The Advantages of IO-Link Smart Sensor Technology

by Justin Marriott , Product Manager - Key Filters

April 30, 2021

IO-Link smart sensor technology has received a great deal of attention recently and for good reasons. This technology has found its way into many industrial applications due to its advantages over standard binary and analog interfaces. IO-Link smart sensors are a much more intelligent communication technology that not only transfers measured values and switching signals but can also store parameters, deliver signal quality, and device status.

What is the IO-Link smart sensor technology?

IO-Link is a globally standardized, manufacturer-independent communication technology for sensors and other devices that allows for bi-directional exchange of data. These devices are connected to a master control which not only allows communication to each device but also transmits data over various networks, fieldbuses, or backplane buses.

What are the advantages?

  1. Data - The most powerful advantage of an IO-Link system is access to data. Access to process, service and event data ensures a smoother operation of system components, provides constant process status, streamlines device replacement, and optimizes machine maintenance schedules – all of which reduces machine downtime and costly repairs.


  1. Maintenance - Troubleshooting efforts are significantly reduced since the system provides users with visibility into errors and health status. This visibility gives users a glimpse into what the sensor is doing and how well it is performing. It also identifies which sensor is malfunctioning and aids in diagnosing solutions without shutting down the machine or the entire line. Also, the IO-Link master block holds all the parameters for the sensors, so there is no need to recalibrate or change parameters when replacing a sensor. The master block will automatically update the sensor with this information.


  1. Simplifies Connections - One key advantage of the IO-Link is the reduction of cable connections. A good example is the IO-Link master block mounted on a remote style Key Filters KCH which separates the screen changer from the cart where all the electrical and hydraulic connections are kept. Mounting the IO-Link master block to the KCH where all the sensors reside simplifies connections since only two cables, ethernet, and power, are run to the panel located on the machine’s cart.


  1. Precise Measurements - Another notable advantage is obtaining more precise measurements with these sensors. For example, with an analog pressure transducer, a 0-10V or 4-20ma signal is sent back to the PLC to scale to the actual pressure reading.  An IO-Link sensor provides a direct pressure reading signal back to the PLC, eliminating the need to scale the value.

To view a recent example of how Parkinson Technologies is utilizing IO-Link smart sensor technology, please view the video below.