OPEN I/O SYSTEMS ARRIVE

Nov. 24, 2008
As a machine or robot builder automation professional, you've been hearing about open systems for years. But you have probably been frustrated if you tried to create an open automation system using components from competing vendors.
As a machine or robot builder automation professional, you've been hearing about open systems for years. But you have probably been frustrated if you tried to create an open automation system using components from competing vendors.

However, it looks like the worm is turning as automation pros like you are using digital I/O networks as the wedge to pry apart proprietary controller-I/O bonds created by automation vendors.

Digital I/O networks were originally created by automation vendors to answer customer demands for reduced wiring, faster troubleshooting, and easier modifications. Automation vendors made money because their more expensive digital products replaced discrete and analog components. Customers made money by taking advantage of the aforementioned benefits.

Despite what they say in public, some vendors that make a wide range of automation products don’t like open systems. These vendors want to lock their customers into buying every automation component from them, and open systems are the enemy of that vision.

All vendors had to jump onto the digital I/O network bandwagon for competitive reasons, and many initially did so by creating proprietary digital links. But competitive pressures forced them to adopt standard links, in particular Ethernet-based protocols. Doing this let the proprietary cat out of the bag and released the dogs of open I/O systems.