Bihl Wiedemann: ASi-5 Slave / IO-Link Master – simple integration of intelligent sensors and actuators

With ASi-5 – the backwards compatible enhancement of the proven standard – AS-Interface has now entered the next dimension of digitalization. ASi-5 now enables you not only to transmit larger data volume significantly faster. Using ASi-5, even intelligent sensors and actuators such as IO-Link can be easily integrated in AS-Interface – right where they are required.

In contrast to current dominating structures in the field of automation – where intelligent sensors and actuators are connected to IO-Link masters in 4- and 8-port fieldbus modules, which in turn have to be connected to the PLC individually or via switches by means of an ethernet-based fieldbus – collecting IO-Link signals with ASi-5 can be realized in a much more elegant and efficient way. The Ethernet connection of all slaves – linked to the ASi network – to the PLC is realized via one single Ethernet connection integrated in the ASi-5/ASi-3 Fieldbus Gateway. In that way, the user is able to connect up to 96 ASi-5 slaves with 8 integrated IO-Link master ports per ASi network on a maximum cable length of 200 m. And due to piercing technology the slaves can be linked to the ASi cable exactly where they are needed. Usually, significantly less IO-Link devices need to be linked at one location. That is why the range of IO-Link masters from Bihl+Wiedemann includes 1-, 2-, and 4-port versions – making it a fine-grain portfolio that is flexible towards individual requirements. Connection of IO-Link devices to the respective master port is still done as usual via cable using a M12 socket and a maximum cable length of 20 m.







In addition to the already mentioned advantages, an integration of IO-Link devices via ASi-5 has further benefits: the drastically reduced wiring effort – compared with fieldbus solutions, freedom of topology, flexibility in connecting to virtually any common controller and the cost-effective integration of safety in one and the same infrastructure. And not to forget, a significant potential of up to 50% of savings.

The new ASi-5 Slave / IO-Link Master BWU4067 – in a small IP67 housing – is equipped with 4 IO-Link Ports: 2 Class A and 2 Class B Ports. Up to 32 bytes of process data can be configured in order to measure e.g. current and voltage values, to read RFID tags or barcodes or to control valve terminals. Process data is transmitted cyclically via ASi – up to   4 x 16 bit user data is available within 1.27 ms.

Using the software suites of Bihl+Wiedemann, parameter setting of the ASi-5 Slave / IO-Link Master module can be realized in a very comfortable way.  As part of the live parameter setting the user is able to see straight away how updated settings take concrete effect and can then optimize the configuration immediately if necessary. Furthermore, the user is able to set parameters of the IO-Link devices offline by using the software.

Likewise, the software also allows the user to parameterize the IO-Link devices offline.

As with all ASi-5 products, the module can be used together with ASi-3 components in the ASi network and thus becomes a cost-effective alternative compared with e.g. an IO-Link Master in a network with an Ethernet-based fieldbus. In applications where ASi already is installed, the module already pays off with the first IO-Link device. If only IO-Link data needs to be collected, this version pays off from the third module onwards.

Connection is made via ASi-5/ASi-3 Fieldbus Gateway from Bihl+Wiedemann, which is available in different versions for all common fieldbus systems, such as EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP. IO-Link Masters are not connected to the PLC individually via ethernet-based fieldbus modules.

Instead, the Gateway collects all signals of the IO-Link devices and transmits them to the PLC in a compact way. The OPC UA interface integrated in the gateway enables process and diagnostic data of the IO-Link devices to be transmitted to the cloud in a very simple and cost-effective way.