IO-Link
IO-Link

We Speak IO-Link – in the Entire Production Process

IO-Link communication ensures transparency for all of automation, in every field – including logistics, service, manufacturing, assembly, testing and packaging – and for every single application including fluid, identification, position sensing and object detection. This enables seamless communication from the field level up to the cloud.

At Balluff you gain holistic IO-Link solutions with high-performance IO-Link sensors and the best IO-Link network and connectivity technology. Innovative solutions from Balluff such as Safety over IO-Link, the LED signal towers and the Balluff SmartLight, impressively show how IO-Link technology enables intelligent machines, systems and smart production processes. Balluff speaks IO-Link in every field and with all principles of operation, so you have access to IO-Link advantages throughout the entire system and for each individual machine:

  • IO-Link is easy to install
  • IO-Link increases machine availability
  • IO-Link enables need-oriented maintenance
  • IO-Link makes operations more efficient

Security with IO-Link

Security is a priority. Therefore, to increase the efficiency of safety concepts and integrate them into the system control, we have developed a safe I/O module – the Balluff Safety Hub, the first integrated safety solution using IO-Link communication. Safety over IO-Link is easy to integrate, responds quickly and can replace the control cabinet. Safety over IO-Link connects automation and security technology and communicates down to the last meter. The IO-Link interface delivers details on sensors and actuators, in addition to information that is relevant to security.

IO-Link SmartLight

The LED signal towers, SmartLight from Balluff, use a flexible, diverse spectrum of colors to indicate operating conditions such as temperature, current system levels or even the position of a slide in a linear displacement system. This allows you to simply read what a current status is based on the color scale. All colors can be individually set via the controller. Different colors can be assigned with a few commands, without having to mechanically change the LED stack lights. This means you can even make changes in the course of operation thanks to IO-Link.

We Speak IO-Link

Balluff speaks IO-Link in every field and with all principles of operation. Together, we are making full use of all possibilities for IO-Link communication. In the following, you will see how you can use IO-Link performance in a variety of ways.

Application examples

  • Simplifying Network Topology

    Interconnected, noise-free communication

    All devices become IO-Link capable

    Modern robotics equipment requires many sensors – especially in the robot arm which, for proper dynamics and minimum energy consumption, need to have as little mass as possible. Cumbersome wiring of multiple conductor cables can make this difficult.

    These problems are minimized with IO-Link. IO-Link requires only a traditional industrial cable which is simple to install. IO-Link also ensures noise immunity with intelligent devices without the need for shielded cables.

    Whether Profibus/Profinet over CC-Link/CC-Link IE-Field, Devicenet or Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT, our IO-Link masters let you use IO-Link with any controller. After all, IO-Link is fieldbus-neutral. With IO-Link you can bring a wide variety of devices together in the structure so that even the most complex tasks, including robotics and beyond, can be simply mastered with the greatest possible flexibility. The universal IO-Link interface integrates intelligent devices into the controller. Likewise you can integrate standard analog sensors into the controller using our IO-Link analog converters. Or simply connect them to our IO-Link hubs, which can digitize the analog input signals and pass them on to the IO-Link master. With the IO-Link master you can also control actuators and valve terminals. Simply use the valve interface to connect the valve terminal to the IO-Link master. Again, all you need is a standard cable to make use of the full functionality.

    A Balluff IO-Link sensor hub bundles the signals from up to 16 sensors or actuators. Another highlight is our cascadable hubs with expansion port which allow you to connect an additional sensor hub or a valve terminal. If these hubs are cascaded with an additional hub and connected to our 16x IO-Link master, a module transmits up to 496 inputs/outputs.

  • Transmit power and data without contact

    Fast Tool Changing

    Maximum flexibility with robot radius increased to 360 degrees

    Inductive couplers are a windfall for robotics because they send both data and power simultaneously over an air gap. How do you benefit? Greatly, and in many ways – the risk of cable breaks is fully precluded, mechanical contacting of mechanical connectors is eliminated, and the robot has a continuous radius of movement of 360 degrees.

