What is IO-Link: IO-Link simply explained:

IO-Link is a manufacturer-independent communication standard. This describes a fast and efficient point-to-point system connection via which sensors and actuators can be wired and controlled. Since IO-Link can be used independently of fieldbus systems, it is the preferred solution for automating manufacturing processes and transmitting production data.

IO-Link structure: What are IO-Link masters and IO-Link slaves?

IO-Link offers a novel approach to the complete installation and networking of machines and systems. The IO-Link technology works according to an IO-Link master and IO-Link slave principle. Among other things, the IO-Link master establishes the connection to the controller (e.g. Profinet). The IO-Link master thus forms the interface to a higher-level instance and controls communication with one (or more) connected IO-Link devices.


An IO-Link device can be a sensor, actuator, hub or another component with an IO-Link connection. Using so-called IO-Link slave modules, an IO-Link port can then be distributed to up to 16 normal inputs or outputs. However, the requirement is that the connected device has identification data, such as type designation, a serial number or parameter data, which can be read and written via the IO-Link protocol. This means that diagnostic data can also be transferred.

IO-Link advantages

If a so-called IO-Link master is integrated into the machines and/or systems of a production facility, the corresponding devices can be digitized down to the last sensor. As a result, all sensors and actuators have a standardized IO-Link interface that can work with conventional 3-core cables. This in turn replaces complex parallel wiring. Expensive and interference-prone analog signals can also be integrated via IO-Link and thus simplified.

However, the two biggest advantages of IO-Link are increased machine availability and the possibility of demand-oriented maintenance. Thanks to IO-Link, sensors can be replaced easily, as the parameter data is stored in the IO-Link master module. The sensor teaches itself in again after replacement. Likewise, the diagnostic data of the sensor can be called up continuously in the control system, which accelerates and improves the maintenance process in the long term.

Another advantage is the simple installation of IO-Link. Wiring is done via a three- or four-core standard cable; a shield is not required here - even for analog signals. And best of all, thanks to standardized communication, you are not tied to any particular manufacturer.

Summary of the advantages of IO-Link:

  • Reduction of machine operating costs
  • Efficient operation through reduced downtimes, high machine availability and optimized capacity utilization
  • Simple parameterization
  • Transmission of diagnostic data
  • Low maintenance effort, accelerated and simplified replacements of sensors

IO-Link applications: Where is the use of IO-Link modules worthwhile?

IO-Link is basically universally applicable and guarantees fast commissioning of the corresponding system. The interface can be connected to almost all fieldbus systems. All what is required is a standard cable and a standardized connection with an M8 or M12 plug connection. Thanks to the integrated diagnostic function, automatic parameterization and greatly simplified installation, IO-Link is suitable for a wide range of industrial application fields, for example:

  • Machines: Reducing machine costs with improved operation
  • Assembly lines: Facilitating the setup of infrastructures
  • Intralogistics: Optimization of conveyor technology

Why IO-Link systems from ELCO?

ELCO's IO-Link range supports all common fieldbus protocols - including Profinet, Ethernet-IP and EtherCAT. With our IO-Link modules, you can handle high data volumes and transmit information across all production levels. The compact housings allow the devices to be used for almost any application; added to this is the proven IP67 full encapsulation for use in harsh industrial environments.

With ELCO you benefit from short delivery times; currently our IO-Link modules are available as IO-Link specification V1.1, as well as Class A and Class B port versions. This means that the most common IO-Link requirements are currently met. Our IO-Link master modules also allow 8 sensor hubs each to be operated and thus up to 128 signals to be switched.

Wide product range

Wide product range

ELCO IO-Link modules are available in M8 and M12 technology, as well as with Class A and Class B ports. So you will always find the right solution.

Robust encapsulation

Robust encapsulation

Our IO-Link modules are IP67 certified and offer a high level of protection against environmental influences - ideal for field use in your machine.

Port-specific channel monitoring

Port-specific channel monitoring

Whether undervoltage, short-circuit or overload monitoring: With ELCO IO-Link, you benefit from channel-specific diagnostics - no ifs, ands or buts.

Top functionality with IO-Link V1.1

Top functionality with IO-Link V1.1

IO-Link V1.1 allows you to optimize your systems: data backup in the IO-Link master, transmission rates with 230.4 kBaud and 32 byte process data width.

Simple and cost-saving installation

Simple and cost-saving installation

IO-Link is an open standard according to IEC 611312-9 and therefore easy to exchange. The simple technology makes complicated wiring a thing of the past.

High availability, short delivery times

High availability, short delivery times

Satisfied customers instead of profit at any price: To ensure that you can use your optimized system quickly, we do not have long waiting times. We deliver within a few weeks.

Compact67 IO-Link Master Profinet

Active distributors from Elco convince with their compact design, high protection level and  industrial appearance.

Available in Profibus, Ethercat and Ethernet IP. These allow customers to easily adapt plug-and-play solutions to their application.

Different number of ports, freely selectable I/O channels and the optical status monitoring LEDs are just some of the features that make these products unique.

Active distribution systems Compact67 IO-Link, when good products get even better!

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Compact67 IO-Link Hub M8

Active distributors from Elco convince with their compact design, high protection level and  industrial appearance.

Available in Profinet, Ethercat and Ethernet IP. These allow customers to easily adapt plug-and-play solutions to their application.

Different number of ports, freely selectable I/O channels and the optical status monitoring LEDs are just some of the features that make these products unique.

Active distribution systems Compact67 IO-Link, when good products get even better!

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We offer you a complete product portfolio — from data collection with our Automation products (sensors, encoders, connectors, I/O systems) via data connection with IoT hardware to data collection in our IoTHub and data visualization in the form of Industrial Apps — from our Business Unit Internet of Things. At Elco you get everything from one source!

We supplement our product portfolio with holistic services for you. We accompany and support your projects from start to finish — that's ELCO 360°.

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