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IO-Link reference designs improve proximity sensing

Posted: 20 Aug 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Maxim Integrated Products? proximity sensing? reference design? IO-Link?

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. has announced a couple of subsystem reference designs that the company said deliver very accurate, low-power optical proximity sensing and enhance distributed control with a compact digital-input hub.

Modern "smart" manufacturing relies heavily on high-speed automation and superior sensing. With that comes an increased need for versatile and accurate proximity sensing, never an easy task, and more system sensor inputs. Both of these space-saving subsystems integrate the IO-Link standard for industrial applications. The MAXREFDES27# proximity sensor employs the IO-Link protocol to provide efficient two-way communication between a controller and a remote optical sensor, indicated Maxim. The MAXREFDES36# digital hub uses the IO-Link protocol to enhance distributed control, enabling 16 digital inputs to reside near binary sensors, thereby reducing expensive and bulky cabling at the PLC side and enabling higher DI density.

IO-Link reference designs

The MAXREFDES27# IO-Link subsystem reference design lets operators tune and calibrate an optical proximity sensor with excellent accuracy, up to 14bit resolution. The design is tunable and can be calibrated for different surfaces and light levels. According to the company, the board integrates a DC-DC converter, an IO-Link transceiver, the proximity sensor and a Renesas RL78 MCU for improved efficiency, reliability and system configurability. It consumes only 150mW (typ), which reduces heat dissipation, resulting in higher reliability and increased uptime. In addition, it claims to provide self-configuration, efficient two-way communication between sensor and control module, and several protection mechanisms. The entire design fits on an 8.2 x 31.5mm PCB, added Maxim.

Industrial control typically has a rat's nest of input wires running from various sensors to the digital-input module of the programmable logic controller (PLC). This conventional setup is difficult to troubleshoot and expensive to maintain. The MAXREFDES36# IO-Link subsystem merges 16 of these digital inputs into its hub and eliminates 15 cables connected to the PLC. It consumes only 235mW of power and is 60 per cent smaller than current solutions. This space-saving digital hub lets manufacturers fit more digital inputs into each system controller. It simplifies operation complexity, reduces maintenance costs, stabilises low-power consumption and increases uptime, detailed the company.

The MAXREFDES36# features a DC-DC power converter, two 8-channel digital-input serialisers, an IO-Link transceiver and a Renesas RL78 MCU on one board. It also claims to provide self-configuration, short-circuit and shutdown protection, thermal warnings and drive capability. It consumes only 235mW (typ) and has a footprint of 53.75 x 72mm that fits in a standard DIN rail PCB holder and is 60 per cent smaller than current solutions, Maxim stated.

Pricing for MAXREFDES27# and MAXREFDES36# boards are $99 each. The schematics, layout files, and firmware (including IODD files for IO-Link) are free and available for immediate use.

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