    Our inductive couplers with IO-Link guarantee you fast gripper changes and increase the uptime of your system. This is because the signal is transmitted directly following the gripper change so production can continue without interruption. The speed and flexibility support frequent format changes. The result is that you can produce even small batches efficiently. Another attractive feature: no mechanical wear means inductive couplers are maintenance-free.

    The quick-disconnect units provide robust flexibility for your machine design. Even hard to access components are simple to connect with IO-Link since IO-Link capable devices now connect to the IO-Link master and to the controller flexibly and without contact.

    The bi-directional inductive data couplers allow data to be sent in both directions, and you can simultaneously control actuators and valve terminals while collecting signals. These variants support the full IO-Link functionality so that intelligent sensors and actuators can be configured and diagnosed without contact.

  • Full transparency all the time

    Position Workpieces in Assembly

    Smart diagnostics increases reliability

    When it comes to Industry 4.0, generating, transporting and processing information are indispensable parts of the process. This makes local intelligent sensors all the more important. Our photoelectric multi-function sensors detect actual operating states while collecting and processing information. And via IO-Link they provide far more data than just the switching signal.

    The BOS 21M ADCAP multi-function sensor with red light is ideal for optimally positioning your workpieces for assembly. For the best functionality, you can use IO-Link to conveniently select between four different sensor modes. This allows you to utilize the best and most reliable detection method depending on your application.

    The sensor simultaneously sends diagnostic data as well. Now you can evaluate the light emissivity value provided and detect increasing contamination of the sensor. This allows maintenance and cleaning schedules to be designed so the sensor is always cleaned at just the right time before failures can occur. You also know whether the sensors are still optimally adjusted after a cleaning.

    The BOS 21M ADCAP can do even more: it continuously monitors light intensity and brightness of the LED emitter beam so that faulty switching of the sensor is virtually eliminated. The built-in count function with various counting and reset modes also allows the quantity to be checked in the controller without any additional programming effort.

    If your detection requirements are even more demanding, we offer our photoelectric high-precision laser BOS 21M HPL with numerous additional functions. Thanks to various detection and processing modes, this high-performer also detects complex objects and the smallest details with absolute precision.

  • For high production quality

    Monitor process media

    Plug-and-play sensor replacement maximizes uptime

    Pressure sensors are indispensable when you need to monitor process media such as coolants and lubricants, hydraulic fluids and pneumatics. The system pressure affects things such as the surface quality when processing workpieces. Continuous and exact regulation of the pressure is provided by our IO-Link pressure sensors, which continuously transmit their measurement values and data to the controller.

    Pressure sensors also ensure the best results on a machining center. There they provide clamping distance monitoring to guarantee secure holding of the workpiece and tool in the lathe.

    IO-Link pressure sensors are configured via the controller so they can be optimally installed where the action is or in hard to reach places for measurements and the are perfectly matched to the machine design. This guarantees you fast and precise results and reduces your costs, since you can now reduce cumbersome mechanical installation of hydraulic lines to a minimum.

    IO-Link pressure sensors ensure that you enjoy the greatest possible machine uptime. Replacing a sensor is plug-andplay, since the data for the replaced sensor is automatically loaded into the IO-Link master.

    Depending on your requirements you can choose between IO-Link pressure sensors with display and IO-Link pressure transmitters without display. This ensures you the best and most economical solution.

  • More flexibility was never easier

    Easily Visualizing Operating States

    One light. Many functions. Unlimited uses.

    It’s not yet possible to foresee all the demands of the Smart Factory. But to visualize your automation you can get a modern IO-Link device today that has virtually unlimited applications and is ideally equipped for the future.

    The LED stack light with IO-Link interface offers you previously unimagined flexibility because with the Balluff SmartLight you can represent operating states in detail. You can even see trends and progressions. The SmartLight features three different modes.

