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When To Enable IO-Link Technology in Your Operation

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Smart sensors—unlike standard sensors communicate data that can help machines operate more effectively. These smart sensors allow manufacturers to capture contextual and diagnostic data and leverage it across the manufacturing enterprise.

While smart sensors offer key insights into a manufacturing operation, it’s not necessary for all sensors on a plant floor to be smart. As discussed in earlier blogs, sensors that easily become dirty or need their parameters changed on a regular basis are ideal candidates for “smart” sensing capabilities. And another instance where smart sensing may be ideal are those applications where the sensor may experience damage.

Assess Your Damage

Some sensors are susceptible to damage due to contact with the object being sensed. This is most common in inductive proximity sensor applications where the sensor and the target must be very close.

In fact, sensor-to-target collision is the most common cause of sensor failure. Normal machine wear and tear might cause the target to get too close to the sensor, ultimately making contact and damaging the sensor face.

Today’s smart sensors can alert users when a target is edging closer to the sensor so that adjustments can be made before damage can occur.

Plus, timestamp functionality on our IP67 IO-Link master will pinpoint sensor events by adding a time and date to the event. This enables the machine operator to be notified BEFORE the device fails.

Maintenance can service the machine during a normal maintenance cycle to ensure the machine is in operation for a maximum amount of time. All sensor/device supported events and input transitions will be timestamped by the IO-Link master.

Take Your Operation’s Temperature

Our smart sensors also send internal temperature readings back to the controller. This can be useful if your machine experiences extreme climate changes.

For example, take a machine in a food application involving a freezer. On the outside of the machine there is a gear with a proximity sensor to monitor that the gear/conveyor is moving at a constant rate.

Occasionally the sensor freezes up and/or the mounting bracket freezes, causing the bracket to bend and damaging the sensor head.

This not only requires maintenance to come out and replace the sensor but also means quality assurance personnel must be dispatched to confirm the product still meets/exceeds standards.

Such an instance requires additional resources and causes product shipment delays. By monitoring the internal temperature of the sensor, they can predict and, therefore, prevent the loss of data which ensures QA no longer needs to test the product.

Understanding the cost of sensor configurations for downtime related to sensor damage is the key to determining if smart sensors will benefit your operation.

If you’re still unsure whether smart sensors are right for you, check our previous blogs about smart sensors and IOT and how to tell whether your operations are ready for smart sensors.

You can also see this webinar to learn more.

Kevin Zomchek
Kevin Zomchek
Business Manager, Rockwell Automation
Kevin Zomchek

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