What is IO-Link Wireless Technology?
IO-Link Wireless is a global wireless communication standard designed for factory automation based on the IO-Link IEC 61131-9 standard and is defined as a systematic extension of the already established IO-Link base technology, retaining the benefits of IO-Link while introducing additional benefits specifically tailored to modern industrial needs. It is designed to replace cables in factory automation for remote sensor/actuator control and monitoring. It is ideally suited to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0, allowing easy real-time access to devices for actuation and data collection.
IO-Link Wireless defines wireless network communication between sensors, actuators, and controllers in a factory automation environment. It is designed to provide a similar level of performance to cable and a backward compatible interface so that migration from a wired to a wireless system is made easy. IO-Link Wireless provides deterministic latency communication of up to 5 ms for each wireless node (sensor or actuator) at each master, guaranteeing that every packet is delivered within a certain latency.
A 5 ms IO-Link Wireless cycle consists of 3 sub-cycles, each with a duration of 1.6 ms. Each subcycle communicates at a different frequency. The subcycle consists of a downlink portion and an uplink portion. The downlink portion is broadcast by the IO-Link Wireless master to all IO-Link Wireless wireless devices on the track. The uplink portion is a unicast time-multiplexed message that is subsequently sent by the IO-Link Wireless device based on a defined time slot.
IO-Link Wireless devices operate in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band. One IO-Link Wireless master can support up to 40 IO-Link Wireless devices. Each master is divided into five channels, and each channel of the wireless master can support up to eight IO-Link Wireless devices. All wireless master channels communicate simultaneously on different frequencies for optimal network utilization. In addition, multiple IO-Link Wireless masters can coexist in the same space.
IO-Link Wireless Features
Reliability: IO-Link Wireless achieves reliability of 1e-9 Packet Error Rate (PER) through Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying (GFSK) modulation and a mechanism for repeating critical data. In comparison, it is five orders of magnitude more reliable than wireless standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee, which have a PER of 1e-3.
Deterministic: IO-Link Wireless is designed as a deterministic protocol that guarantees that each packet will be delivered within a certain latency. the structure of the IO-Link Wireless cycle is tightly defined, and its deterministic attributes ensure network predictability.
Low Latency: The IO-Link Wireless system is deterministic 5 milliseconds low latency. Each 5-millisecond IO-Link Wireless cycle consists of three sub-cycles, each with a duration of 1.6 milliseconds.
Scalable: Each master is divided into five channels, each channel of the wireless master can support up to 8 units, and each wireless master can be connected to 40 nodes. Three masters can co-exist in a zone, so up to 120 devices can be expanded in a single IO-Link Wireless unit.
Coexistence: IO-Link Wireless systems coexist with other wireless networks and jammers through mechanisms such as blacklisting and adaptive frequency hopping. Blacklisting is a mechanism designed to avoid potential over-the-air collisions with wireless systems such as Wi-Fi. Frequency hopping is used to ensure adequate performance of IO-Link Wireless system components and to reduce the impact of interference. As an anti-interference measure, frequency hopping alternates frequency channels in each transmission, resulting in a PER of 1e-9, which is comparable to a wired connection.
Compatibility: IO-Link Wireless is compatible with IO-Link and can be used with IO-Link integration methods and tools, providing a distinct advantage to system integrators and plant personnel.
Applications for IO-Link Wireless
The use of IO-Link Wireless provides machine builders, system integrators, and industrial equipment manufacturers with high-performance machine digitization, wireless connectivity, and edge solutions for faster, more flexible manufacturing. Industrial-grade wireless communications are a key pillar of Industry 4.0 applications, enabling new levels of flexibility and agility and further driving predictive maintenance and operational excellence to meet the needs of flexible manufacturing. IO-Link Wireless enables more advanced transport and conveyor systems, more flexible robotic movements, rotating machinery that can be controlled and monitored in real time, and sensors that can be placed at any location in the factory for and sensors can be placed anywhere in the factory for real-time data collection.
Collaborative Robotics – Increased Flexibility
The key requirements for robotics are degrees of freedom and flexibility of movement, rotation, and cornering. This means that the cabling that reaches the end-effector must be designed in such a way that it does not restrict the actual operation of the robot arm. Wireless connectivity allows for better design and form factor and eliminates the need to think about cables, enabling features such as continuous rotation, greater operating range, and modular deployment of sensors and actuators. IO-Link Wireless enables wireless connectivity of robotic and collaborative robotic end-effectors, with the same reliability as wired communications, without constraints.
Transport Rails and Intelligent Conveyor Systems – Mass Customization
Independently moving transport rail systems are becoming a key element in the design of new machines in industries such as packaged consumer goods, food and beverage, and automotive. However, these mobile units are limited by wired IO and communications for real-time control and monitoring. Transport systems can be integrated with sensors and actuators via IO-Link Wireless communications, and products can be handled in continuous motion with the greatest flexibility and synchronization, enabling automated changeovers and rapid tooling setup for flexible production. Wireless connectivity also means fewer mechanical parts, which reduces machine footprint and maintenance costs.
Retrofitting and Condition Monitoring – Reducing Maintenance and Downtime
Measuring and analyzing line performance helps to improve product quality, reduce waste, increase line speed, prevent unplanned downtime, and perform predictive maintenance. the IO-Link Wireless solution collects optimal data from hundreds of sensors in the packaging machine within a single machine area. Designed to operate in very harsh environments such as interference, vibration, and noise, the solution makes it simple and efficient to retrofit and refurbish numerous devices on existing machines and simplifies relocations, upgrades, and new machine deployments.
Machine Optimization and Data Collection – Improving Safety
Data collection is often not considered cost-effective or feasible in industrial environments. A sensor must be placed where the data resides, and these locations are often challenging to reach, such as inside machine parts, on fast-moving or rotating platforms, or in remote locations. The IO-Link Wireless solution is a secure way to wirelessly connect devices to the cloud.
Industrial-grade wireless communication is a key pillar of Industry 4.0 applications, and the use of IO-Link Wireless technology enables wireless communication between sensors, actuators, and other devices, providing a more robust, reliable, and flexible communication solution for the transformational development of Industry 4.0 and flexible manufacturing. IO-Link Wireless represents a significant advancement in industrial automation. advancement in industrial automation, providing a wireless alternative to the established IO-Link protocol. It offers benefits that cater to a range of key areas in industrial environments, such as transport rails and conveyor systems, robotics and collaborative robots, retrofit and condition monitoring, intelligent machine tools, rotary tables and carousels as well as machine optimization and data collection. By adopting these innovative wireless solutions, organizations can enhance their intelligence in managing operations, promoting sustainability, and achieving overall enhanced performance.