Manufacturing AUTOMATION

RS supports modular material handling with IO-Link portfolio

August 24, 2023
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

RS is offering a wide range of IO-Link solutions for helping industrial automation customers in the material handling and packaging industry overcome pressing market challenges.

The company explains in a press statement that modular machine concepts make it quick and easy to retrofit machines, which allows users to support multiple processes, as well as scale production with the integration of new machines. RS further adds that one of the quickest, easiest, most affordable and most accessible ways to leverage modular machine concepts is to employ devices compatible with the IO-Link communications protocol.

The IO-Link communications protocol is an open standard serial communications protocol that uses a simple, fieldbus-agnostic master/device architecture to enable bidirectional data exchange between compatible sensors and devices connected to an IO-Link master and operator interfaces including PLCs, HMIs, and cloud services. IO-Link devices support modular machine concepts and interoperability, standardize and reduce device and equipment wiring requirements and costs, acquire and transmit actionable data, enable remote configuration and monitoring, simplify device replacement and equipment retrofits, and provide detailed diagnostics. When deployed in the material handling and packaging industry, IO-Link devices reportedly improve process efficiency, reduce equipment downtime, increase production and empower users to make better, data-driven decisions.

The RS IO-Link portfolio includes solutions from Banner Engineering, Phoenix Contact and Norgren among others, and is backed by customer and technical support teams that can help customers identify, procure, deploy and maintain IO-Link products.


Banner Engineering’s Q5X Series laser measurement sensors support plug-and-play modularity, exhibit high excess gain and detect a wide range of objects —including extremely dark targets, black targets against black backgrounds, black targets against shiny metal backgrounds, clear and reflective targets, and multicolour targets — at a range of up to 5,000mm. They are equipped with IP67 form factors and bright output indicators for real-time distance feedback and support remote programming and monitoring with the addition of an optional remote sensor display.

Phoenix Contact’s Axioline E Series remote I/O system is designed to provide seamless and cost-effective communication between IO-Link sensors and actuators and higher-level control systems. It is also designed to support future IO-Link updates. It features a block design that reportedly enables decentralized automation without a control cabinet. Features include rugged diecast zinc housings with IP65 or IP67 protection, EMI resistance, an extended operating temperature range and resistance to environmental influences, common cooling and greasing agents and welding beads. The series also features tool-free M12 push-pull fast-connection technology with latching connection plugs.

Norgren’s 34D Series electronic pressure sensors are compatible with IO-Link. They reportedly have compact stainless steel form factors engineered for use in harsh-environment applications and angled displays for clear visibility and easy operation. They can handle pressures extending from vacuum up to 600 bar and are available in 18 variants with a range of mounting brackets, a flange adapter and cables designed to support fast and flexible installations in a variety of automated systems.

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