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Balluff’s IO-Link system is claimed to enable quick and easy expansion or simplification of Profibus and Profinet networks.

Users and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equipment builders can now achieve a higher level of flexibility and easier system modification for their networks at lower costs, the company has claimed.

A Balluff IO-Link expansion module, also known as IO-Link Master, attaches directly to the Profibus or Profinet network, either as a new node or by substituting it for an existing node.

Then, using standard low-cost, three-conductor M12 cordsets, the user can attach up to four intelligent IO-Link sensors up to 20m away from the Balluff IO-Link expansion module.

Hardware includes network expansion modules, sensor hubs, standard M12 non-shielded three-conductor cordsets, standard sensors and intelligent IO-Link sensors.

These sensors are available in a range of different sensing technologies, including distance feedback, radio-frequency identification, pressure monitors and so on.

It is claimed that Profibus/Profinet automation customers can build and retrofit machines with an overall cost saving in components, cabling, installation and integration.

For example, one Balluff Profibus IO-Link expander and four discrete sensor hubs can replace five discrete Profibus modules with 30 per cent to 40 per cent savings, including network components, network cabling and integration time, while providing 78 inputs.

One expansion module and a combination of IO-Link sensors and/or sensor hubs can replace up to five nodes, reducing expensive network cabling and time-consuming controller configuration without the need for node addresses or Profibus chips or software.

Sensor hubs are at the heart of the Balluff system and these allow connection of 16 standard discrete sensors to the network per hub.

Up to four hubs per expansion module can be put on each node, giving a grand total of 76 sensors per Profibus node.

The Balluff IO-Link solution will provide significant savings in components in the installation phase, in system integration and in system flexibility.

It will save money in planned and unplanned downtime with centralised parameter storage, which can be used for automatic re-parameterisation of replacement IO-Link sensors – an intelligent sensor can reportedly be swapped as easily as a discrete sensor.

Balluff has over 50 years of sensor experience and is a leading global sensor specialist with its own line of connectivity products for every area of factory automation and industrial control.

Everyday, all over the world, Balluff sensors are increasing production throughput and product quality for thousands of satisfied users striving to improve their manufacturing processes and lower their costs. No matter what the application, Balluff has the practical experience, expertise, and product range to make that improvement. Products include:

  • inductive, photoelectric, magnetic field, ultrasonic, capacitive, vision sensors 
  • linear transducers, linear encoders systems 
  • distance  measurement and level sensors
  • industrial RFID 
  • power supplies
  • connectivity and bus systems.

Our manufacturing, sales, and service offices are located around the world. That means the excellent service we provide in England, Germany, or Brazil is the same as we offer in the United States, Japan, or India.

Fast delivery, global pricing, attention to detail and the ability to lower our customers’ costs, no matter where our customers are located. Although our programs are global, our customer relationships are local.

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