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Balluff simplifies sensor integration
With the Industry 4.0 and 4IR strategies driving the increase in additional analogue sensors and devices being adopted in manufacturing, there is an associated growth in the demand to handle these signals, preferably via the machine control network.
Integrating analogue signals via a networked control architecture can often be more difficult and costly than one would desire. Shielded outputs from analogue devices must be handled outside the network and terminated to conventional analogue I/O cards. Furthermore, additional machine-mounted network blocks may be required to ensure a sufficient number of analogue ports are available. These difficulties are compounded by the variety of analogue signal types encountered, such as voltage, current, and thermocouple.
Balluff’s introduction of a new IO-Link analogue hub solves these challenges by making the handling of analogue signals a plug-n-play process.
“At Balluff, our focus is to simplify controls and integration of a variety of sensors and devices by offering a unified interface for device-level connectivity,” says Russell Smith, product marketing manager for industrial networking and safety. “This new IO-Link analogue hub is a major milestone along the way,”
Balluff’s new 8-channel analogue measurement hub utilises IO-Link to bring all measurement data through an IO-Link master module and into the controller seamlessly via the existing industrial network. “The classical approach to analogue integration required either purchasing expensive, controller specific 2 or 4-channel analogue-to-digital input cards or purchasing a specific network-dependent remote analogue module,” Russell continues. “Balluff’s new IO-Link-based analogue hub eliminates the disadvantages of both of these approaches.”
Working in concert with an IO-Link master module, the analogue hub expands the already-substantial capabilities of the master to host multiple analogue devices over a single IO-Link port, making the IO-Link-based architecture even more flexible and cost-effective. The analogue hub offers customers the choice to use either dedicated IO-Link sensors or conventional analogue sensors to scale and fit their solution. This analogue hub enhances Balluff’s extensive IO-Link portfolio and further enables building resilient modular control architectures that can enable I4.0 strategies.
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