    You can display a wide range of color signals in freely configurable segments (Segment mode), use the color progression display for representing variables such as level, position or temperature (Level mode) and operate an automatic run light with freely programmable foreground and background color (Run Light mode). The best part: You can change to any mode on-the-fly. Colors can also be changed while running because you configure the SmartLight simply from the controller. So forget the cumbersome mechanical reconfiguration of traditional stack lights. Unlike those older systems, you can individually specify the colors and zones for number, size and color definition.

    Like all IO-Link devices, the SmartLight is simple to connect and install. A 3-conductor sensor cable is all you need to quickly connect it to your system and have immediate access to the full functionality.

  • Reliable condition monitoring: high product quality

    Constant temperatures for induction hardening

    Sensors installed right where the action is

    Whether you process your parts by annealing or induction hardening, our infrared temperature sensors will help give you full control over your quality. This is because monitoring temperatures during the hardening process is extremely important, in order to not damage the workpiece and to ensure the required product quality. Our sensors in the rugged M30 stainless steel housing handle this job reliably and without contact, at a temperature range of from 250 to 1,250 °C. They detect hot objects even while moving. Our temperature sensors make it possible to significantly reduce the process time.

    An important value in non-contact temperature detection is emissivity. You can teach this with just a key press if you know the object temperature. This is usually simpler than exactly determining the emissivity values, and it adds the advantage that you can set the machine up in a much shorter time.

    IO-Link lets you install the non-contact sensors just where they are needed, even in inaccessible locations, since you can now configure all the functions and parameters remotely, via the controller. Nor are any setting changes necessary at the sensor location when products are changed. This is because the appropriate configuration sets can be updated and loaded at any time via IO-Link.

    This communication standard enables continuous diagnostics. At the same time, you can query the device status at any time through the IO-Link interface. Additionally, the information provided by the sensor via IO-Link related to ambient conditions can be logged and documented, including the temperature values for the hot workpieces.

  • Continual, non-contact linear position measurement

    Monitoring the clamping process in the machine system

    Exceptional quality and reliability – even in harsh industrial environments

    Compact, precise tool spindles, clamping cylinders and tool changers on a machining center play a central role in the work process. This is why reliable and wear-free monitoring of the ongoing clamping process in the machine system is so critical.

    Meet this demanding challenge simply with the new IO-Link positioning system. It features an absolute measuring principle and transmits an additional out-of-range bit. This tells the controller that the target has left the measuring range, thereby increasing reliability. In addition, you can set up to three switching signals, and internal temperature detection is also possible. The high linearity and precise repeat accuracy of the measuring system delivers reliable results.

    At the same time, the non-contact measuring system in the fully potted housing ensures the highest process reliability and automation quality – even in the harshest industrial environments. Also advantageous is the high level of electromagnetic compatibility. You can use our inductive IO-Link positioning system in many different ways thanks to its configurable measuring range and its compact size means it can be installed even where space is at a premium.

    Its digital IO-Link signal means the positioning system is guaranteed to be noise-immune even using unshielded cables. Thanks to IO-Link, you can eliminate an analog input card.

  • Complete ID solutions for transfer systems

    Acquire Data in Real Time

    Optimize the parts tracking process

    When your automation calls for parts tracking, there is no good alternative to RFID because these self-controlling systems record and document all the data in real time. They make every single production step, every material used and each operating resource traceable, so that corrections are possible while the process is still running. The full transparency provided by RFID is a necessity for process optimization while ensuring high product quality.

    Our rugged BIS V processor unit provides fast data transmission, short cycle times and increased data security in all applications. This lets you use different RFID technologies – LF, HF and UHF – simultaneously on a single processor unit. One processor unit is all you need to handle any application. This high-performer features perfect electromagnetic compatibility and works with all common bus systems for whatever industry you are in.

    BIS V comes with four ports which can be individually configured and operated simultaneously with up to four read/ write heads. In addition, you can connect IO-Link capable sensors and actuators or a sensor hub with up to 16 sensors to the integrated IO-Link master port. This lets you bundle sensor data simply with any network technology. Your network structure becomes more efficient, while you save time and money.

