Drives and Controls Magazine
Gateway links IO-Link devices to industrial Ethernet
Published:  29 October, 2014

Comtrol has announced a device which, it says, combines the benefits of IO-Link sensor communications with EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP industrial Ethernet protocols. The IO-Link Master 4-EIP Master connects “smart” IO-Link sensors and actuators to factory networks, while shielding PLC programmers from the complexities of IO-Link. It is said to result in simpler EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP interfaces, cutting system development times and installation efforts.

“Comtrol is excited to extend its device communication expertise to digital IO sensors via the IO-Link standard,” says the company’s president, Bradford Beale. “With our new IO-Link Master products, we can provide factory sensors a direct connection to ERP software systems, such as SAP. This direct connection to SAP achieves the goals of Industry 4.0 – or the Industrial Internet of Things – for global factory visibility.”

He adds that the gateway supports a variety of IO-Link device manufacturers, whose sensors and actuators it recognises automatically. The auto-recognition function uses stored IO-Link sensor IODD (IO device description) files for automatic discovery and default configuration.

Comtrol's gateway connects IO-Link devices to industrial Ethernet networks

By connecting IO-Link sensors to EtherNet/IP and Modbus networks, the IP67-protected device provides access to the sensors’ process, event and service data. It incorporates M12 connectors with two Fast Ethernet ports for network connection, and four IO-Link ports.