How Industrial Communication Protocols Are Revolutionizing Manufacturing Processes

Gabi Daniely

Gabi Daniely, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer

| 14 February, 2024
IO-Link Wireless is revolutionizing the world of industrial protocols
Gabi Daniely
In highly automated facilities, where all devices are connected wirelessly, the use of these protocols in combination with IO-Link Wireless means that entire production lines can be run without human intervention, with all the necessary adjustments being communicated and executed seamlessly.

Gabi Daniely

Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer

In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, where precision and efficiency are non-negotiable, industrial communication protocols enable the seamless interactions between machines, systems, and software to redefine and elevate operational capabilities.

As manufacturing processes undergo digital transformation, understanding and optimizing these protocols is paramount for staying competitive and driving progress.

What Are Industrial Communication Protocols?

Industrial communication protocols are sets of rules that dictate how data is shared in an industrial process. They are the standardized languages that machines and devices use to interact with each other, whether it’s to pass on information, receive commands, or both.

These protocols are designed to withstand the rigors of the industrial environment, which often includes high levels of electrical noise, and the need for high reliability and low latency (such as the ones offered by IO-Link Wireless). As such, they are built according to strict performance criteria.

Commonly Used Industrial Communication Protocols

Common industrial protocols for communications include:

Ethernet/IP is an industrial network protocol that establishes communication between industrial control systems and factory automation applications. It’s built on the standard Ethernet protocol, providing the basis for open, secure, and interoperable industrial networks.

PROFINET is another protocol that uses Ethernet as its physical layer. It’s a standard, unmodified Ethernet protocol, which means that common network devices like switches and routers can be used as-is, reducing the need for custom equipment.

EtherCAT, short for Ethernet for Control Automation Technology, is an exceptionally fast industrial Ethernet protocol. It enables real-time communication with precise synchronization, ensuring rapid data exchange across connected devices. EtherCAT’s high performance and low communication overhead make it ideal for demanding industrial automation applications.

OPC UA, or Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture, is a cross-industry interoperability standard for secure and reliable data exchange in industrial automation. It provides platform-independent, secure communication and seamless integration of diverse systems. OPC UA offers extensive functionality, including information modeling, alarming, and historical data access.

History of Industrial Communication Protocols

The story of industrial communication protocols is interconnected with the history of industrial automation. Initially, proprietary protocols were the norm, as they were designed to work exclusively with a specific manufacturer’s equipment.

However, as the need for interoperability and standardization became apparent, open and standardized protocols began to gain traction.

The concept of these open protocols can be traced back to the invention of Ethernet, which was quickly recognized for its potential in industrial settings. Over time, these protocols have evolved and become more sophisticated, often borrowing techniques and technology from the IT industry and modifying them to meet the harsh demands of industrial communication.

Industrial Communication Protocols Bridge the Gap between Machine Tools and Software Monitoring

In the context of manufacturing, a cable-grade wireless industrial protocol of communication is instrumental in linking the various elements of the production chain. For instance, they enable AMRs, robots, and crossbelt sortation systems to communicate with one another and with centralized control systems – this is IO-Link Wireless. Through it, workforce management systems can relay real-time data on production schedules and material requirements to the factory floor.

This connectivity is not just about information sharing. It’s about real-time control and monitoring, creating a feedback loop that ensures optimal performance. It’s about machines adjusting their processes based on the data they receive in real-time. Also, it’s about production being governed by a digital thread that runs through the entire ecosystem, from design to delivery.

Industrial Communication Protocols Improve Industrial Process Monitoring and Control

With industrial communication protocols, process monitoring and control have reached levels of precision and responsiveness that were once unimaginable. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems use these protocols to gather and analyze information from the production line, feeding back control signals to maintain the desired operating conditions.

In highly automated facilities, where all devices are connected wirelessly, the use of these protocols in combination with IO-Link Wireless means that entire production lines can be run without human intervention, with all the necessary adjustments being communicated and executed seamlessly.

This not only optimizes efficiency but also lowers the risk of human error, leading to improved product quality and consistency.

IO-Link Wireless Enhance Industrial Communication Protocols

The ability of IO-Link Wireless to interconnect different parts of the manufacturing process is not just about digital control. It also unlocks a higher degree of efficiency. By streamlining operations, IO-Link Wireless allows for just-in-time manufacturing, minimizes downtime through predictive maintenance, and manages energy consumption more effectively.

The IO-Link Wireless Devices communicate with the IO-Link Wireless Master, which in turn communicates onward with the PLC or Cloud Applications, as can be seen in the IO-Link Wireless Solution Architecture.

Efficiency is further bolstered by the role these protocols play in the implementation of Industry 4.0 principles, where smart, connected systems enable factories to become more flexible and responsive to customer demands.

Robotics, additive manufacturing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and complementary technologies are brought together by these protocols to create intelligent and autonomous production environments.


Industrial communication protocols such as IO-Link Wireless are not just an integral part of the manufacturing landscape. They actively reshape it. As the industry continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, these protocols will need to adapt and grow even further. This could mean integrating with quantum computing, becoming more secure against cyber threats, or evolving to accommodate new materials and production methods.

Gabi is an experienced executive with over 20 years in the hi-tech industry and wireless technologies. He brings global experience in enterprise solutions from a variety of companies ranging from large corporates such as Intel and Stanley Black & Decker, in addition to start-up companies at various stages. Most recently, Gabi led the Marketing and Product strategy of AeroScout which pioneered the WI-FI RFID space and were acquired by Stanley Black & Decker. At Stanley, Gabi led the Solutions, Products, Business Development, and Marketing of the STANLEY Healthcare division serving over 10,000 global enterprise customers.
Gabi holds an Information Systems & Industrial Engineering degree (B.Sc with honors) and an MBA from the Ben-Gurion University.