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Position indicators with IO-Link


Position indicators with IO-Link

For automated packaging systems it is essential that size changeovers for different packaging formats are smooth to ensure efficient and reliable production processes. Rovema, a leading manufacturer of packaging systems, relies on Siko’s AP10 electronic position indicators with IO-Link interface for monitored and reliable size changeover, both for cartoning machines and for form-fill-seal machines.

Up to 40 adjustment points may be necessary in order to adapt all functions to a product variant within turn-key system such as this, as designed by Rovema. Mechanical position indicators are susceptible to errors, while many electronic solutions require an additionally integrated controller. The AP10 from Siko with IO-Link interface saves the costs for the controller and makes it much easier to integrate the position indicators, as IO-Link devices into the machine control system.

Ingo Hamel, Head of Innovation R&D at Rovema, explains: “IO-Link is a communication standard that is becoming increasingly widespread in the automation sector and is already being used more and more by us as an interface for sensors and actuators." As a standardized communication protocol that is subject to an international standard, IO-Link is manufacturer-independent. Accordingly, devices and masters can be developed as communication participants. Integration is possible via simple point-to-point connections at the lowest network level and the wiring effort is extremely low compared to fieldbus interfaces. The AP10 displays are regarded as IO-Link devices, each of which is connected to an IO-Link master, which usually has eight ports.

From the master, communication with the controller is via another high-performance protocol, in this case Sercos III (EtherNet/IP is also frequently used by Rovema). Moritz Müller, Product Manager PositionLine at Siko, explains the reasons for not using EtherNet/IP throughout for communication: “IO-Link is the much more cost-effective interface, which also makes significantly lower demands on the wiring and is thus also easily connected.

Electronic position indicators for monitored size changeover are optionally available for all Rovema machines and systems. One customer of a packaging plant for infant formula had all 40 adjustment points equipped with AP10 displays, because the benefits are obvious: faster changeover times and much less documentation effort, because everything is electronically stored and retrievable.


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