Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Integration gateway for industrial automation

June 2020 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Sensor specialist company SICK recently announced its new SIG200 Profinet Sensor Integration Gateway. The product is the first of a new line of gateways created to work as both IO-Link masters and small distributed control systems, simultaneously. The SIG200 is designed to facilitate the configuration of localised sensor applications, while also providing high-speed, cloud-based capabilities for the sensors to share status, parameter and diagnostics data.

As the focus of the SICK SIG200 is to simplify sensor application tasks, the gateway utilises binary switching signals or measured values from IO-Link sensors and actuators, without the need for additional control components. Concurrently, diagnostics, process parameters and status information from IO-Link devices can be accessed both at the machine and company level, using MES, ERP, and cloud-based software.

The system’s four master ports allow IO-Link sensor and actuator connections, but its data integration capabilities extend to standard binary sensors with SICK’s SIG100 sensor hub. Using the hub, engineers will be able to bundle together, with up to 12 standard I/Os in a single IO-Link data packet, while communicating to machine controllers and cloud-based systems.

The device uses SICK’s SOPAS engineering tool software as a user interface, accessible with a PC via standard M8 USB, Ethernet or web browser. In order to allow engineers to monitor the sensors connected to the device, the SICK SIG200 comes with a software user interface: SICK’s SOPAS Engineering Tool. To simplify the configuration process, it has an embedded IODD interpreter, allowing the user to configure and connect IO-Link devices, by uploading the IODD files. The SIG200 can then work with any third-party products, as parameterisation of connected devices, and device replacement are possible when sharing the IODD file.

Simplifying processes for engineers

Clearly, the SIG200 makes it quick and easy for engineers to create and run distributed sensor applications, even independently of the PLC. “This new product offers all the Industry 4.0 benefits of setting up a system by using an IO-Link master, PLC and sensors,” said David Hannaby, SICK’s UK product manager for presence detection.

Hannaby further explained that this opens a second route, where engineers can bypass the PLC and create their own data gathering system, linking straight to the cloud. The SOPAS logic editor’s drag-and-drop function enables visualisation of the entire connected sensor, actuator signals and measured values, without the need for software knowledge. “It saves a huge amount of programming time, effort and cost,” he added, “allowing process control functions to be configured and set to operate autonomously, without the need for the PLC, additionally reducing the communication load in the fieldbus.”

The SIG200 is available with the ProfiNet Ethernet fieldbus protocol, and additional fieldbus versions of the gateway will follow in the future. The company is also offering an IO-Link master Starter Kit, containing everything needed to set up an application.


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