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Reference designs trim space, upgrade industrial efficiency

20 Aug 2014

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IO-link reference design boards

Maxim Integrated developed two sub-system reference designs that provide 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 new space-saving sub-systems 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. The MAXREFDES36# digital hub, on the other hand, utilises 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.

MAXREFDES27# proximity sensor

The MAXREFDES27# IO-Link sub-system reference design lets operators tune and calibrate an optical proximity sensor with excellent accuracy, up to 14bit resolution. Integrated DC-DC low-power conversion increases system efficiency. The design is tunable and can be calibrated for different surfaces and light levels.

The board integrates the DC-DC converter, an IO-Link transceiver, the proximity sensor, and a Renesas RL78 microcontroller for improved efficiency, reliability, and system configurability. It consumes only 150mW (typ); the lower power reduces heat dissipation, resulting in higher reliability and increased uptime.

The device also provides self-configuration, efficient two-way communication between sensor and control module, and several protection mechanisms. Its entire design fits on an 8.2mm x 31.5mm printed circuit board (PCB).

MAXREFDES36# 16-Channel Digital Hub

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 sub-system 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.

The device integrates a DC-DC power converter, two 8-channel digital-input serialisers, an IO-Link transceiver, and a Renesas RL78 microcontroller on one board. It provides self-configuration, short-circuit and shutdown protection, thermal warnings, and drive capability. It comes in a 53.75mm x 72mm package and fits in a standard DIN rail PCB holder.

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