IO-Link Safety specification released

30 May 2017

With the recent release and publication of the IO-Link Safety specification by the IO-Link community and its concept assessment approval by the TÜV SÜD, the way looks paved for the implementation of IO-Link Safety enabled systems and devices. 

Like IO-Link, IO-Link Safety achieves its fieldbus and system-independence through conversion of the many safety protocols available on the market to IO-Link Safety in the master. Currently there are over 4,000 IO-Link masters and for these to create a new system for IO-Link Safety, all that is necessary is to develop a corresponding IO-Link Safety master. Existing IO-Link Safety devices can then be used without modification. 

The time and effort for configuring IO-Link Safety is minimal, with  authentication being derived from the assignment to the master port, and the monitoring time is set automatically for each device. As with IO-Link, devices can be replaced without the need for any an engineering tools. A replaced device is automatically assigned the stored parameters of its predecessor after startup. 

Open and secure parameterisation of safety devices is always a challenge. IO-Link Safety devices have an IODD device description, which contains the complete communication properties, identification, parameterisation, and diagnosis. However, the applicable standards require a ‘dedicated safety tool’ to rule out manipulations. A software interface therefore exists for integrating the dedicated tools associated with the devices into the IO-Link engineering tools. 

The Device Tool Interface (DTI) has been kept simple and ensures that integration into the existing IO-Link engineering tools does not pose a problem and that safety-related device software can be adapted and used further on the device side. 

In the process, it is important that the package consisting of the IO-Link Safety device, IODD, and the ‘dedicated tool’ can be used globally in all system environments without modification. In this way users can access a broad range of devices – regardless of what automation system they use or in what industry and region they work.

On the basis of the existing specification, manufacturers can now begin to integrate IO-Link Safety into their systems. The test specification, the test system, and the certification are being developed in parallel. Products are expected to be available in 2018.

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