On this page:

Faster Modular Device Adaptation

The PROFINET IO Fieldbus Coupler from WAGO can save you a lot of time when engineering and configuring your devices. The function of variable peripheral configuration, an innovative version of option handling, makes it possible to use software created once to realize different versions of a device easier.

Customized products, shorter product cycles, greater product diversity – they all demand greater manufacturing flexibility at lower costs. Modular devices offer the solution because their individual function blocks can be exchanged, optimized and reused. In combination with PROFIsafe safety technology, the PROFINET IO Fieldbus Coupler from WAGO makes it quick, easy and safe. Variable peripheral configuration of the fieldbus node is an innovative version of option handling. It allows mechanical engineers and operators to create the maximum system configuration of a device once and then easily configure any variants by PLC application at any time – without an engineering system at all.

Simply Enabling Device Elements by PLC Application

Variable peripheral configuration helps companies better master the challenges of Industry 4.0. With conventional solutions for making devices more flexible, the engineering system requires extensive adaptation to changes. This mainly affects the hardware configuration, i.e., adaptation of the correct number of fieldbus nodes or matching I/O modules using a GSDML file.

With variable peripheral configuration, the customer or technician can immediately enable and directly commission planned device elements by adapting variable values from the PLC program. The PLC program automatically checks the validity of variable values, so that the changes are immediately applied correctly. In other words, arranging devices is high flexibility and order-related without reprogramming and adjusting the hardware configuration – an essential requirement for Industry 4.0.

Room for Multiple Customized Device Versions

Another advantage of the variable peripheral configuration: There is no longer any need to maintain software versions because only the values of the variables change when used, but the source code remains identical. Because software versioning is no longer needed, mistakes are avoided and costs are saved.

An example from the real world shows how easy it is to implement the WAGO solution. On average, a mechanical engineer does not require more than ten different version of the I/O modules for its functions, including digital and analog inputs and outputs, encoders, the IO-Link communication system and the PROFIsafe safety technology. In the first step of the system and hardware configuration, the programmer implements a maximum node structure, which contains all module versions that are present in it.

Since the PROFINET IO Fieldbus Coupler from WAGO supports 250 I/O modules in the maximum configuration, it can place enough modules of each module version in its node structure – for example: 5 times 8DI, 5 times 8DO, 3 times 4-channel IO-Link Master, 3 times 4FDI/4FDO. From this largest basic configuration, all other node structures can now be derived as a subset and custom module versions configured – and with the required security because a password-protected area of the visualization can be used for the configuration.

Conclusion: Keeping an Open and Flexible Automation Solution in Mind

PLC programmers and mechanical engineers are able to implement different versions of a device with their unique peripheral software. If approved by the device manufacturer and supported by the device, the device user has the opportunity to dynamically connect and disconnect modular device elements in the simplest possible way.

Flexibility increases again from the perspective of device manufacturers, who have to use different controllers for different markets – even from different manufacturers – because the variable peripheral structure is not dependent on either manufacturer or firmware.

Text: Jürgen Pfeifer, Jürgen Prütting2

Product Overview

Industrial Internet of Things


Our industrial world is being disrupted at an ever-accelerating rate. Digitalization, and the myriad transformative processes they're in, continue to move apace as well. With solutions for cloud connectivity, IIoT and smart automation, WAGO has helped our partners shape the future while keeping a constant scrutinizing eye on current advances in cybersecurity and safety.