The guidelines of Industry 4.0 are increasingly being implemented in the industrial environment, introducing various types of digital solutions and technologies at increasingly rapid steps. These processes make it possible to connect and coordinate production steps and elements while obtaining the much-needed data. With the use of smart devices and sensors, it is possible to collect and analyze data about every step of production. The problem can arise when it is necessary to combine data from these sensors in one place. We would like to introduce the SICK SIG350 Gateway device. It can collect, process, and transfer data from various sensors, controllers, and other devices that are connected in the production process.
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The SICK SIG350 IO-Link master is a sensor integration gateway that integrates and controls sensor communication via eight IO-Link ports. The SIG350 enables seamless integration and excellent data transfer from the sensor to the PLC or data cloud, reducing the amount of cabling required.
This data can be used for sensor monitoring, configuration and diagnostics. This in turn reduces process downtime and improves production efficiency. The result is increased productivity and sustainability.
The SIG350 provides two parallel communication channels - communication with the control PLC (using industrial protocols) and with cloud applications (using IIoT interfaces). This is what is commonly referred to as "Dual Talk".
The ports can be loaded with up to 4 A of maximum current to integrate higher power actuators and sensors. PROFINET, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT industrial protocols are available for network communication with the PLC.
Data exchange with cloud solutions is possible via the following IIoT interfaces:
The SIG350's integrated web server provides a wide range of information, diagnostic and configuration options. Thanks to IO-Link communication, the integrated web server allows intuitive configuration of the IO-Link Master device as well as all connected sensors and actuators, even during operation. The web server also provides live current data (e.g. current, voltage and temperature values) as well as diagnostics.
3 types of IO-Link Master devices are available for connection to the control PLC:
|-30 °C ... +70 °C
|Number of ports
|8 IO-Link ports (M12; 5-pin; A-coded; Class A/B)
|Current carrying capacity of up to 16 A at max. 4 A per port for US and UA
|Rugged IP67 housing
|PROFINET, EtherNet/IP un EtherCAT
|Cloud solution protocols
|REST API, MQTT and OPC UA IIoT
The most common application for this product is the combination and integration of multiple IO-Link sensors and their digital signals into selected factory process automation.
Here is one illustrative example of how the SICK SIG350 Gateway is used in a factory environment. This product can connect and manage multiple SICK MPB10 condition monitoring vibration sensors with IO-Link communication that were installed on motors in several factory lines.
Sensors on one specific line were connected to the SIG350 Gateway device. In this way, data from the vibration sensors was transmitted to the control PLC. The data can then be collected and generated in the SCADA system. This enables the condition of the motors to be monitored and controlled on all lines in the factory. It should be emphasized that this convenient solution allows early detection of equipment damage and timely scheduling of repair work. In this example, the SIG350 Gateway simplified installation work and ensured reliable data transmission.
For some time now, our lives have been transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. With the help of the latest technologies, the virtual and physical worlds have merged to create Cyber-physical systems (CPS). In this digitalization of production and services, machines are able to communicate with each other and this makes it possible to optimize the operation of different processes.
Industry 4.0 is clearly about sensors, which are the basis for the entire production process. SICK points out that without sensor technology there would be no Industry 4.0. Smart sensors make it possible to obtain data and information that go many times beyond what we are used to in classical switching methods. Unlike conventional sensors, Industry 4.0 sensors provide more than just measurement data. Their integrated decentralized computing power and flexible programmability are important features to make production more flexible, dynamic, and efficient. This enables companies to reduce the maintenance and service costs of production equipment and avoid production downtime.
It is well known that conclusions, predictions, and improvements require good-quality data. To get it, all elements of the system need to be able to "talk" to each other. For this, the IO-link standardized serial communication protocol has become widely used in the sensor and actuator world. In the future, it is expected that the majority of available sensors and actuators will be equipped with this protocol. Time will tell whether this will be the case, but it is certainly worth finding out more about it. Here are some examples of products equipped with these protocols!
Follow the links below to find out more about the technologies developed by SICK and their practical applications. Our recommendation is to consider using smart sensors today in areas vital to your production process and start collecting data! Work and think about the future today!