    Alternately, you can use IO-Link ID systems. As easy to connect to the IO-Link master as a sensor, they do not require a processor unit. The bottom line: IO-Link makes parts tracking especially economical.

  • Fast parameter replacement, minimum scrap

    Automate Format Changes

    React quickly and flexibly to changing requirements

    Ever smaller lot sizes mean your production has to respond ever faster to changing customer demands while also being flexible since different sizes and formats are involved in feeding, processing and packaging the material.

    The position and spacing of the adjustment points, such as for transport belts and guide rails, therefore, need to be reset each time the product format is changed. Using position measuring systems for format changing shortens the change time, increases product quality and reduces scrap to a minimum.

    Our magnetostrictive linear position sensors with IO-Link interface provide high-precision, fast and absolute position detection for your individual format settings. The rugged design with a hermetically sealed housing makes it completely impervious to contamination, shock and vibration. You will benefit from high machine and system up-time even under extreme ambient conditions. Simultaneously querying multiple positions with a single positioning system saves you additional integration effort and cost.

    IO-Link gives you multiple benefits: incorporation into the control system and times savings thanks to replacing the parameters using the defined protocols. Plug-and-play makes system interchanges quick and easy. The system is up and ready again immediately with no homing move for a maximum stroke length of 4572 mm.

  • Simple handling, versatile application and economical

    Simple handling, versatile application and economical

    Continuously monitor position during movement

    When other travel measuring systems are too large, too slow, too imprecise or too inflexible, you can count on the BML-SL1 absolute magnetic encoder. It is ideal when you need high absolute accuracy of positions and end-of-travel. Specifically developed for measuring and positioning tasks, it is rapid, highly precise and can be used in any industry. The encoder is compact, making it easy to integrate, simple to use and extremely cost-effective.

    Special flexibility comes from its built-in IO-Link interface, which also allows you to conveniently connect the measuring system. Format setup and adjustment are fast and easy using this communication standard because you can easily enter all the parameters from a central location. Using IO-Link you can output position information and easily view it on the controller; you monitor the target position and continually check positions during the move.

    With the BML SL1 you get all the advantages of a magnetic tape system and the innovative interface of the controller world.

  • Simplify industrial vision applications

    Quality control to your individual specifications

    Well-positioned for Industry 4.0 with IO-Link

    For modern, flexible manufacturing, our SmartCamera with fieldbuses and IO-Link offers you a wide range of applications. It takes care of visual quality controls of the finished parts including their production steps by, for example, checking whether size, distance and orientation are correct or whether the parts are complete and undamaged. This means you can discover and correct process errors early in each individual production step. The result is less scrap and reduced follow-up costs.

    To ensure an optimal process, the IO-Link interface allows additional sensors to be incorporated into the overall solution so that with our camera you are well equipped to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0.

    For example, through the IO-Link master interface you can also directly – without a PLC – display process control states using our IO-Link SmartLight stack light. The SmartCamera enables intelligent data management and provides for modern information storage. All the data is formatted as desired and passed on to the host control system.

    The user-friendly interface ensures that all the tasks can be simply and quickly taught according to your individual specifications. The complete software with online help, as well as graphical interface, tool aids and manual, are already integrated. We think you should be able to take brilliant images for granted.

    Our SmartCamera also helps you stabilize your entire production process because it can be configured so that only the information needed for the controller flows through the process network. All other data is directed to a separate gigabit Ethernet network. This minimizes data load and secures your process network.

  • Automated tool management with RFID

    Automated Tool Management

    The right tool assigned to the right machine every time

    When it comes to industrial automation, for more than 30 years Balluff's industrial RFID systems have ensured the high quality of the tools used and their optimal utilization. Our systems always provide the correct tool data to the CNC controller in milling machines and machining centers.

