Wireless communication offers many opportunities and benefits for manufacturing companies. What WLAN and Bluetooth have long demonstrated in the retail sector could not be used for industrial purposes due to the lack of reliability, low availability, and low speed. This is now changing thanks to IO-Link Wireless and Hilscher.
Hilscher has published one of the first master solutions for wireless networking of industrial IO-Link sensors and actuators using the new netFIELD Device IO-Link Wireless Master. As part of a cooperation with Hilscher’s technology partner CoreTigo, the specialist for high-availability, wireless industrial communication solutions, the family-owned Hattersheim company is developing new ways for machine builders and plant operators to transfer and use data in their production simply, flexibly and reliably.
The new IO-Link Wireless Master is based on the existing IO-Link standard according to IEC 61131-9 and allows a total of 16 sensors and actuators to be connected, that is twice as many as conventionally wired IO-Link Masters. Users can currently use the master in both PROFINET and Ethernet/IP networks; a version for EtherCAT will follow shortly.
The IO-Link Wireless technology offers advantages wherever wired data lines are not really feasible. These include:
- Robots with high degrees of freedom, e.g. cobots
- Transport systems with many transitions and branches
- Autonomous transport trolleys
- Hygiene areas
netFIELD Device IO-Link Wireless Bridge
The master also includes other functions that simplify the use of IO-Link Wireless in production:
Blacklisting: The master can hide certain radio frequencies and can therefore also be used alongside existing wireless networks
Frequency hopping: Frequency hopping can prevent interference with other devices in the ISM frequency range between 2.4 and 2.48 GHZ
Scan and pairing service: Wireless device setup is simplified by the integrated functions of the master for users
The associated NetFIELD IO-Link Wireless Bridge can wirelessly connect almost all IO-Link-capable sensors to the master. Only a 24 V power supply is required to transfer the data of the connected IO-Link sensors or actuators, wirelessly and IO-Link wireless compliant and bidirectionally. The power supply is provided by default on the devices in most cases.