Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


I/O for the IIot

April 2020 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Industrial automation manufacturer and IIoT developer Opto 22 has announced groov RIO, a family of intelligent, distributed I/O for IIoT and automation applications. groov RIO represents a first-in-class solution for its ability to quickly connect traditional wired switches and sensors directly to Ethernet networks, software applications, and cloud platforms without intermediary control or communication hardware, such as PLCs, PACs or PCs.

The first version of groov RIO is the GRV-R7-MM1001-10, a standalone, 10-channel, multi-signal, multifunction I/O unit for signals including thermocouples, integrated circuit temperature devices, voltage inputs, current inputs, millivolt inputs, discrete DC inputs, self-wetting discrete inputs, discrete DC sinking outputs, and Form C mechanical relays. In addition, two channels provide special features like pulse counting, on and off time totalisation, software latching, frequency measurement, and more. GRV-R7-MM1001-10 is completely standalone and software-configurable through a browser-based interface.

Although many smart wireless sensing devices have begun appearing at the edge, the majority of I/O switches, sensors, and transmitters use wired connections. Traditional remote I/O requires an industrial controller or gateway in order to propagate these signals to other systems, which limits their availability to enterprise consumers. By contrast, a groov RIO unit can be installed and operated independently, using its embedded software tools and protocols to share data instantly across the organisation.

The groov RIO is designed to democratise I/O data, because that is the essence of the IIoT. It can be used as remote I/O with the groov Epic or other control systems. It can operate autonomously, facilitating direct connection between I/O signals and databases, business software, or cloud IoT platforms.

For applications like data centre infrastructure management, warehouse and office security, and remote condition monitoring – applications that need to move many real-world signals into on-premises or cloud-based software – I/O integration typically requires multiple components and specialised skill sets. Electrical and instrumentation engineers need to specify a variety of field I/O modules, and design, install, and wire appropriate I/O enclosures. Control engineers need to program PLCs for signal processing and data collection. Then networking and software engineers need to configure communication gateways and servers that finally deliver data to consumers. With so many layers between data production and consumption, these systems also require significant ongoing maintenance in order to provide robust communication.

groov RIO addresses all these issues with flexibility that significantly speeds integration of IIoT applications. GRV-R7-MM1001-10 supports 12 different types of field I/O circuits, making it capable of over 52 000 I/O combinations, which dramatically simplifies module selection and spares management. It also provides no-hassle, enclosure-free installation with multiple power options, including standard 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), an extended operating temperature range, and UL Hazardous Locations and ATEX approvals.

Once installed, groov RIO can be independently managed and configured through browser-based tools. Per-channel I/O type and signal-processing options through groov Manage eliminate the need for a master control unit, and support for standard enterprise network services like DNS, DHCP, and VPN facilitates network connectivity. Embedded communication options range from efficient data publishing with MQTT Sparkplug to advanced signal processing, data aggregation, and transactions with databases and web services, using the low-code Node-RED environment and runtime.

In addition, groov RIO also fills the role of standard remote I/O for sensing, control, and visualisation in industrial automation applications. GRV-R7-MM1001-10 is compatible with any Modbus/TCP master and with Opto 22’s groov Epic platform.


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