Introduction

IO-Link is the modern, digital communication protocol for master/sensor and master/actuator connections in factory and process automation applications. This point-to-point protocol allows flexible and easy configuration of the sensors and actuators through the master device, as well as the exchange of the process data.

Architecture

IO Link Stack

Why is IO-Link protocol integration required for Industries?

Manufacturing, automotive, and food & beverage are some of the key industries that are reaping the benefits offered by IO-Link. Industries that experience longer downtimes or frequent changeovers can adapt IO-Link especially for the advantages it offers in reducing downtime and providing information about sensors or actuators. The main advantages offered to the manufacturing or production plants by the IO-Link protocol include:

  • Diagnostic Capability to view error codes through a web interface and troubleshoot without having to shut down the entire production line
  • Remote Accessibility that lets users connected to a master and/or a network to examine and make changes to sensor-level information from any location
  • Auto-Device Replacement facilitates seamless device replacement by allowing users to download an old sensor’s data into a new sensor. This way the settings of the old sensor can be quickly installed and the line can be up and running in no time

Other Benefits of IO-Link

  • Reduces maintenance and increased uptime
  • Brings intelligence down to the sensor level
  • Plug, play and walk away
  • Parameter settings can be downloaded from Microcontroller (no longer manual)
  • Easy parameterization without the downtime associated with machine changeover
  • Continuous diagnostics and monitoring
  • Improved data logging and error detection
  • Robust digital communication
  • Reduces costs by making installation easier through the use of a standard sensor connector that allows direct binary sensor upgrades

Utthunga’s IO-Link Protocol Master Stack

IO-Link Master Stack by Utthunga is a highly optimized stack, built-in C. Utthunga also provides a reference desktop-based configurator. The stack and the configurator can be quickly customized for any bespoke applications.

Features
  • The IO-Link Master stack conforms with the latest specifications
  • The stack supports 4 ports (no. of ports are limited only by hardware resources)
  • Auto baud rate detection: 4.8K, 38.4K, 230.4Kbps
  • Provides continuous diagnosis of the events generated at ports and devices
  • Backward compatibility with legacy devices (version 1.0)
  • Data repository/storage features enable rapid backup/restore of connected IO-Link device
  • Service calls from gateway applications are routed effectively by applications present within the stack to handle communication requests
  • Neatly layered architecture for easy porting and maintenance
Benefits
  • Accelerated time to market
  • Robust quality
  • Structured ANSI C Code – can be ported to other platforms easily and used with various development environments
  • Code design and documentation
  • Flexible licensing models
  • Sample demo application
Technical Specification
  • IO-Link Master Stack complies to latest IO-Link communication specification
  • Control and testing API documentation
  • Support for 4 ports (number of ports are based on hardware resources)
  • Footprint: Flash ~40kB Stack
  • System load maximum: 20MHz/Port (COM3-speed)
  • Supported platforms for development: Keil, IAR, GCC
  • Support for legacy devices
  • Support for batch read and batch write
  • Support for different microcontrollers and IO-Link PHYs requires only an exchange of drivers.

How can Utthunga help in IO-Link Firmware development and implementing the IO-Link Master?

Utthunga offers the following IO-Link embedded development services:

  • Implementing IO-Link Master in the devices
  • Implementing IO-Link Master Configurator with IODD interpretation capabilities
  • Porting of third party stacks into different platforms
  • Gateway for IO-Link network and cloud integration
  • IO-Link to OPC Gateway
  • Support for an end to end product development and validation

FAQs

1. Where is IO-Link used?

IO-Link is primarily used for linking sensors and actuators used by industries in automated production. The IO-Link master-slave system uses point-to-point communication stack to connect the controller level (IO-Link master stack) with the sensors and actuators (IO-Link slave stack).

2. How does the IO-Link function?

IO-Link functions like the 3-conductor connection of a digital switching signal which is issued as a serial telegram. This facilitates the exchange of additional information as a serial protocol between the I/O level and field device.

3. Why is the IO-Link required?

IO-Link closes any gap in communication at the lowest field level. This makes validation of equipment and machines at the lowest sensor and actuator level possible, and minimizes existing interface varieties. 

4. What are the key benefits of IO-Link?

The key benefits of IO-Link protocol include standardized wiring, simplified device replacement, remote configuration and monitoring, advanced diagnostics and increased data availability.

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