Machine Design
A “Smart” Set of Stack Lights

A “Smart” Set of Stack Lights

The Smart Light from Balluff, Florence, Ky., connects to practically any industrial network via IO-Link, an open and standard communication protocol. This lets the light display a wide range of information such as machine speed, throughput, position feedback, feeder-bowl level, or tank level. The stack light can be used with a variety of IP67 modular I/O products from IO-Link vendors, eliminating the need for a remote I/O box to control an indicator light.

The indicator lights are controlled using bitmaps for outputs, letting it be configured on the fly. The lights can be operated in any of three modes: Stack light mode, in which positions one through five can have 360° of LEDs emitting a range of colors; Level mode, for indicating high or low levels tied to a numerical value; and Run mode, which indicates a machine is running, or adds emphasis with a simple scrolling light. The light uses an industry-standard M12 connector and is rated IP54. It can mount right on a machine, eliminating the need for a long cable run to the control or remote I/O cabinet. The light also does not need a control panel or HMI, another cost-saving feature.

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