The IO-Link protocol is a powerful standard, and it has had an increasing influence on the device networking industry in recent years. According to a study conducted by Quest TechnoMarketing, referenced in an article from Profibus, 47% of machine manufacturing companies are expected to be using IO-Link technology by 2016. Furthermore, IO-Link has been implemented into the systems of nearly all PLC manufacturers. Fourteen fieldbus systems, along with the majority of sensor and actuator manufacturers, have followed suit.
There are numerous reasons for IO-Link’s impressive growth, the first being the potential cost savings that go along with using IO-Link technology. According to Profibus, companies that switch to IO-Link protocol stand to save up to 30% on the costs of using alternative protocols. This savings is made possible by IO-Link’s simplistic cabling through standardization of interfaces and cables and faster troubleshooting with IO-Link’s diagnostic mechanisms. According to the research from Quest TechnoMarketing, upwards of 90% of IO-Link users in the study reported satisfaction with the IO-Link protocol.
The second reason for IO-Link’s growth, according to Quest TechnoMarketing, is its compatibility with most industry sectors. As stated before, nearly all PLC manufacturers have implemented IO-Link into their systems, along with 14 fieldbus systems and the majority of sensor and actuator manufacturers. This makes IO-Link a viable solution in any industry sector, from automotive and carpentry, to manufacturing and energy.
Comtrol, a member of the international IO-Link Consortium and named the North American IO-Link Competency Center, foresaw the success of IO-Link. In 2010, we began developing a line of IO-Link products labeled IO-Link Masters. Comtrol’s IO-Link Master 4-EIP gateway is the industry’s highest density IO-Link gateway. Furthermore, The IO-Link to EtherNet/IP™ master combines the benefits of standard IO-Link with the EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP protocols. This allows easy integration of IO-Link Masters into system networks with existing or new industrial Ethernet installations.