Plant & Works Engineering
Advanced IO-Link encoders streamline machine controls
Published:  07 July, 2020

SICK has released advanced variants of its AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link absolute encoders that can harness valuable diagnostic insights for better machine control and availability. With versatile programming options, they make it easy to integrate data from encoders into localised and ‘edge computing’ configurations to improve the efficiency of automated plant.

All SICK’s AHS36 14-bit (singleturn) and AHM36 26-bit (multiturn) IO-Link absolute encoders achieve quick, easy and economical higher-level fieldbus integration via an IO-Link Master. Now, the AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link Advanced variants enable machine designers and end users to use diagnostic information, such as temperature values, to streamline machine control and optimise maintenance regimes.

Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK product manager for encoders and industrial instrumentation, commented: “SICK’s IO-Link Advanced variants offer exciting new possibilities to access so much more than just the position and speed information that encoders are traditionally known for.” He added: “They make it simple to generate real-time data to optimise service intervals, prompt alarms, as well as integrating with predictive maintenance systems.

“Using SICK’s intuitive SOPAS configuration software, it’s easy to set up the AHS/AHM36 IO-Link Advanced encoders and to set operating limits for a wide range of parameters. It’s easy to integrate that data using standard PLC programs to directly control machine operations, while machine technicians can fine-tune the encoder settings on site without specialist know-how.”

Two banks of eight programmable CAM switches enable the free programming, via SOPAS, of up to 16 individual position ranges on the encoders. Limit values can be defined to set alarms or switch processes, for example the position at which speed is limited, axes slowed down, or actuators triggered.

SICK’s AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link Advanced encoders’ digital inputs and outputs also enable triggering using simple push-pull I/O, which can be used to create Smart Tasks such as an overspeed switch independent of the PLC.

A choice of two motion timers help govern service and replacement routines, especially useful for mechanical plant that is subject to wear, for example gear trains, chains or toothed belts. The absolute timer tracks the total motion time of the encoder over its whole life, while the relative timer can be reset after an inspection or maintenance routine has been completed.

With a wide operating range of between -40°C and +85°C, SICK’s IO-Link Advanced absolute encoders monitor their temperature and can be used in environments close to these extremes.

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