The io-key

Sensor to cloud

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Smart Factory are the key trends of the Industry 4.0 movement. We will show you how it’s done!

Why does Sensor to Cloud play a key role for Industry 4.0?

Sensor data frequently offer the basis for efficient production planning. They provide information about

  • the production status
  • the condition of machines and plants/systems
  • and, not least, about the production quality

To be able to use this sensor data advantageously in the form of an increasing degree of automation of the production line, it has to be made digitally available. This may on the one hand be implemented via a direct connection locally on the edge of the production line or, on the other hand, via a network connection with a cloud environment. The “Sensor to Cloud” solution brings the advantage that data can be visualised, analysed and further processed independent of the location. In addition external resources can be used to enhance the application range. Virtual production lines can be modelled from this data thus providing in the second step important data for production planning and allowing optimal control of the “Smart Factory”.

IO-Link as an interface between smart sensors and the cloud platform

The first step for integration of a machine into the Smart Factory is the connection of the sensors with the cloud platform. Suitable for this are Smart Sensors not having an analogue output only but also internal data processing and a digital interface. It is established via the standardised IO-Link protocol and implements point-to-point communication between sensor and master. It is additionally possible to transmit several absolute measured values including associated units from a sensor to the master. The architecture of this infrastructure is established by a sensor-specific IO Device Description file (IODD) centrally decrypting the bit chain of the sensor output.

Simply put, it means that the reading device outputs a temperature value instead of a voltage or current rating value (0-10 V or 4-20 mA) as the sensor signal of a temperature transmitter. It can be processed further without requiring parameterisation or conversion.

An infrastructure is required again to send this smart signal of the sensor to an IoT cloud that establishes a connection to the data interface of the cloud. Such infrastructure is referred to as IoT gateway. In the conventional way of application it is often necessary to accept an expensive detour via a local control between sensor and gateway. For applications such as Remote Monitoring, i.e. remote monitoring of machines on sensor level, this detour is not necessary and therefore no central control is required.

The io-key bridges the gap between the sensor and IoT cloud for you

Just connect the sensors to a gateway directly and monitor them in the cloud. Do this in three easy steps without expenditure for parameterising or programming.

  1. Connect the io-key to the power supply
  2. Log-in to the personal cloud platform
  3. Connect the sensor and start


The io-key is the key to your personal remote monitoring and automation project. Via your personal cloud you can monitor sensor data, detect threshold values and set alarm functions. You are always up-to-date about your plants and systems via the common information services such as email, SMS and messaging services (e.g. Twitter). Remote monitoring and data logging form the data basis in the IIoT for analysis and the following predictive maintenance.

Intelligent sensors with IO-Link and io-key

Convert your local sensor values to smart data sources for the digital IoT. Once in your cloud, your data can be used to implement unlimited intelligence, e.g. you can develop a complex automated process from a simple numerical value. This is implemented by the two interfaces

You want to optimise your processes further and integrate smart automation processes?

No problem. You can export your data in different ways and also process it further via third-party cloud systems. We also offer an interface with the graphical IoT editor NodeRed which makes it particularly easy for you to implement complex process functions on the basis of your sensor data from the cloud.


Application example Sensor to Cloud with io-key:

You are operating several silo systems for animal feedstuff located far away from each other and want to monitor their fill levels from remote.

You decide using IO-Link-capable ultrasonic sensors and can now use an io-key to connect them directly with your personal cloud. A connection to a local network is not necessary as the io-key establishes a connection via the 2G network or narrowband IoT.

Now you can monitor your fill levels from remote and have messages sent to you for critical values. In addition it is possible to simply create automatic tasks, e.g. re-order the animal feedstuff from your supplier in the quantity as needed specifically on the basis of the data in the cloud.

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