Balluff Simplifies Analog Integration with IO-Link

analog hub with io link
analog hub with io link

Analog I/O hub consolidates analog signals to a single IO-Link port

Integrating analog signals is increasingly difficult and/or costly in networked control architectures. Shielded outputs from analog devices must be handled outside the network and terminated to conventional analog I/O cards, or additional machine-mounted network blocks must be added to ensure a sufficient number of analog ports are available. These difficulties are compounded by the variety of analog signal types encountered, such as voltage, current, and thermocouple.

Now Balluff, with the introduction of a new IO-Link analog hub, solves these challenges by making it as simple as plug-n-play.

"At Balluff, our focus is to simplify controls and integration of a variety of sensors and actuators by offering a unified interface for device-level connectivity. This new IO-Link analog hub is a major milestone along the way," says Shishir Rege, Marketing Manager for Networks and Safety.

Balluff's new 8-channel analog measurement hub utilizes IO-Link to bring all measurement data through an IO-Link master module and into the controller seamlessly. "The classical approaches to analog integration required either purchasing expensive 2- or 4-channel analog-to-digital converter modules compatible to the controller in use, or purchasing a specific network-dependent analog remote module. Balluff's new IO-Link-based analog hub eliminates the disadvantages of both of these approaches," Rege continues.

Working in concert with an IO-Link master block, the analog hub expands the already-substantial capabilities of the master to host multiple analog devices over a single IO-Link port, making the IO-Link-based architecture even more flexible and cost-effective. "The analog hub offers our customers the choice to use either dedicated IO-Link sensors or conventional analog sensors to scale and fit their solution. This analog hub enhances Balluff's extensive IO-Link portfolio and further enables building resilient modular control architectures for today's complex automation, "says Rege.

Features and benefits of the analog hub:

  • Each channel on the analog hub is fully configurable inputs for voltage, current, or temperature measurements, enabling a flexible integration approach
  • Analog-to-digital conversion resolution can be configured per channel as 10-, 12-, 14- or 16-bits to meet the demands of the application
  • Software-based set-points can be assigned per channel, eliminating the need to physically teach set-points on the sensor, in turn reducing downtime during sensor replacement
  • Eliminates long shielded-cable runs and expensive analog cards in the controls cabinet