The onward march of IO-Link seems unstoppable and for good reason, with advantages such as much more data and diagnostics for minimal extra cost. Ifm electronic has one of the largest offerings of IO-Link sensors on the market and an established range of RFID systems which combine the technologies.

Their latest range of RFID antenna is perfectly suited to a wide range of applications thanks to flexible parameter settings, improved diagnostics and simple implementation. The range covers 9 housing variants including robust designs for harsh industrial environments with ratings up to IP69K and temperature resistance from -20º to 60ºC. These new options complement the existing range of antennas to provide the ideal solution for a diverse range of applications from tooling to conveying. Furthermore, the new IO Link enabled antennas opens up new opportunities for the low cost implementation of RFID in the industrial environment.

They are ideal for the identification of workpiece carriers in conveyor technologies where only a small amount of data needs to be transmitted. In machine tools the new IO Link enabled antennas can be used to confirm correct selection and monitor usage of magazines and component moulds as part of a QA and Preventative maintenance process. In automotive production, body components or engines are compared to order numbers via RFID in order to control processing steps, or to check the final assembly.

These new antennas underline ifm’s ability to supply a complete solution whether that is a simple RFID system or a more complex solution including smart sensors and software all from a single source. The new IO Link enabled antenna take full advantage of ifm electronics wide range of Fieldbus masters with built-in IO-Link capability. Up to 8 antennas can be connected to each Field bus module.

Building IO Link into the antenna gives the user access to set-up tools that ensure that any RFID solution can be implemented simply into existing or new machinery.

The IO Link enabled Fieldbus module range from ifm electronic support EtherCAT,Ethernet TCP/IP, EtherNet/IP or ProfiNet interface for communication to the PLC. The RFID antenna can be used with all RFID tags conforming to HF standard ISO 15693.

IO-Link functions include; upload / download of parameters for device replacement, automatic reading of transponder UID’s, specific blocks of TAG data as well as being able to write user data to the transponder. Additional functions include; indication of the tag presence bit, antenna on / off and data hold time can be adjusted.