Industrial I/O Gets on the Bus

Product Roundup of I/O Systems, Modules and Terminal blocks

By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor

This year, we see an continuation of the trend we reported last year (Control Design, May 2004) that nearly every new I/O device being released seems to have an Ethernet or fieldbus networking connection. We even found a terminal block that supports fieldbus. In fact, only one product in the roundup even mentions the more traditional RS-232/RS422 connections. It looks like the march toward networking via industry-standard protocols is picking up speed.

This round-up appears to have many more actual new I/O products than we’ve had in the past few years. In addition, most of the rest appear to be major enhancements to existing product lines. This bodes well for our industry, because legitimately new products validate the release of R&D funding and confirm economic recovery.

The products we present below are I/O devices and terminal blocks intended for machine builders, but the network and fieldbus interfaces offered are not cast-offs from the process industry; instead, these products use machine-level fieldbuses such as DeviceNet, Profibus, CANopen, Modbus, AS-Interface, and assorted flavors of Ethernet. One even has a USB connection.

We also see the continual fading away of proprietary networks. Only a few devices support what appear to be proprietary or specialty connections.

Pluggable Connection System
AKZS 950 pluggable connection system meets demands for modularity and flexibility in control cabinet systems and plant engineering. The system enables connection of separately wired switchboards to form one overall installation. The wiring that connects two switch panels on one board is routed to the AKZS 950 connector, and the corresponding wires on the other board are routed to the AKZ 950 mating component. Available in 2-24 poles, 5.08 mm pitch, mountable to 15/32/35-mm DIN rails. PTR Connex; 301/696-9433;

Analog Combination I/O Modules
The F2-8AD4DA-1 16-bit analog combination input/output module has eight channels of current input sinking and four channels of current output sourcing. The ranges on the module are 0-20 mA input and 4-20 mA output. The F2-8AD4DA-2 is a combination input/output module with eight channels of voltage input and four channels of voltage output. The ranges on the module are 0-5 V and 0-10 V input and output. Both modules support selectable input resolutions of 16 bit, 14 bit, and 12 bit, with output ranges fixed at 16 bit. AutomationDirect; 770/889-2858;

Slice Style I/O System
The e2c 20 I/O slice-style DIN rail-mountable terminal block I/O modules for distributed control enclosures include removable terminal blocks, spring-clamp terminals, 12-mm profile on all I/O modules including 16 channel digital I/O, color coding for easy identification, and a module release latch. With support for DeviceNet and Profibus, the e2c 20 can be used for decentralized I/O cabinets and J-boxes. Lumberg; 804/379-2010;

Multi-communication Unit for PLCs
The FP2-MCU multi-communication unit for FP2 series programmable controllers uses detachable serial blocks in two different configurations. The FP2-MCU supports RS-232/485/422 detachable communication blocks, operates in general serial mode, computer link (Matsushita protocol), or PCLINK (for networking FP2 and FPG PLCs). Support baud rate from 300-230,400 bps is simultaneous in both channels. Transmission distance is up to 15 m for RS-232, 400 m for RS-422, and 1,200 m for RS-485. Aromat; 908/464-3550;

Isolated Analog Signal Conditioner
SensorLex 8B isolated analog signal conditioners provide instrument-class performance in a package 20% the size of competing modular I/O products and is suited for embedded or portable applications such as mobile test stands, embedded process controls for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and any other embedded industrial data acquisition system. The device incorporates modular I/O on a per-channel basis. Dataforth; 800/444-7644;

32-Channel Digital Modules
SNAP-ODC-32-SNK and SNAP-ODC-32-SRC 32-channel, digital-output modules come in both sourcing and sinking configurations and offer new levels of density with digital input counts of more than 64 digital points in a single location or I/O rack. They reduce the per-point cost of digital I/O systems by providing up to eight times the number of I/O channels in the same amount of space. Opto 22; 800/321-OPTO;

Terminal Blocks for Tight Budgets
IEC terminal blocks are color-coded for circuit identification and installation. The DIN rail mounting foot allows for direct mounting on a 35 mm DIN rail and has snap-on, snap-off assembly. The terminal blocks are tested in accordance with UL 1059 and rated for Code 2, both factory and field wiring. Marking strips are available as blank plates or customized to fit any application. The product line includes standard feed-through, double-level, ground blocks, disconnect and fuse holders. c3controls; 724/775-7926;

Fieldbus Connection on the Valve
XV connection helps integrate pneumatic valves directly into the system. Up to 24 digital outputs--for up to 24 valves--are located in a compact DSUB housing. Applicable for all pneumatic valves, the connections concept makes it possible to add valve manifolds to an already networked environment. The direct connection uses a 25-pin connector that provides openness. The use of bus controllers allows for fieldbuses options (e.g. CANopen, DeviceNet, ProfiBus, Ethernet Powerlink). B&R Industrial Automation; 770/772-0400;

IEC Terminal Blocks
IEC terminal blocks feature screw-type, spring-clamp and insulation-isplacement connections. All products are IP2X finger-safe, meet recognized international IEC standards, carry UL and CSA ratings, mount on standard DIN rails, and are available in nine different colors with a range of accessories. NEMA terminal blocks feature open-style construction for easy wiring, visual verification and marking. Allen-Bradley; 414/382-5560;

I/O Module Uses Standard Server
DIN/panel mount Ethernet bus coupler module uses Modbus TCP/IP for data transfer between controller and sensor-level devices. DIN rail or panel-mounted, the bus coupler consists of a base module for the fieldbus interface and diagnostics. The Ethernet module offers the benefits of Modbus TCP/IP while maintaining diagnostic and wiring features of the standard bus coupler. It has a data transmission rate of 10 Mbps/100 Mbps via a CAT5 twisted-pair cable. An RJ45 socket is provided for fast 10/100 BaseT4 connections. Wieland Electric; 800/WIELAND;

