The vision advanced by "Industry 4.0" – of workpieces moving independently through the production process and controlling their own production – can only be achieved by expanding sensor technology to make more meaningful data available. Even relatively simple sensors are increasing in intelligence, while digital parameter sets continue to take the place of adjustable potentiometers.
B&R has long relied on the IO-Link communication standard to cover the final stretch from the I/O module to individual sensors and actuators. This bidirectional digital communication interface is used in the field to exchange parameter data and diagnostic information, thus making it possible to intelligently integrate sensors and switching devices into the control level. This integration of end devices is greatly simplified by standardizing the communication technology used, just as managing parameters centrally makes it easier to exchange them. As such, IO-Link is the perfect complement to industrial real-time Ethernet POWERLINK technology.