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The new range of Fieldbus modules with IO-Link master functionality from ifm electronic, are designed to meet the demands for ever-increasing levels of intelligent sensing and control to facilitate the drive toward increasingly sophisticated automation and IT. These robust, decentralised modules are Industry 4.0 ready and enable connectivity of sensors to PLC’s via the fieldbus and securely to the IT infrastructure via a separate IoT port.

These modules serve as a gateway between intelligent IO-Link sensors and the field bus as well as allowing important information from intelligent sensors to be sent simultaneously into the IT world. With a separate IoT Ethernet socket the IT network can be set-up completely separate from the automation network. Sensor information is transferred into the IT world via the established TCP/IP JSON interface.

Thanks to their robust design, use of proven materials and high ingress resistance (IP67 or IP69K) these modules can be used in coolant applications or directly in wet areas in the food industry. Furthermore, their ecolink technology guarantees reliable, permanently ingress-resistant M12 connections.

Among the key advantages and benefits to end-users is the separation between automation systems and the IT network. For example, as machine uptime is a high priority, the automation network must not be interrupted by external factors which is why the modules feature a separate IT and automation network. This means that business critical, non-real time data from intelligent sensors can be sent safely to the IT and ERP system without any effect to the real time control signals. Also, the ability to configure sensors with an LR device is important and this is possible as the integral intuitive software finds all the ifm electronic IO-Link masters in the network and creates an overview of the whole plant.

In addition, all connected sensors are displayed with the respective parameters making it possible to set the parameters of all the sensors in the system from one central point.

The sensors and actuators are connected via standard M12 connection cables without the need for screening and depending on the device type, up to 4 or 8 IO-Link sensors can be connected and supplied with up to 3.6 A. In combination with a wide range of IO-Link digital input / output devices it is possible to connect a high density of intelligent and digital sensors to a single fieldbus address.

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