    With RFID from Balluff, the right tool can be assigned to the right machine for any upcoming process. Each individual tool is independently directed through production, checked and, if necessary, reworked and returned. RFID guarantees you unique unambiguous identification of every tool used, since the unique ID on the data carrier is unmistakable. All tool-relevant data can be displayed via IO-link in the controller. This gives you high machining quality and optimal tool utilization. RFID-assisted tool management contributes to greater value creation.

    At Balluff you can choose from low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) systems which, thanks to the great variety of data carriers and read heads, lets you address many kinds of applications, even under challenging conditions. Our low-frequency BIS C has, over the years, established itself as a standard. With our high-frequency BIS M you can handle large data volumes. And if you need to work with both LF and HF, our solutions also provide reliable mixed operation of both frequencies. With Balluff you can choose a frequency-independent, cross-technology processor unit.

  • Information exchange and data transport across all levels

    Safety over IO-Link

    IO-Link supplies sensor/actuator details and secure information

    Robotics is indispensable to modern automation. But robotics demands safety in order to enable the fast interaction between man and machine. Safety technology is therefore a given for automation. Only with it can, for example, fast applications with pick-and-place be realized.

    We create solutions for you which will work precisely and safely over years. And the best part is that they are also quite easy to implement because safety technology from Balluff offers the advantages of IO-Link.

    Safety over IO-Link is simple to integrate and reacts quickly. It communicates down to the last meter and provides both sensor/actuator details as well as safety information. This lets you attain reliable, flexible information exchange and data transport across all levels.

    Integration is as simple as connecting the safe I/O module to the IO-Link master. You can connect nearly any safety device to this system, which is open all the way to the sensor level, and bundle the signals from binary standard sensors. The parameterization is done centrally via the controller. The safety-relevant information is sent through the master to the controller.

  • Easy Hazardous Area Safeguarding

    Simple & Economical Personal Protection

    Economically securing hazardous locations

    An economical solution for securing hazardous locations are our safety light curtains. These non-contact protective devices reliably detect fingers, hands or the body and stop all hazard-inducing movements of machines. They ensure personal safety and eliminate the expense of guard fence constructions, giving you better use the available space. At the same time, you profit from high anti-tamper protection. Simply connect the light grid to the safe I/O module that is connected to the IO-Link master. You have now added the safety function while also reducing costs thanks to the familiar M12 standard connection.

    To reliably feed material to the robot, our safety light curtains can also be used at material locks so that the muting applications can be implemented. There, the safety function is temporarily jumpered when the material is transported through the protective field. Safety is, however, still maintained in case a person inadvertently attempts to enter the hazardous zone.

    In emergency situations, you can use our Emergency-Stop to trigger the stop command to halt the hazardous movement. Our E-Stop is simple to install and versatile in its use. Its compact housing makes it ideal for a wide range of machines and systems and its high protection rating means it is impervious to dust and water.

  • Wear-free and tamper-proof

    Safety for people and systems

    Detect metallic objects without contact

    Our inductive safety sensors provide you with protection for people and equipment. They detect the approach of metallic objects without contact and provide you with the needed safe signals for position or end-of-travel. This let you safely monitor robots and workpiece carriers. Unlike traditional safety switches, inductive safety sensors require no special mating part. It is easy to directly query robot position and end-of-travel of metallic workpiece carriers. Simply connect the sensors to the safe I/O module, which bundles all the signals and passes them to the processor through the IO-Link master.

    An economical solution to access security

    Our REED safety switches ensure wear-free access security. This economical solution is insensitive to door shifting and is highly rugged. Another plus: The spacer even makes it possible to install in ferromagnetic surroundings.

    When there is strong vibration

    If you must meet higher demands, transponder coded safety sensors are indispensable. Our RFID safety sensors ensure safe monitoring of guard doors, which are subjected to strong vibrations. You enjoy the benefit of both high coding levels and high anti-tamper protection because the passive RFID transponders are uniquely identifiable.

    The contamination-resistant sensors, with their generous detection range, are ideal when doors settle or are imprecisely guided. This also means they offer great room to play for installation. And to save on door fittings, you can choose versions with integrated magnetic clamps.

