Industry 4.0 and Digital Communication Interface
HYDAC on the way to Industry 4.0
Many different definitions have been put forward. In brief, ‟Industry 4.0” is often defined as ‟the merger of cutting-edge information and communication technology with the manufacturing industry” or as the ‟Internet of things and services” in the industrial sector. The very far-reaching vision and goals of Industry 4.0 are illustrated by the in-depth definition of ‟Platform Industrie 4.0”: ‟Industry 4.0” stands for a new level of organisation and control of the entire value chain across the life cycle of products. This cycle is orientated towards the
The very far-reaching vision and goals of Industry 4.0 are illustrated by the in-depth definition of ‟Platform Industry 4.0”: ‟Industry 4.0” stands for a new level of organisation and control of the entire value chain across the life cycle of products. This cycle is orientated towards the ever-increasing individualised customer requirements, encompassing the idea, the development, the assignment, the manufacturing, the delivery of the product to the end customer and the recycling, including the associated services. The basis is the availability of all relevant information in real time by the connectivity of all instances involved in value creation and the ability to derive the optimum value creation flow from the data at each point in time. Linking people, objects and systems.
The basis is the availability of all relevant information in real time by the connectivity of all instances involved in value creation and the ability to derive the optimum value creation flow from the data at each point in time. Linking people, objects and systems create cross-company added value networks that are dynamic, real-time optimised and self-organizing and that can be optimised in accordance with criteria such as costs, availability and resource usage.
IO-Link – Digital communication interface as a basis for Industry 4.0
In the course of the progressive automation and linking of industrial machines, IO-Link has been specified already in 2006 as a standardised digital interface for actuator and sensor levels. This allows for a simple and cost-effective connection to controls and higher-level bus systems and networks.
The international standard IEC 61131-9 laid the foundation for worldwide use in 2012.
IO-Link is not a field bus, but a digital point-to-point connection. Just as in conventional analogue connection technology, one cable leads from every sensor or actuator (e.g. valve) to a so-called master (data collector), from which the data is transmitted to other participants (e.g. controls) in the company network. The use of cost-effective, unshielded standard cables and established connection technology (4 or 5-pin M12 plugs) allows for a migration into the digital world with minimal effort.
Unlike with previous analogue systems, the digital IO-Link communication protocol enables the transfer of information in addition to the process data, such as value status (validity of the process data) and events (error messages) as well as device information (ID, parameters, diagnosis etc.).
The bi-directionality of the data connection is a particular advantage of IO-Link technology. Unlike standard analogue technology or switch connections, where the information only flows in one direction, higher-level controls can communicate bidirectionally with the sensor or actuator thanks to IO-Link.
Settings which e.g. need to be performed manually by means of buttons in conventional pressure switches can now be carried out from the control via IO-Link, as part of the start-up or even during ongoing operation.
This remote parameterisation considerably accelerates and simplifies the commisioning of systems and helps to minimise error sources and reduce costs. Especially in maintenance, an IO-Link device can be replaced via plug and play, as the configuration parameters are automatically transferred from the control to the new device, which also eliminates a significant error source and reduces machine downtimes to a necessary minimum.
Thanks to these enhancements of flexibility, components with an IO-Link interface are an integral component of the Internet of Things within the framework of Smart Factory solutions in the age of Industry 4.0.