Networking production and control processes
It is now common for smart sensors to communicate with superordinate control systems via IO-Link: The stable communication channel which is used across the globe for sensors and actuators at the lowest field level offers many practical advantages in day-to-day industrial operation.
The SIG100 from SICK Sensor Intelligence is an IO-Link sensor hub for recording and monitoring digital switching signals. In addition to its pure data transmission function, the SIG100 also has an integrated logic editor that can be used to configure logic functions using drag-and-drop, such as AND/OR, counters, and switching delays, and the aggregated results can be transmitted to any IO-Link master. Meanwhile, the main function of the SIG200 is that of an intelligent IO-Link master that converts sensor data into one or several protocols to make the data available to higher-level systems. The SIG200 records all of the sensor data that is transmitted via IO-Link or standard I/O signals. This data is firstly converted into a fieldbus protocol for further processing in the PLC, but in parallel to this, these signals can also be made accessible via a REST interface — for example for access by a cloud service. Both communication channels use the same physical port on the SIG200.
IO-Link — intelligent communication on the sensor level
The world’s first standardised I/O technology (IEC 61131-9) means sensors can play an active role in end-to-end automation networks. The sensors record real operational status, turn this into digital data, and share it with the process controller. In addition, IO-Link offers countless advantages, such as simple device configuration via the SOPAS engineering tool, automated parameter saving for IO-Link slaves, as well as automated device identification. SICK offers a comprehensive IO-Link portfolio for many different types of sensors. With the SIG100 and SIG200, quick and easy parameterisation and the integration of sensors and different sensor technologies, as well as the creation of small sensor systems without any programming effort become a reality.
Using IO-Link as the crucial communication technology of the Sensor Integration Gateway opens up new opportunities for the communication and data transparency of the individual switching signals from the lowest field level up to control systems and the IT world, which are all components of a single automation network. This is an important aspect, as networked production and control processes in complex machine environments are key to the industrial future and are what is making Industry 4.0 possible in the first place.
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