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IO-Link: the missing link in complete vertical integration

Vertical integration in an automation system collects data at the lowest level and enables that information to travel to the highest level. It allows data to travel the other way around too: from the highest level to the field devices. To transfer new format settings for example.

Vertical integration in automotive

In the complex production plants of the automotive industry, even the smallest shutdown can result in immense costs. Although these production systems are nowadays equipped with many different emergency strategies, a fault in a single component can in the worst case scenario lead to the shutdown of the whole plant. In addition to the ever increasing production quality demands, the topics of preventative maintenance and elimination of downtime are also becoming more important. Modern automation technology supports this with functions that indicate if a component is likely to fail so that it can be replaced as a preventative measure. This minimises the downtime of machines or entire plants and improves overall availability figures. As a spin-off, it also enables stock control and the purchasing of spare parts to be undertaken in a much more focused manner.

Vertical integration in automation

Our “Vertical Integration in Automation” concept for the automotive industry assumes integrated applications for our new IO-Link products as a part of the company’s total automation platform, which also includes support for EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP. For seamless integration, IO-Link products are included in our Sysmac Studio software environment. The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) provides comprehensive facilities for configuring, programming, simulating and monitoring automation systems.

Industry 4.0

The dream of the Smart Factory, with real-time bi-directional communication to field level devices, is now more realisable than ever. Thanks, in part, to the IO-Link digitalised protocol. Now, sensors and actuators can communicate more than simple on/off signals or analogue ranges. They can now provide advanced status and diagnostics information to the controller. Furthermore, the controller can also change the sensor’s parameters, creating the ultimate in flexible manufacturing of Industry 4.0.


IO-Link is technology for communicating with sensors and actuators. It is the first that is adopted as an international standard (IEC 61131-9). Because it enables continuous and intelligent communications at the sensor level this opens up new automation opportunities in the automotive industry.

How Does IO-Link Work?

It collects information held by the sensor/actuator through the IO-Link Master. Via a fieldbus network this data transfers to the host controller.

What's the core value of IO-Link?

IO-Link enables communication within the whole system to the sensor level. This integrated intelligence opens up new opportunities in automation. It resolves current problems faced in the manufacturing industry.

Currently more than 150 companies, including major sensor manufacturers, have joined the IO-Link Consortium.

IO-Link: an open international standard (IEC 61131-9)

Key benefits of IO-Link for the Automotive Industry

Improved productivity

Fast and automated product changeovers

New format settings can be transferred automatically from the controller or HMI to all sensors and actuators.

Reduce Machine Downtime

Monitoring for preventive maintenance

IO-Link sensor status can be constantly monitored during operation. A malfunctioning situation can be detected in advance and corrective actions can be carried out before having an unexpected line stoppage.

Simple engineering

Easy error cause identification

When a machine or line is stopped unexpectedly, IO-Link allows checking devices status and wiring for instant cause identification. Simple identification is then reduced as corrective action can be carried out immediately.

Applications Classification in Automotive


…is the process of placing flat sheet metal in either blank or coil form into a stamping press where a tool and die surface forms the metal into a net shape.

Damaged tooling

In most press shops, damaged tooling is the number one cause of downtime. Misalignment, short feed, over feed, slug stacking and part ejection failures can damage dies that cost a lot of money to replace and create hazardous conditions.

Correct position detection

We provide a variety of standard industrial sensors to fit ensuring pressing process while improving productivity and flexibility. Our solutions allow for correct position detecting and tracking to the point of operation.

Body shop

…is assembling of vehicle body and frame components


Many automotive plants operate at maximum of capacity. Our sensors with self-diagnostic spatter-resistant surface allow to be sure in reliable performance between maintenance cycles while improving production efficiency

Predictive maintenance with IO-Link

Our sensors with Predictive and preventive maintenance due to applied IO Link technology provides information plants need to implement preventative and predictive maintenance plans. Replacing parts before they fail allows operators to optimize productivity, efficiency and safety.


…is paint used on automobiles for both protection and decoration purposes.

Reliable performance in harsh environment

The process requires from any components applied in the system reliable performance in harsh environment. Any sensor inside must be sure in reliable performance and detection even in the direct contacts with paints and other technical liquids

Quality housing

The sealing method of sensors housing assembling ensures that no liquids can come inside. It warranties stable and reliable detection during long period of time. This can reduce costs for periodical maintenance and replacement.


…assembling and installation of main components that generate power.

Stable positioning

Assembling parts for the whole powertrain system should be detected with stable positioning despite of different forms and metals. Aluminum parts are a challenge for stable detection. That is why reliable performance is the key criteria on this stage.

Optimized balance

Optimized balance of high performance detecting of aluminum parts and remotely configured sensors with IO-link ensured reliability and fail-less assembling process for all power train components


… of chassis, trim and interior systems.

Reliable solutions

In the new flexible factory environment, customers require that every piece of automation earns its spot in the assembling process. This means that, not only price, but reliability, maintenance and repair costs all go into the purchase decision. Providing safe and reliable solutions in a factory environment is a must

Increase productivity

Omron’s sensors enable customers to keep and expand assembling productivity with effective cost saving of maintaining needs. While IO-Link technology inside they demonstrate that there are times when well thought out applications of proven technology are actually the best solutions.

IO-Link components for Vertical integration in Automotive