  • For pneumatics and hydraulics

    Safety for Clamping Devices

    All-in-one solution for connecting sensors and actuators – galvanically isolated

    Our galvanically-isolated sensor/actuator hub ensures safety on the workpiece holder. This all-in-one solution allows you to connect both sensors and actuators to just one module. The sensor segment provides the position feedback. At the same time, you can safely turn off the actuator segment using its separately switchable safety circuit, since the IO-Link I/O hub is divided into two galvanically isolated segments.

    To safely interrupt the supply voltage to the actuator segment you need an external safety device. You can then implement safety functions up to SIL2 in accordance with EN62061. Also reassuring: the rugged IP67 metal housing is designed for even the harshest surroundings. Diagnostics are provided by IO-Link and status LEDs. You can also reliably monitor the signal quality.

    Up to eight digital inputs and outputs can be controlled with the module. If the IO-Link connection is interrupted, the outputs assume predefined states which remain until the IO-Link connection is restored. Because of this clear machine status, you can continue to produce without a reference move and save valuable time once the connection is made again.

  • For extreme welding conditions

    Securely transmit signals in electrical noise fields

    Decentralized system architecture in the welding booth

    For the extreme conditions of welding, Balluff offers rugged modules for reliable signal transmission even in the presence of interfering ambient influences. Our weld-immune modules, made of fiberglass reinforced plastic, can reliably handle weld spatter, welding currents and electromagnetic fields.

    The easy to install modules are available as IO-Link masters and IO-Link sensor/actuator hubs each with eight IO-Link ports for 16 inputs and outputs. Each input is short-circuit proof while each output is protected from overload. In addition, our IO-Link sensor/actuator hubs offer an expansion port for connecting an IO-Link valve interface or another IO-Link sensor/actuator hub, meaning you can use up to 30 inputs and outputs. This lets you flexibly integrate innovative fieldbus solutions.

    The efficient point-to-point wiring of IO-Link allows construction of a decentralized system architecture in the welding booth outside the control cabinet. Network nodes equipped with an IO-Link master communicate via Ethernet/IP directly with the main controller or control device on the machine.

    You can connect a wide variety of intelligent sensors or I/O modules with IO-Link interface to the IO-Link ports. This lets you use simple structures that are highly flexible. The parameters are also simple to transmit. Continuous diagnostics ensure reliable monitoring. And the affordable, three-core, unshielded industrial cables reduce wiring time.

  • Condition monitoring and condition-based maintenance

    Adjustable output voltage and diagnostics capabilities

    Diagnostics for predictive maintenance

    Our IO-Link Heartbeat power supplies, known for reliable and efficient voltage supply, stand out for their quality and long service life. They are manufactured from the highest quality components and offer you adjustable output voltage with low ripple.

    Especially notable is their clever diagnostics capability which supports predictive maintenance and condition monitoring for Industry 4.0 requirements.

    Integrated monitoring provides information for load level, stress level and lifetime via IO-Link. This gives you reliable information about the current electrical and thermal load, the degree of wear and the remaining lifetime of the power supply. You can also read this information locally on the status indicator. The 3-color LEDs work like a traffic light.

    You can use IO-Link to call up further detailed diagnostics and status information for the unit, as well as operating parameters and history. This lets you see the data in the higher level control and diagnostics system and ultimately increases system up-time by revealing when you need to replace a unit.

    Specifically developed for controller units, Balluff power supplies can be perfectly integrated into your control package. The extra narrow IP20 housing makes it possible to have a resource-optimized control cabinet design. IP67 variants for supplying power to modules in decentralized structures in direct proximity to the consumer are also available

Discover more about Balluff IO-Link -

SmartLight Indicator Innovative technology for installation and assembly

Human Machine Interfaces: SmartLight One light, three functions

Industry 4.0 Concentrated expertise for industrial automation

Industrial Network Technology Networks with IO-Link

Safety over IO-Link Safety with Balluff quality