Pepperl+Fuchs Rotary Encoder with IO-Link—The Foundation for I4.0 Applications

Pepperl+Fuchs Rotary Encoder with IO-Link—The Foundation for I4.0 Applications

Condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and cost pressure. This trend has been evident for years in the mechanical and plant engineering sector, the storage and conveying technology sector, the renewable energy sector, and others. The Pepperl+Fuchs absolute rotary encoder with IO-Link communication offers a suitable and long-term solution in this regard. With more than 11.4 million installed IO-Link network nodes and a growth rate of around 40 % compared to the previous year, IO-Link has long established itself in the field. It enables access to detailed identification, diagnostic, and parameterisation data from the Pepperl+Fuchs absolute rotary encoder.     

Product developers, plant engineering staff, and project managers are often faced with different objectives in a host of industry sectors.
Customers expect short commissioning times, very high machine availability, and instant and rapid reaction times in the event of downtime.
In addition, new savings potential in these areas must be continuously exploited to retain a competitive edge. Unexpected machine failures, in particular, often result in losses amounting to larger six-digit figures. Against this backdrop, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance are the key words on everyone’s lips. These approaches harbor the motivation to predict and make the maintenance and/or failure of machines more predictable. Upgrading the visualisation of the current technical machine status or the prediction of failure probability often requires a lot of work or the underlying data is not available. A data analysis can detect previously unknown correlations and exclude false correlations with the help of sensor technology. The resulting interpretation of the individual machine status is made available to plant operators or customers—usually via downstream software services. Implementing a clear, structured, and error-free data basis is essential, so that corresponding interpretations about the machine status are possible in the first place. The Pepperl+Fuchs absolute rotary encoder with IO-Link communication already offers solutions to this and can promise a high level of quality for cost-sensitive applications.

Simple Data Evaluation during Operation

Two essential properties make the ENA**TL – IO-Link from Pepperl+Fuchs a technically suitable foundation for condition monitoring systems.
In addition to a huge array of mechanical versions, Pepperl+Fuchs offers a variety of configuration parameters. This means that all common application areas for absolute rotary encoders can be realised with this product. The fact that the rotary encoder data is transmitted at a transmission rate of 230.4 kBit/s (COM3) is particularly important for this realisation. This is the fastest transmission speed in the IO-Link standard. The rotary encoder offers a total resolution of up to 31 bits as well. Parameterisation of the multiturn information allows even cyclical applications to be optimally implemented. If, for example, the same direction of rotation is always maintained in a plant because a sequence must constantly restart from the beginning, the sensor can be configured so that the rotary encoder starts counting with the position value “zero” again once a certain position value has been exceeded. This is called an overflow function. In addition, the sensor features a preset function. If there are inaccuracies in a plant caused by slippage, the rotary encoder can adapt its position values accordingly during operation. This independent adaptation negates the need for time-consuming readjustment.

Furthermore, the measured position values of the sensor have been supplemented such that evaluating potential machine states is supported. Such a machine state may be the temperature, which is transmitted cyclically by the sensor through parameter configuration so that continual measured value checks can take place. This enables the temperature status of a plant to be checked, since the rotary encoder measures its external temperature and can thus display the plant temperature.

In the other absolute rotary encoder product versions with IO-Link, this parameter can be configured using the measured values of rotational speed, acceleration, vibration, and shock detection, without the process data structure changing. The topics of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance will remain a major focus over the coming years. As a result, the range of encoders outlined can already realise applications in this context can already be implemented with the described portfolio and can be further expanded upon and refined step by step in the future. It already offers investment security for future plant concepts. The mechanical shaft load can be read out in the current ENA**TL – IO-Link version. Configurable status bits—also called signal flags—support the detection of critical machine conditions based on permitted position areas and temperature ranges.

The Right Functionality for Each Application and Budget

Pepperl+Fuchs complements its current range of IO-Link-enabled sensor technology and IO-Link masters with the addition of its absolute rotary encoder. This broad offering enables complete solutions for industrial plants from a single source. Furthermore, the ENA**TL–IO Link can be used to realise further economic advantages, by choosing between default device settings and customised device settings at the factory. In this way, the user is free to choose a cost-optimised standard solution or if a specific parameter adjustment seems more appropriate for the final application. The rotary encoder is available from the factory with the user’s desired parameterisation and thus enables customised field application, even in small quantities. This is supported by the fact that the sensor identification data is available in the IO-Link master, thus simplifying the reordering process when replacing devices. Upon installing the replacement device, the data storage function of the IO-Link master automatically transfers all defined parameters. Nevertheless, there is a reset function that can be used to restore a customer-specific default settings at any time. Unavoidable downtime during maintenance or repair work is therefore significantly reduced. The localisation function, which has been implemented as standard in all IO-Link devices as a Pepperl+Fuchs standard, supports this reduction, and switches the LED to an eye-catching state on command. This makes it much easier find IO-Link sensors in a plant.

In Summary

In addition to investment security, the Pepperl+Fuchs absolute rotary encoder offers the ideal technical introduction into the world of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. The fact that the ENA**TL–IO-Link is technically suitable for all popular and cost-sensitive applications is absolutely unique, without the need to sacrifice a future-oriented platform. Furthermore, the software can be configured to achieve optimal adjustment to the application and to implement customer-specific solutions at the factory in small quantities.