IO-Link Safety is ready

IO-Link is the open market stan­dard for sensor com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It should soon be pos­sible to also use the com­mu­ni­ca­tion system for data exchange in func­tional safety.

IO-Link stands for pow­erful stan­dard­ised (IEC 61131–9) con­nec­tion tech­nology in the field of point-to-point com­mu­ni­ca­tion – inde­pen­dent of fieldbus and system. The advan­tages of IO-Link are sim­pli­fi­ca­tions during instal­la­tion (e.g. through stan­dard­ised cabling and the elim­i­na­tion of par­allel wiring), auto­mated and tool-sup­ported para­metri­sa­tion as well as extended diag­nostic options.

In order to also be able to use IO-Link for safety-­re­lated automa­tion tasks, Pilz and the other part­ners in the IO-Link com­mu­nity have been working inten­sively on the cor­re­sponding exten­sion over the last few years with the asso­ci­ated tests and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. At the SPS exhi­bi­tion in Nurem­berg at the end of last year, the first multi-vendor demon­stra­tion with IO-Link Safety was pre­sented. Pilz and other man­u­fac­turers demon­strated the options and capacity of IO-Link Safety live on site.

Not just safe

The demon­stra­tion was par­tic­u­larly suc­cessful at showing the mixed com­mu­ni­ca­tion mode in which safety-related as well as stan­dard data are exchanged with the same IO-Link device simul­ta­ne­ously. This makes IO-Link Safety very pow­erful, which is why it is used for safe drives, gate locking and con­trol and signal device boxes, among other things. The non-safety-related func­tions can be pro­grammed as usual while only the safety func­tions have to be con­trolled and mon­i­tored by the fail­safe pro­gram of the PLC.

“The res­o­nance at the SPS exhi­bi­tion was entirely pos­i­tive,” cel­e­brates Dr Wolf­gang Stripf, Overall Project Man­ager of IO-Link Safety in the IO-Link com­mu­nity. “With the demon­stra­tion we were able to answer ques­tions regarding the inde­pen­dence of field­buses and the com­plete­ness of the system including test facil­i­ties,” he adds. At the Han­nover Messe, the IO-Link Safety com­mu­nity will expand the demon­stra­tion plant from the SPS. In the mean­time, the pro­ce­dure for the nec­es­sary tests and the safety cer­ti­fi­ca­tion have been clar­i­fied with the respon­sible noti­fied bodies. The require­ments are thus sat­is­fied, allowing Pilz to now also use IO-Link Safety prod­ucts in prac­tice. The first prod­ucts are expected to come onto the market this year.

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