From the Field to the Cloud with No Configuration Needed

The platform-independent SICON Gateway connects IO-Link-enabled actuators and sensors from different manufacturers to MES/ERP systems and supplies valuable data from the production process to the cloud. The Gateway was developed by the company GPS Gesellschaft für Produktionssysteme GmbH (Association for Production Systems). GPS has been part of the Schmalz Group since the beginning of the year.

The platform-independent SICON Gateway connects IO-Link-enabled actuators and sensors from different manufacturers to MES/ERP systems and supplies valuable data from the production process to the cloud.

Data from actuators and sensors is transmitted to the Gateway via IO-Link. All you have to do is connect the devices to the Gateway, with absolutely no configuration needed. The data can also be visualized –  in the cloud, for example – without any work from the user: This is accomplished by the IODD (IO Device Description), which every IO-Link-enabled device has. It contains information to identify the device, device parameters, and the aforementioned process and diagnostics data from the sensors and actuators.

The Gateway is a combination of hardware and software, consisting of a bus module and at least one IO-Link master with ports for connecting to IO-Link devices. If necessary the Gateway – which serves as the connection to the fieldbus – can be expanded to include additional IO-Link masters.

The Gateway acts as a data switch and “listens in” on real-time communication data in parallel with the controller, transmitting it to the cloud via various standardized communication protocols such as OPC UA, MQTT or HTTP. The information and raw data from production are collected, interpreted and then compressed so that only relevant and valuable data is passed along. This data can be displayed in visualization and analysis tools either in the cloud or locally at the production site. The data can also be displayed in cloud-based, open platforms known as public clouds, which are offered by providers such as Siemens Mindsphere, Axoom, IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure and Cumulocity. Public clouds allow you to access valuable data without needing a local connection to the company network.

For example: A service technician working on a press line in the automotive industry can use the SICON Gateway to access process and device data, such as the system’s energy consumption or the software versions of sensors and actuators, from any location. This allows the technician to draw conclusions about the quality of all IO-Link devices in his/her system and determine the necessary service intervals at any time – without any programming, independent of the device manufacturer and with the help of clearly visualized data.

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