Looking back, the days of classic muscle cars stand out as a remarkable period in automotive history. Consider how they were built, including every component along the assembly line connected through intricate wiring, resulting in prolonged challenges related to both wiring and maintenance. Advancements in technology led to the introduction of junction blocks, yet this didn’t entirely solve the persistent problems associated with time and connections.
In the mid-2000s, a collaborative effort among multiple companies resulted in the development of the IO-Link protocol. This protocol effectively tackled the wiring and maintenance issues. Since its inception, IO-Link has continued to progress and evolve.
In 2023, we’re taking the next step with a wireless IO-Link master block.
In modern manufacturing, the process involves using independently moving automated guided vehicles (AGVs), also known as skillets. These AGVs are responsible for performing various tasks along the production line before completing their circuit and returning to their initial position. Initially, when these AGVs were integrated, each of these skillets was equipped with a programmable logic controller (PLC), which incurred significant expenses and extended the setup time. Additionally, the scalability of this system was limited by the available IP addresses for the nodes.
Demand for wireless IO-Link blocks
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for wireless IO-Link blocks. Now, a solution to meet this demand is available. The wireless IO-Link block works in a manner similar to the existing current blocks but without the need for a PLC, simplifying wiring and using existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Imagine a conveyor scenario where numerous AGVs follow a designated path, each with a hub attached. The setup would look something like this: up to 40 hubs communicating simultaneously with a central master. Each hub has the capacity to accommodate up to eight connected devices, resulting in a total of 320 distinct IO points managed by a single IO-Link master.
Communication among these blocks employs a protocol akin to that of a cell phone. As an AGV transitions from one master hub to another, it continues to transmit its data. Within each hub, an identity parameter not only designates the specific hub but also identifies the associated skillets and the location within the manufacturing plant.
Transitioning to a wireless system leads to a substantial reduction in your overall cost of ownership. This includes decreased setup times, simplified troubleshooting, lower maintenance efforts, and a reduced need for spare parts.
We are in an exciting time of technological advancement. Make sure you are moving alongside us!