Smart Slave Simplifies Troubleshooting
DRT2 smart DeviceNet slave monitors both I/O status and network communications status, and lets users remotely monitor and diagnose low network voltage, communications errors, and short circuits for connected devices. When combined with configuration software, users can connect and monitor the factory floor network over an Ethernet connection without the need of any control programming or interruption. Omron Electronics; 866/88-OMRON;

Connector Family in B & C Sizes
Minifast B and C cordsets and receptacles are available in six to 12-pin configurations for power and signals to factory automation equipment. Paired with 16 AWG cable (18 AWG also available) the six-pin minifast offers a full 9 A of current carrying capability and the 12-pin minifast can handle 6 A. Turck; 763/553-7300;

I/O Modules Feature High Packing Density
KMxxxx terminal module has increased density, lower overall installed size and application-specific signal mix. The bus terminal I/O system meets requirements for I/O signals and is compatible with all common fieldbuses. Modules combine 16, 32 or 64 digital inputs or outputs in a compact housing, enabling high packing densities for smaller control cabinets and terminal boxes. Modules are integrated into the I/O system and connected with the internal terminal bus. Beckhoff Automation; 952/890-0000;

Fuse Terminal Blocks
HMFA.2 DIN-rail mounted fuse blocks can be used with PLCs and other micro-controllers that require a fuse on the input or output. Terminal blocks use spring-clamp terminations and can use a standard blade-type fuse. The terminal block is available with LED indication and a range of voltages and currents up to 125 V at 15 A. The terminal blocks can be labeled in three different locations and accept the low-cost, easy-to-install PTC push-in jumper. Automation Systems Interconnect; 877-650-5160;

Ethernet Controller Offers New Functions
750-841 Series Ethernet TCP/IP programmable fieldbus controller has double the data memory to 256 KB, a multitasking operating system, and the ability to complete on-line programming changes. It includes a 32-bit RISC processor, 512 KB program memory, 24 KB retentive memory, 100Mbits/s Ethernet, IEC-61131-3 programming, the latest open-architecture software interfaces, and ModbusTCP and EtherNet/IP. Wago; 800/DIN-RAIL;

Modules for Harsh Environments
AS-Interface G4 analog modules are available with two 0-20 mA current outputs, two 4-20 mA current inputs, two 0-10 V voltage outputs or two 0-10 V voltage inputs. Modules are field-mountable and are suited for rough conditions. Connection to the outputs or measured-value transmitters is established through PG cable glands and cage-tension spring terminals. Users may pre-address the units by plugging in the hand-held programming device. Pepperl+Fuchs; 330/486-0001;

The Bus Works
BusWorks 900EN Series I/O modules interface up to 12 analog or discrete I/O signals directly to an EtherNet/IP network. Each remote I/O module has its own Ethernet port and can operate independently of a bus coupler or controller that typically handles network communication for modular/block I/O systems. No software is required because the setup uses a standard Internet browser to configure an embedded web page. A complete 12-channel I/O solution needs only one inch of DIN rail space. Acromag; 248/624-1541;

Strain Gauge I/O Module
PTM-1 universal single-channel strain gauge input module for PLC applications provides both track and peak outputs and can be used with industry-standard strain gage load cells and transducers having full bridge inputs from 175-700 ohm. This device is designed for DIN-rail mounting and supplies a 0-10 VDC output for use with operator interface displays. Helm Instrument Co.; 419/893-4356;

I/O Solutions for Networks
SQIO module has an interface device and flexible analog and digital add-on board that can be integrated to work with existing machine I/O. The I/O provides up to 256 digital inputs and outputs and 16 analog inputs and outputs per interface device. Diagnostic capabilities allow for firmware/configuration file upgrade on nodes from any remote host computer. Breakout boards on the I/O modules allow for convenient prototyping. Motion Engineering; 805/879-0598;

External Isolation I/O Modules
PCLD-8751 external isolation I/O module has 48 isolated digital-input channels, and PCLD-8761 has 24 relay channels and 24 isolated digital-input channels. Both connect with PCI-1751 and PCI-1753 TTL-level digital I/O boards directly and can be used in harsh environments. The digital input channels have 3,500 VDC isolation protection, wide input range of 5-30 V, and wet or dry contact setting through DIP-switch selection. Advantech; 877/294-8989;

USB-Based Digital I/O
USB-1096HFS provides 96 bits of high-current, logic-level digital I/O with four independent 24-bit DIO groups, each divided into two eight-bit ports and two four-bit ports, and is based on a discrete emulation of the industry standard 82C55 mode zero. The outputs sink 64 mA, or source 24 mA and make it possible to drive many external devices without additional buffering. The required external power supply and USB cable are included with the unit. Measurement Computing; 508/946-5100;

Sure Scansalot
DPS3000 Series scanners monitor up to seven individual inputs. DPS3200 and DPS3204 channels can be programmed to accept different inputs; the DPS3100 and DPS3104 are limited to one input type on all channels. All models can display automatically scan and display each channel, show elapsed time, display the channel with highest or lowest reading, scan each channel’s deviation from a preset setpoint, or show differential between a master channel and other inputs. Omega Engineering; 800/TC-OMEGA:

Math Major
I/O Equation Station configures to handle distributed I/O and field multiplexing; on/off and proportional control; signal conversion, linearization, and scaling; process alarming and switching. It also handle add, subtract, multiply, divide, and square root; signal comparison, averaging, and differential; minimum/maximum and high/low selection; frequency scaling and pulse accumulating; and counting, integrating, and totalizing. Moore Industries; 800/999-2900;