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For a new design, what are the advantages of using IO-Link vs. Analog/Digital I/O?

  • Compared to Analog I/O, IO-Link has the advantage of less susceptibility to noise, because Signal to Noise is much larger and the protocol contains a checksum.
    On top of this, and this is true compared to digital I/O as well, IO-Link sensors have an IODD (IO-Link Device Descriptor) file which is comparable to a USB driver for a PC peripheral. Thus, IODD together with Vendor ID and Product ID will tell if the connected device provides a temperature or a distance, for example. A a 4-20mA sensor doesn’t provide any of this additional information; there are no IDs and nobody knows if 4mA corresponds to 0°C, 100°F, 2kg or 5mm.
    Additionaly, IO-Link sensors can provide configurability. For example, measuring range or frequency could be adjusted to the use case. And sensors provide additional diagnostic information. For example, an ultrasound distance sensor usually has to measure the temperature as well, since speed of sound depends on temperature. IO-Link sensors typically provide this information as so called “on-demand data” additionally to the actual “Process data,” which would be distance in this case.