IO-Link accelerates digitalization of process plants

Dec. 14, 2021

IO-Link is enjoying increasing popularity, with demand for the communications standard growing rapidly, especially in the food & beverage industry. The fieldbus-independent technology for point-to-point communication is easy to use and provides a cost-effective way to digitalize industrial plants.

IO-Link is regarded as an established standard for measurement devices with basic functionality, offering advantages such as data transparency and additional control through digital technology. Integrating IO-Link-capable sensors and actuators is especially popular with suppliers of machines or skids for the food & beverage industry.

Endress+Hauser is a supplier of process instrumentation for the food & beverage industry. “No other manufacturer offers such a broad and deep range of products and services. Our comprehensive IO-Link portfolio clearly illustrates this position. As a strong partner for process automation, we support our customers with IO-Link sensors in numerous fields of application,” says Rob Sips, Strategic Account Manager for the Group’s international business.

The majority of the IO-Link sensors can be optionally operated in analog mode (4–20mA) with simple configuration changes to the instrument, thus allowing production workflows to remain in place. If extra information such as diagnostic and service data is required, in addition to the actual process parameters, an installed IO-Link-capable instrument can be switched to a digital signal.

“Although IO-Link is not the most powerful communications standard for process engineering, the technology is cost-effective and harbors tremendous potential for the digitalization of process plants,” says Oliver Hansert from Endress+Hauser Digital Solutions.

Endress+Hauser reports that instruments with IO-Link interfaces support the acyclic transmission of helpful metadata to ensure stable and efficient production. Furthermore, the smart sensor profile is designed for simple engineering, which reduces the effort required by plant operators to integrate sensors into their systems.

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