Lost productivity is one of the most common concerns for Industry 4.0 designers challenged with keeping a manufacturing line running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Without intelligent data available at their fingertips, factory operators do not have the insight to make informed, real-time decisions which can significantly improve uptime, revenue, and gross margins.

"Industry 4.0 is no longer a 'future trend'–for many companies it is now at the heart of their strategic and research agenda," said Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in a recent report. "In fact, 35% of companies adopting Industry 4.0 expect revenue gains over 20% over the next five years."

In addition to capturing real-time data, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) require fan-less operation due to harsh industrial environments. As a result, highly efficient power solutions are required to minimise heat dissipation.

Maxim Integrated Products' Pocket IO PLC development platform redefines how factories operate and enables Industry 4.0 applications. To maximise productivity, it provides real-time intelligence for quick and effective decisions, adaptive manufacturing to avoid potential downtime, and distributed control to provide redundancy.

When compared to the Micro PLC Platform from two years ago, the Pocket IO decreases form factor by an additional 2.5x and reduces power consumption by another 30%. Utilising patent-pending, fast and safe demagnetisation clamps integrated within the MAX14913 octal high-side switch and driver, it achieves 15x space savings by eliminating 16 diodes from its previous solution. In addition, the MAX17681 iso-buck DC-DC converter provides greater than 90% power efficiency when compared to its predecessor—a reduction of power dissipation of over 30%. The MAX31913 octal, digital input translator/serialiser can be powered off of any available 5V supply while still accepting input signals up to 36V, eliminating all protection components needed on the 24V supply pin and thus reducing total footprint by 50%.

The MAXREFDES150# Pocket IO PLC reference design is $499, which includes the attach board, IO-link protocol stack, cables, and power supply. The schematics, layout files, and firmware are free and available for immediate use. The Pocket IO consists of 30 IOs, including analog input, analog output, digital input, digital output, IO-link and motion control featuring robust functionality and diagnostic capabilities.