Why safe connectivity scores points at field level

Indus­trial com­mu­ni­ca­tion – par­tic­u­larly at field level – must be able to pro­vide safe data transfer up to the “last” sensor, and “can” addi­tion­ally offer more avail­ability and more flex­ible automa­tion. Then pro­duc­tion processes can be opti­mised.

The wish here: Safe data com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as fast instal­la­tion and also the smallest pos­sible ware­house space. The solu­tion: Com­plete IO-Link Safety sys­tems with master, sen­sors, field devices and con­fig­u­ra­tion tool. Pilz is the first provider to offer this type of com­plete package – suit­able in many respects, i.e. for a wide range of appli­ca­tions in a wide range of indus­tries.

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The master as an efficient director at field level

The IO-Link Safety master is used decen­tralised at field level, which reduces the cable length and already saves con­sid­er­able space. Thanks to the point-to-point com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wiring of the safety sen­sors is also much easier to imple­ment. At the same time, the system can be used flex­ibly as con­ven­tional safety sen­sors, IO-Link Safety sen­sors and IO-Link devices can all be con­nected. And because com­mu­ni­ca­tion gen­er­ally occurs via unshielded cables and IO-Link Safety uses industry-stan­dard con­nec­tions, fewer cables are needed. Instal­la­tion and replacing devices are thus chal­lenges of the past: In truly less than a minute, con­nec­tion of a stan­dard M12 con­nector is pos­sible; with con­ven­tional wiring this would be expected to take over an hour.

The com­plete IO-Link Safety system from Pilz includes master, sen­sors, field devices and a con­fig­u­ra­tion tool. © Pilz GmbH & Co. KG, Ost­fildern

Bad time? Good time!

The con­nec­tions are also less prone to wiring errors, and because the IO-Link Safety tech­nology simul­ta­ne­ously pro­vides the data for diag­nos­tics, it is pos­sible to imme­di­ately detect if a device was con­nected to the wrong port and the error can be rec­ti­fied. Another advan­tage of this com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nology is that all devices in the inter­linked plant are uniquely iden­ti­fied and para­metrised.

The safe com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­tocol IO-Link Safety thereby sig­nif­i­cantly improves the instal­la­tion, com­mis­sioning and main­te­nance times, in that it reduces the times required for these. Down­times, e.g. for nec­es­sary repairs, can be short­ened con­sid­er­ably and main­te­nance can be proac­tively planned.

IO-Link Safety – Good to know:

What is point-to-point communication?

Point-to-point com­mu­ni­ca­tion in infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nology (ICT) is a direct, imme­diate con­nec­tion between two points or places. In terms of IO-Link Safety, this means that the field devices are directly con­nected to the decen­tral­ized IO-Link Safety Master via a simple 3‑wire, unshielded cable.

Which devices can be connected to the IO-Link Safety Master?

The Pilz IO-Link Safety Master PDP67 PN 8FDIO 4IOLS not only enables the con­nec­tion of IO-Link Safety Devices. Classic safety sen­sors, IO-Link sen­sors and stan­dard sen­sors and actu­a­tors can also be con­nected.

What does two-way communication mean?

Two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion means that infor­ma­tion between two points can flow in either direc­tion. This can be both cyclical and acyclic data.

First practical case: Interlinked plants

One or two glimpses of prac­tical appli­ca­tion show how IO-Link Safety can pro­vide added value: for example in an inter­linked pack­aging plant where sev­eral sen­sors are fre­quently used. These need space, espe­cially for wiring, and involve a high overall instal­la­tion effort. Sen­sors can be con­nected at a total of eight ports of the IO-Link Safety master from Pilz. At four IOLS ports, both IOLS safety sen­sors and IO-Link stan­dard sen­sors can be con­nected.

IO-Link Safety enables intel­li­gent com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the con­troller to the sen­sors at field level. © iStock.com/Ridofranz, © Pilz GmbH & Co. KG, Ost­fildern

To ensure redun­dancy of the safety, dual-channel con­nec­tion options are essen­tial: With so-called FDIO ports (Fail­safe Dig­ital Input Output), the user can choose between a safe input or a safe output and whether this should be dual-channel. Classic safety sen­sors such as safety switches, gate locking devices or emer­gency stop devices, etc. can thus be con­nected. OSSD (Output Signal Switching Device) sig­nals can also be processed with this system. The Pilz solu­tion offers four FDIO ports here. A high flex­i­bility with regard to the con­nec­tion options is thus ensured by the IO-Link Safety master.

Second practical case: Material transport

The safe com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­tocol faces quite dif­ferent require­ments when the appli­ca­tion involves man­u­fac­turing cells in the mate­rial trans­port sector with inte­grated robotics, for example. Access and safety gates must be well safe­guarded there and, in addi­tion, machine down­times must be min­imised. IO-Link com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nology also guar­an­tees simple, time-saving inte­gra­tion of access guarding and safe­guarding of the safety gate(s) in this sit­u­a­tion.

The secure IO-Link Safety com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­tocol sig­nif­i­cantly opti­mizes instal­la­tion, com­mis­sioning and main­te­nance times. © iStock.com/SweetBunFactory, © iStock.com/Chinnapong, © Pilz GmbH & Co. KG, Ost­fildern

And at the same time per­forms “smart” mon­i­toring of the appli­ca­tion: Data from safety light cur­tains can be eval­u­ated, such as infor­ma­tion about the tem­per­a­ture state of the sen­sors, which makes it pos­sible to quickly draw con­clu­sions about the ambient tem­per­a­ture. Too warm? Too cold? Pos­sible tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions beyond the normal amount can thus be iden­ti­fied early, before they can influ­ence pro­duc­tion.

More added value: Increase output!

IO-Link Safety can also sup­port pro­duc­tivity: IOLS devices have a func­tion for self-diag­nos­tics that antic­i­pates a poten­tial machine down­time by pro­viding infor­ma­tion on the actual state. For example, infor­ma­tion on how fre­quently the main­te­nance gate is opened, the emer­gency stop is pressed or a light cur­tain was breached can be recorded in the higher-level con­troller. “Knowing where” can bring major advan­tages during repair and main­te­nance.

Whether more flex­ible con­nec­tion options, sim­pli­fied instal­la­tion or rapid diag­nos­tics – IO-Link Safety scores points for effi­ciency and safety for inter­linked plants in the most varied appli­ca­tion areas.

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