Balluff Introduces Distributed Modular I/O for Industrial Ethernet

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Expandable architecture for EtherNet/IP and PROFINET controls applications

Ethernet master block with distributed modular I/O

Using distributed modular I/O, sensors and other devices can be installed 20 meters from data collector devices that are distributed along a conveyor. These devices are connected to an industry-standard M12 port utilizing a basic 3-wire sensor cable, which makes wiring simple.

Balluff’s new generation of distributed modular I/O can be used in a cost effective way to replace standard slice I/O and distributed I/O solutions. Offering IP67 protection and industry standard connectors, many types of control data can be collected. Using standard 3-conductor cables, up to 4 slave devices can be connected to each master block, which communicates over the industrial Ethernet network to the controller.

In lieu of a backplane each I/O device is connected to an industry-standard M12 port, creating an IP67 connection. With the ability to be installed within a 20 meter radius from the master device, slave devices can be easily distributed across the machine. Utilizing a widely accepted and open point-to-point technology, IO-Link, a distributed modular I/O system is fieldbus independent, is easily configured and is vendor neutral.

Types of distributed modular I/O slave devices:

  • Discrete Inputs & Outputs
  • Analog Input & Output Channels
  • Valve Manifold Control
  • Industrial RFID Processors & Heads
  • Specialty sensors for measurement, position or color detection.

Advantages of distributed modular I/O systems include:

  • Simplified controls quotation process by utilizing fieldbus neutral I/O devices.
  • Reduction in the total cost per point by simplifying the cabinet cost and the assembly labor involved.
  • Maximized spare I/O potential by leaving a flexible IO-Link port free for any type of device: discrete, analog, etc.
  • Detailed diagnostic information can be collected from the devices easily and in a standard format.
  • Flexibility to drive recipe changes directly from the PLC to the devices without frustrating manuals or pushbuttons.

Industrial Ethernet master blocks are available with EtherNet/IP or PROFINET protocols. EtherNet/IP masters support daisy-chain connections with a built-in switch as well as support the Device Level Ring (DLR) topology for easier troubleshooting. PROFINET blocks support Fast Start UP (FSU) as well as the Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) for easy setup right out of the box. Both master devices have easy-to-use, lockable pushbutton displays for quick setup and provide webpages for configuration or diagnostics purposes.

Learn more:

Also, see our distributed modular I/O solutions in action at the upcoming Pack Expo show in Las Vegas, Sept. 26-28. Stop by and see Balluff at booth# S-5730.

Editors: Click here to download the high resolution press images.

Balluff Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Balluff GmbH, Neuhausen, Germany, is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of inductive, photoelectric, vision, capacitive and magnetic sensors as well as linear position transducers, RFID systems, and networking products. Balluff products for OEM and factory floor solutions are used to control, regulate, automate, assemble, position, and monitor manufacturing, assembly, and packaging sequences for industries including: metalworking, automotive, plastics, material handling, wood processing, aerospace, alternative energy, medical, electrical, and electronics.

Editors: please contact Kelly Panko at 1-800-543-8390 for clarifications and additional information e-mail kelly.panko(at)balluff(dot)com

Direct reader service inquiries to: Kelly Panko, Balluff Inc, 8125 Holton Drive, Florence, KY, Phone 1-800-543-8390, or

In Canada only, contact Norman J. Clarke, President, Balluff Canada, 2840 Argentia Road, Unit # 2, Mississauga, ON L5N 8G4, Phone 1-800-927-9654 or Tel: 905-816-1494, 905-816-1411, E-mail: balluff.canada(at)balluff(dot)ca

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Kelly Panko
Balluff, Inc.
1-800-543-8390 3287
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