How to Recover From an I/O Module Inefficient Production

Reut Akuny

Reut Akuny, Head of R&D

| 26 February, 2024
Optimize manufacturing precision and prevent downtime with insights into I/O module inefficiencies, featuring IO-Link Wireless solutions for seamless operations in Industry 4.0
Reut Akuny
By staying informed about the causes of failure and taking preventive measures, such as implementing IO-Link Wireless in the production line, one can ensure seamless equipment operations and prevent communication issues.

Reut Akuny

Head of R&D

An industrial setting, particularly in manufacturing, is a finely tuned environment where every machine must work with precision to ensure smooth production.
Integrated I/O modules translate digital information between field devices and the control system. When this module exhibits inefficiency, it can lead to significant downtimes and production losses.
Let’s take a closer look at understanding, mitigating, and recovering from I/O module inefficiencies.

Types of I/O Module Failure

An I/O module can experience various types of failures, signified by different symptoms. Understanding the nature of these failures is crucial for initiating an effective recovery process.

  • Electrical Failures
    The most common electrical failures include:
  • Short Circuits
    These are the bane of electrical systems, and when an I/O module experiences a short circuit, it can result in burnt components and a complete shutdown of the channel or the module itself.
  • Open Circuits
    When a wire disconnects, an open circuit is formed and I/O signals can no longer reach their intended destination, leading to miscommunication and operational hiccups.
  • Logical Failures
    Logical failures can lead to serious consequences. Knowing them is key to prevention.
  • Input Tracking Failures
    For analog inputs, keeping track of subtle changes is essential. A logical failure in tracking can result in inaccurate data reporting, causing errors in machine operations.
  • Output Control Failures
    Similar to input tracking failures, errors in output control can lead to machines not performing operations correctly or at the right time, disrupting the entire production flow.

Key Reasons for Input and Output Module Failure

Understanding the root causes of I/O module inefficiencies is fundamental in both recovery and prevention strategies.

  • Temperature Extremes
    Most industrial settings vary greatly in temperature, and I/O modules are not impervious to such extremes. Overheating or extremely cold conditions can lead to malfunction.
  • Humidity and Corrosion
    High humidity can cause rust and corrosion, escalating to contact failure or short-circuit conditions.
  • Vibration and Shock
    Machines in manufacturing environments are often subject to significant vibrations and shocks, and I/O modules, though robust, can suffer damage over time.
  • Physical Damage
    Mishandling, collisions, or falling objects can all result in physical damage to I/O modules, which might not always be immediately apparent but can cause latent issues.

Consequences of I/O Module Inefficient Production

Inefficiencies in input and output module performance have ripple effects that extend far beyond the module itself.

  • Downtimes
    A malfunctioning I/O module can lead to partial or complete production halts, resulting in significant financial losses.
    Quality Assurance Compromises
    Inaccurate I/O signals can result in defective products, hurting the company’s reputation for quality and reliability.
    Safety Risks
    An I/O module failure might mean that safety-critical signals are not relayed correctly, potentially endangering personnel and the working environment.

How to Recover from I/O Module Inefficiency

Recovering from I/O module inefficiency requires a systematic approach that addresses the cause and effect.

  • Identifying the Issue
    The first step in recovery is to pinpoint the problem area, which might involve diagnostic tools and meticulous testing procedures. As a bidirectional communication protocol, IO-Link Wireless enables to get a clear reading and locate the point of failure, allowing repair crews to reach it faster and get the machinery back on track.
  • Temporary Workarounds
    In some cases, a quick workaround can keep the production running while the main issue is being addressed. Such is the case with IO-Link Wireless devices, offering a quick plug-and-play to replace existing malfunctioned I/Os.
  • Replacement and Repair
    Depending on the severity of the issue, repair services might be sufficient, or in cases of irreparable damage, a module replacement is necessary. In such a case, it would be wise to consider upgrading the existing I/O into IO-Link Wireless, allowing it to communicate with it wirelessly via an IO-Link Wireless Master.
  • Re-calibration and Testing
    After the replacement or repair, it is crucial to re-calibrate the I/O module and thoroughly test its functionality to ensure that it meets the required performance standards. IO-Link Wireless enables this to be done not only with the initial setup but also continuously, providing condition monitoring and IIOT capabilities.

How to Prevent I/O Module Failure

In the context of I/O module failure, proactive measures can prevent significant consequences.

  • Regular Maintenance
    Establishing routine monitoring and maintenance protocols can significantly prolong the life of I/O modules and reduce the likelihood of unexpected failures.
  • Environmental Shields
    Enclosures and protective environments can shield I/O modules from extreme temperatures, humidity, and other environmental stressors.
  • Up-to-Date Technology
    Older I/O modules may be more prone to failure, so regularly updating to newer technology with better build quality and advanced protective features is a wise investment. Setting a path into Industry 4.0, factories and manufacturing facilities grow more and more fond of the benefits offered by IO-Link Wireless, utilizing it for advanced applications and prevention of failures such as these.
  • Training and Accountability
    Human error and lack of knowledge can also contribute to I/O module failures. Regular training for operators can minimize these risks.

Recovering from I/O module inefficiencies is a multifaceted challenge that combines technical expertise, operational agility, and strategic foresight.

By staying informed about the causes of failure and taking preventive measures, such as implementing IO-Link Wireless in the production line, one can ensure seamless equipment operations and prevent communication issues.

Reut possesses extensive expertise as an engineering leader, with more than 12 years of experience across diverse domains, including industrial applications, wireless technologies, and electrical engineering. Before joining CoreTigo, she held a position at Mellanox Technologies, a company later acquired by Nvidia. Reut currently spearheads multifaceted R&D teams, overseeing activities spanning firmware and hardware development, verification, and system engineering.

In 2022, Reut’s accomplishments were acknowledged by Women in Industry 4.0, which recognized her as one of Israel’s top female leaders in the industrial sector. She holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Tel-Aviv University.