In the areas of industrial automation, reliable data flow and safe communication are necessary in all production processes. By the ever-popular IO-Link communication technology, efficient transfer of large amounts of data can be achieved. It is easy to use and convenient to configure the intelligent devices and detect errors during their operation.
Balluff, as member of the IO-Link consortium, offers a wide range of IO-Link devices. The Industrial Networking and Connectivity group - where I was working on my Master's thesis - is specialized in the development of IO-Link network devices. They are aiming to develop such a universal IO-Link device with variable parameters that would simulate a wide spectrum of IO-Link slaves to test their IO-Link master units. During this project I was responsible for the realization of the universal device.
First, I studied the IO-Link protocol, and made a detailed specification of the features of the device. Then I designed the hardware for which I wrote the embedded software. I have created a service channel on the device that is used for managing parameters and settings. For configuration and handling such parameters I developed a PC application with graphical user interface as well.
By the end of the Master's project, I prepared a prototype that meets the original requirements. The device unit with its functionality has been proved to be useful in practice. Moreover, the universal device turned out to be helpful in the development of Balluff inductive couplers which is also a great pleasure for me.