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How Do Smart Sensors Enable Smarter Manufacturing?

The new IO-Link master for the Allen-Bradley POINT I/O system and IO-Link enabled sensors from Rockwell Automation go beyond detecting machine problems to help enhance machine productivity. These enhanced sensors simplify configuration, monitor machine health, and communicate data and diagnostics in real time via the global IO-Link communication protocol.

Traditional sensors merely send information stating if they are on or off. If a sensor fails, users know only when an operation goes awry downstream. IO-Link-enabled sensors provide a continuous flow of diagnostic information from the production line, helping better predict maintenance needs.

"These smart sensors enable smart machines that enable smarter manufacturing," said Craig Brockman, marketing manager for Presence Sensing, Rockwell Automation. "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 featuring embedded IO-Link act the same as standard I/O sensors until connected to a master. Once interfaced with an IO-Link master, users can access advanced data and configuration capabilities while using the same three-wire cables.

Rockwell Automation is the only company that offers controllers, an IO-Link master and IO-Link sensors that, when applied as a complete system, provide simplified integration plus enhanced features and functionality. The IO-Link master streamlines communication from sensors to the controller. The sensors talk via simple IO-Link protocol to the master and the POINT I/O system communicates with the controller via EtherNet/IP. This allows users to have an Ethernet-like experience in managing their sensors at an affordable cost.

Additionally, users can program sensors and controllers in the same design environment. The Rockwell Software Studio 5000 Logix Designer software combines design and engineering elements in a single interface, enabling 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 switching operations or replacing a component. The system streamlines changeover operations on a manufacturing line, reducing the possibility of human error.

By combining simple implementation with powerful data and diagnostics, smart sensors with IO-Link can optimize machines today -- and prepare them for the future -- to help increase uptime and productivity.

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Rockwell Automation

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