I/O (Input/Output) modules are a crucial component of industrial automation systems. These modules allow electronic control systems to interface with the physical inputs and outputs of machinery and equipment.
An I/O controller can also be used to collect data from sensors and other input devices, as well as to control actuators and their respective output devices. There are several types of I/O modules available for industrial automation systems, including digital input, digital output, analog input, analog output, and specialty modules.
Each type of module is designed for a specific application and will come in a different form factor depending on its communication protocols. This article will go over the different types and options for IO modules, what they do, and why they’re important in industrial automation systems.
Digital Input Modules
Digital input modules are an essential part of industrial automation systems, as they’re used to collect data from sensors and other input devices. These modules typically have a limited number of input channels and are used for applications such as monitoring the status of switches or counting the number of pulses from a sensor.
The digital inputs on these modules can be configured via an I/O controller to detect different types of signals such as digital high/low, pulse width modulation (PWM), frequency, and quadrature encoder signals. They can also be used to measure the voltage or current on a signal line or detect the presence or absence of an analog signal.
Digital input modules can provide reliable data collection in harsh conditions and in areas with high levels of electromagnetic interference. They’re also designed to be highly reliable and require minimal maintenance.
General Purpose I/O Modules
General-purpose I/O modules are designed for use in a wide range of industrial automation applications where a high level of safety isn’t required. This type of I/O controller is typically used in applications where the failure of an I/O module would not result in serious injury or damage to equipment.
General-purpose I/O modules come in a variety of configurations, including digital input, digital output, and analog input and output. They also offer a range of connectivity options, including Ethernet, Profinet, and Profibus, making them one of the more robust modules that can be integrated into existing systems with ease.
Safety Certified I/O Modules
Safety certified I/O modules are another crucial component of industrial automation systems. This type of I/O controller provides the highest level of safety and reliability achievable for I/O modules. Safety certified modules are designed to meet even the most stringent safety policies and are suitable for use in applications where the failure of an I/O module could result in serious injury, damage to equipment or death.
Safety certified I/O modules typically have a limited number of input and output channels and are used for applications such as monitoring the status of switches or controlling the on/off state of a device. They also come in different form factors and communication protocols and offer all the expected connectivity options when it comes to I/O modules, such as Ethernet, Profinet, and Profibus.