Parker Hannifin, as part of its global focus on factory automation, has added smart connectivity of its pneumatic valve islands to machine controllers by introducing new IO-Link modules that can be quickly integrated with existing Parker valve ranges. Ethernet based protocol independent and vendor neutral, this new module offers plug-and-play valve compatibility for customers currently using Industrial Ethernet, meaning they can benefit from similar performance and reduced system complexity at a lower cost. This communication technology allows devices to be simply and easily integrated in the same way as all commonly used fieldbus and automation systems – users do not need to be trained in a new protocol. In addition, the network configuration can be stored or written into the code and downloaded to the device with no programming required.
Connected valve technology provides the option to add intelligence and decentralize control which enables advanced machine-to-machine control in a highly cost efficient and simplified way, especially when used on small to medium size machines. As OEMs look to get more performance data to their maintenance teams quickly, IO-Link offers time critical extended diagnostics (not available through traditional discrete solutions) that can prove vital in preventing costly downtime.
Upgrading to IO-Link enables Parker customers to significantly reduce time spent on commissioning and configuration therefore reducing labor costs and leading to shorter time to market. The module offers many benefits over the use of 25 pin/D-sub connectors as terminating and troubleshooting multiple points of failure is both time consuming and costly. Using standard, non-shielded, five-pin proximity switch cables and connectors helps to reduce inventory levels and costs by a factor of five compared with protocol-specific cables while still benefiting from similar diagnostics and performance as when using more complex Fieldbus connection methods.
In addition, using IO-Link gives system engineers the flexibility to design their control architecture with fewer Ethernet nodes, and at the same time, using the smaller IO-Link head module aids the development of machines with a smaller overall footprint.