World's first plant with IO Link technology

06 May 2008

The world's first plant with IO Link technology has been installed on the packaging line at Duni GmbH in Bramsche, Germany, a producer of table decorations. The system was commissioned by the packaging systems integrator firm meurer Verpackungssysteme.

On the new line, a dozen SICK photoelectric proximity switches communicate with the controller, which is in a Profibus fieldbus environment. The in-house designed touchscreen interface displays the sensor signals, and according to the operators it—in combination with the IO Link communication technology—has simplified machine operation to a large extent, providing greater flexibility, operational reliability and availability for the end-user.

Some idea of the usefulness of IO Link was gained during the commissioning phase, where all teach-in functions were performed via the touchscreen panel. Parameters such as the sensor’s scanning distance are called up from the automation system during operation, transferred to the sensors and, if necessary, displayed on the panel.

During plant operation, there are two areas where IO Link sensor communication becomes important, say meurer engineers: first, when the system is transitioning between different packaging orders and has to make adjustments on the fly, and secondly, for the use of preventive maintenance and the correction of faults.

With the automated system, it is no longer necessary to carry out a mechanical readjustment of the sensors every time the order changes, and their settings are 100% reproducible from order to order. Secondly, if there is a problem, the machine operator can immediately diagnose it by touching the sensor image on the panel and viewing the diagnostic information, which is displayed as the sensor signal quality in figures and as a bar graph, the status of the switching output, the level of contamination, the display of any short-circuit, and information on any misalignment or interference from other sensors.

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