SICK Opens Up Industry 4.0 with its First IO-Link Encoder

ems mar 18 19 1With the launch of the SICK AHS36 (singleturn) and AHM36 (multiturn) IO-Link absolute encoders, SICK has opened up wide-ranging new possibilities to integrate rotary motion sensing into the ‘smart’ sensor configurations of automated machinery.

The SICK AHS36 and AHM36 36mm IO-Link encoders are SICK’s first range of absolute encoders with IO-Link. The SICK AHS/AHM36 IO-Link encoders achieve quick, easy and economical higher-level fieldbus integration via an IO-Link Master. Developments to advanced IO-Link versions of the encoder will also enable processing of Smart Tasks within the encoder itself.  

 “The AHS36 and AHSM36 encoders are major step forward for the industry, and a vital building block on the transition to unlocking the benefits of Industry 4.0 in automated machinery,” explains Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK Product Manager for encoders and industrial instrumentation. 

“IO-Link has already made it possible for many devices, such as presence detection and process sensors, to be economically connected into an IO field gateway and at the same time provide transparent access to the intelligence contained within the sensor.  Sensors with integrated Smart Tasks, offer the potential for reducing the processing load on the PLC.  Now, adding motion sensing into the IO-Link mix offers countless new possibilities for machine builders and engineers to develop smart solutions for both new and existing plant and machinery.”

Cost-Saving Machine Integration

Adding IO-Link compatibility to the SICK AHS/AHM36 family of absolute encoders delivers a host of new benefits, starting with an extremely compact 36mm diameter design:  With the IO-Link Master performing the higher-level Ethernet interface, the IO-Link encoder can be manufactured in a much smaller package. 

By eliminating the need to use a dedicated interface card on the PLC rack, solutions using the SICK AHS/AHM36 IO-Link absolute encoder can save time, cost and complexity in connection to higher-level control systems.

Connecting encoders to the control system usually requires costly shielded cabling and could involve wiring many devices individually to the PLC rack.  With IO-Link, the SICK AHS/AHM36 enables standard unshielded cabling to be used between the encoders and the IO-Link master, so wiring costs can be dramatically reduced.

Programming and Diagnostics

Via the IO-Link gateway, the AHS/AHM36 IO-Link encoders offer new levels of diagnostic transparency and easy set-up with ‘plug and play’ device replacement. They still offer all the benefits of programming through the PLC, or with a PC using SICK’s engineering tool SOPAS.  Now, in addition, there is an ability to store and download the encoder parameters from the IO-Link Master. As a result, device replacement is simply ‘plug and play’.

The SICK AHS/AHM 36 IO-Link absolute encoders provide exceptional diagnostic information.  Even on the basic models, error warnings can be provided on a range of both application-specific and encoder-health parameters such as position, speed or temperature out of range.  In the Advanced IO-Link versions, expected to be available in mid-2019, even more comprehensive provision and storage of diagnostic data such as temperature values, and operating times will be enabled.

The SICK AHS/AHM36 Advanced IO-Link encoders will also add a configurable output and input pin to enable a direct interface with another device, so it will be possible to process ‘Smart Tasks’ in the encoder itself.

Compact and rugged, the magnetic AHS36 12-bit singleturn and AHM36 24-bit multiturn IO-Link are everything customers expect from a SICK family of rotary motion sensors with class-leading robustness, operating resilience and with a wide-range of versatile mechanical connection options.

The SICK AHS/AHM36 IO-link encoders offer a versatile choice of mechanical connection options.  The encoders feature a 270o rotatable electrical connection for either M12 connector or cable termination. Replacing existing encoders in machines is ensured by a wide choice of hollow or solid shaft models, various mounting hole patterns, together with face and servo mount flanges.

The IP65-rated SICK AHS/AHM 36 IO-Link Basic encoders can be operated at ambient temperatures between -20 °C and +70 °C while, with IP66 and IP67 ratings, AHS/AHM IO-Link Advanced are suitable for even tougher ambient conditions with an operating temperature range of -40 °C to +85°C.  An AHS36/AHM36 IO-Link Inox is also available with stainless steel IP69K rating for process environments with stringent chemical washdown regimes.

For more information please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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