How to Connect Industrial IO-Link Sensors to AWS IoT Core
In this article, we will show how to connect industrial sensors or actuators based on IO-Link to Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Core. We will use the CloudRail.Box as well as a standard IO-Link Master.
Industrial IO-Link Sensors and Actuators
Industrial sensors and actuators are used pretty much everywhere as part of industrial automation. Usually, these sensors are connected via an IO-Link Master and an industrial field bus (like Profinet) to a traditional PLC. A lot of old sensors are still analog or digital (1 or 0, preconfigured switching points), but in recent years IO-Link became very popular. This serial communication standard allows us to gather more information than just 1/0 or a pretty meaningless value between 4 and 20mA from a sensor. Especially in the context of IIoT or Industry 4.0, IO-Link provides very valuable information.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Core
AWS IoT Core is the Internet of Things offering of Amazon Web Services. It is a cloud offering to connect devices securely into the AWS ecosystem, even on a large scale. This means that applications running on AWS, as well as services like Lambda or EC2 instances can communicate with industrial devices, in this case, gather information from sensors.
Industrial IO-Link Sensor to AWS IoT Core
So why should we connect industrial IO-Link sensors with AWS IoT Core? The answer is pretty simple: It is the very basic idea of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0 — a connected world. Collecting sensor data out of your shop floor (OT) in your AWS cloud, allows you to realize plenty of valuable use cases like for example predictive maintenance. But connecting IO-Link sensors to AWS even can help to combine IT systems with the OT to optimize processes for example in the field of logistics or operational excellence.
The CloudRail.Box is designed to connect IO-Link sensors or actuators of any vendor to AWS IoT Core. It has two ethernet ports. The left one goes to the internet (connection to AWS) and the right to the industrial devices (IO-Link Master and Sensors).
The Box automatically detects compatible IO-Link masters and sensors and adds them to your AWS IoT Core. Just plug-in an IO-Link master and sensor, select AWS as your cloud platform, done! The CloudRail.Box then collects date measured by the sensors and sends it directly to AWS IoT Core via MQTT.
Connecting IO-Link sensors to AWS takes you less than a minute and doesn’t require any domain knowledge about the industrial automation industry. Here is a quick demo video:
Click here to learn more about the CloudRail solution for IO-Link sensors and AWS.