Hirose: Connecting the future
Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 99 / 4
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New IO-Link design guidelines and firmware update

A new Design Guideline from the IO-Link Community offers all interested users support during the planning of automation systems with IO-Link devices. In an action-oriented approach, the tasks required during planning are described step by step. Used as the basis for this design guideline is the IO-Link specification version 1.1.2.

Beginning with a short description of the IO-Link technology and its place in the automation pyramid, the guideline details the advantages of IO-Link. An example system is then used to illustrate and find solutions for the subtasks of the electrotechnical planning. Chosen as the example for the planning was a conveyor system consisting of multiple conveyor belts. These conveyor belts are based on a uniform basic module. Different types of IO-Link devices are planned on the conveyor belts.

In a first step of the electrotechnical planning, the technical properties of the IO-Link devices are explained. This includes properties such as IO-Link version, port class, power demand and size of the process data. In a subsequent step, the IO-Link master is selected on the basis of various aspects, such as higher-level bus system, protection class, port class and a number of other criteria.

After the system structure has been established and the IO-Link devices and the IO-Link master defined, the wiring is planned in the next step. Of primary concern with the wiring is the connection between the IO-Link master and its IO-Link devices. Taken into account here are both the number of cable cores and the number of pins on the connectors, the currents and the voltage drop on the cable.

Once all relevant points of the planning applicable to hardware have been completed, the results are documented in tabular form.

IO-Link firmware update

The intelligence and complexity of sensors and actuators is constantly increasing, not only within the scope of Industry 4.0. Today, even the smallest sensors have a powerful microcontroller and several thousand lines of software code. Firmware updates may occasionally be necessary, for example, to enable new functionalities or to add newly supported profiles that were not yet known when the device was developed. To meet these needs, the IO-Link community has specified a firmware update profile.

At present, IO-Link is the only communication protocol that supports a uniform, vendor-neutral, firmware update mechanism. The firmware update profile is currently implemented by various manufacturers of IO-Link devices and uses the newly developed BLOB transfer (Binary Large Object) for the transfer of large quantities of data. In the future, it will thereby be possible to perform firmware updates quicker and easier.

The manufacturer of the device provides a special file (*.iolfw) for the firmware update. In addition to the actual device software, this file also includes additional information, e.g., for verification purposes or even with information for the customer. With the IO-Link profile, tools for the parameterization of the master for the firmware update can also be developed.

Industry news by IO-Link Community.

Source: Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 99 / 4
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