digital output is used as a bidirectional, serial interface in order to exchange measurement data as well as diagnostic information. In this mode, parameters can also be used to reconfigure the sensor.

      The standard setup provides for 2-byte process data packets per cycle. The user can also choose larger data packets (frame types). It is therefore possible to transmit even larger process data packets of up to 32 bytes in length at a correspondingly slower cycle rate.

    Benefits to you
    • Automated sensor configuration (parameterization)

      • Fast and easy sensor setup thanks to automatic configuration.
      • Application-specific parameters allow you to swap products quickly.
      • Convenient configuration of hard-to-access sensors.

      Replace sensors quickly

      • Even untrained personnel can quickly and easily replace sensors. The sensor is accurately identified and the parameters are loaded automatically.

      Proactive maintenance/status monitoring

      • Efficient maintenance and repair intervals thanks to the ability to define individual parameters (e.g. contamination threshold) in the sensor.
      • Process safety: critical sensor states are detected before a system shutdown, facilitating demand-oriented, efficient maintenance.

      Simple and affordable

      • Large-scale replacement of parallel cabling by IO-Link. 
      • Replaces analog signal routing. 
      • Interfaces and cables are standardized to a single type.
      • Plans for modular machines can be easily supported.
    • Every IO-Link device has a device description known as the IODD (IO Device Description). This contains information about the manufacturer, product number, functionality, etc., which can easily be exported and further processed by the user. Every device, meaning every sensor, is uniquely identifiable as a result of its IODD and its internal device ID. The IODD consists of several files: a primary file and optional external language files (both in XML format) as well as image files (in PNG format).

      you can find the Baumer IODDs for particular sensors here: