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pine.box – the smart Sensor-to-X gateway – Coming soon…

Collect, process, display and forward data, all in one product.

With our pine.box you can acquire data from smart IO-Link® sensors and devices1. The pine.box can process the acquired data directly on the device with the integrated Node-RED® with Node-RED flows and JavaScript . The pine.box forwards the pre-processed data to

  • Databases (e.g., MySQL, AWS S3, InfluxDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MS SQL),
  • Messages (e.g., email, Signal message, SMS, WhatsApp),
  • Dashboads (as integrated Node-RED dashboards),
  • Communication (e.g., MQTT, HTTP, Websocket, TCP, UDP, Modbus TCP, OPC/UA).

Alternatively the pine.box works as a sensor and actuator interface and provides the data via the Ethernet interface using JSON.

The pine.box is versatile tool for the fast and easy creation of various appications, like Smart Metering (using IO-Link current sensors), machine commisioning (using e.g., distance sensors), machine smartification for parameters like up-time or output rate.


The pine.box will be available soon2. For further updates, please register to our newsletter:

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pine.box – Example Use Case

Existing system without smart functions

The extisting system shall be upgraded with smart features to improve production quality and minimize downtime.

Smartification/Upgrade with the pine.box

In addition to the already installed controls, smart sensors are installed without interfering with the existing control system. The sensors are connected to the pine.box and the pine.box is configured.

Measure, report and optimize

The data is processed on the pine.box and displayed via dashboards, forwarded to databases or via cloud connection, or alarms are generated in the event of deviations – the system is now smart!

Simple setup in 4 steps

The IODD file of the respective device can either be obtained from the device manufacturer or downloaded from ioddfinder.io-link.com.

The IODD file stored on the PC is then transferred to the pine.box.

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The device connected to the port can now be configured via the web interface and its functions can be tested.

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For access via JSON, the JSON path is provided. This path is used to access the device’s data (process data and parameters) via Ethernet.

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If the data is to be processed in Node-RED, suitable nodes are required for access. The nodes for Node-RED are generated in the pine.box‘s configuration interface specifically for the connected device.

The generated nodes are then imported into the Node-RED interface.

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Then, the flows can be linked or specifically programmed. The data is either forwarded (e.g., to databases or as messages), or can be displayed on integrated dashboards.

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pine.box – Benefits

The pine.box is compatible with all smart IO-Link® SDCI sensors and devices with IODD file V1.1, regardless of the manufacturer. More than 20,000 different sensor types are available.

The integration of the sensors via IODD file using the configuration interface of the pine.box is self-explanatory. The IODD file can be downloaded from the website of the SDCI device manufacturer or via the catalog ioddfinder.io-link.com.

Up to four SDCI devices can be connected per pine.box. The devices are powered via the pine.box with up to 0.5A per device.

Neither additional software nor additional licenses or subscriptions are required for the configuration and programming of the pine.box. All functions can be accessed via the configuration web interface or the integrated Node-RED programming interface of the pine.box. Operation is intuitive, so no additional external training is required.

pine.box Konfigurations-Oberfläche
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If you have questions, support is available in the form of FAQs, tutorials, and manuals. Node-RED support is additionally available through the Node-RED community. You can also get direct support from Pinetek Networks.

Node-RED is a programming interface for processing data that works with the graphical linking of input, output, and processing nodes. Node-RED is integrated into the pine.box, and the data points of the SDCI devices are integrated into Node-RED as input or output nodes.

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For more information about Node-RED, visit the Node-RED website:

With the Node-RED dashboard editor, dashboards with displays and controls can be created by linking. The dashboards are displayed via the pine.box web interface.

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Multiple dashboards per pine.box can be created

For more complex functions in Node-RED, the widely used programming Javascript is utilized for processing nodes.

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All sensor and actuator data (process data and parameter data) can be accessed via the JSON interface on the pine.box. This method is particularly suitable if the data processing is performed on a PC system and not on the pine.box. The JSON interface can be accessed with all commonly used programming languages.

The data aquired and processed by the pine.box can be processed and stored locally, written to a database in the company network or sent to the cloud – the choice is yours. The relevant connectors are available in the Node-RED environment.

Technical specifications

Mechanical

Dimensions
90 x 72 x 63 mm
Installation
DIN-Rail
Protection class
IP20
Temperature range
-25°- 60°C

Connections

Power supply
24V DC (+/-20%)
Power consumption max. 2400mA (incl. SDCI port supply)
4 SDCI-Ports (IO-Link compatible)
M12 (female)
Class A (max. 1A per Port)
Communication speeds COM1, COM2 (Auto-Detect), COM3 not supported
Operating modes: IOL (DQ, DI in preparation)
Ethernet
100MBit, RJ45
IPv4 as DHCP client or with fixed IP address
2.4GHz WLAN via USB stick (future feature, stick avaiable as product option, USB shared with other USB devices)
HMI
HDMI Port with Node-RED Dashboards in kiosk mode (future feature)
1 USB-A port for keyboard/mouse (future feature, USB shared with WLAN dongle)

Communications

Configuration
IODD V1.1
Web-based configuration
LED indicators
Status per port (red/green)
System (red/green)
Power (green)
Network communication protocol
JSON/REST over Ethernet
Programming/linking
Node-RED integrated
Dashboards
Graphical linking
Javascript programming
Node-RED Connectors
Communication protocols
MQTT
HTTP
Websocket
TCP
UDP
Modbus TCP
OPC/UA
Database/Cloud
MySQL
AWS S3
InfluxDB
PostgreSQL
MongoDB
MS SQL
Messaging
E-mail
Signal
SMS (via seven.io, additional costs apply)
WhatsApp (via WhatsApp web, phone number required)

Technical specifications are preliminary an are be subject to change.

FAQs

Which sensors and actuators can be connected to the pine.box?

The pine.box is compatible with SDCI devices according to IEC 61131-9 (brand name IO-Link®), which support the IODD format 1.1 and have less than 500mA current consumption (class A). The connection is made via M12, adapter cables may be required depending on the device.

Do I have to purchase a license for Node-RED or install Node-RED separately on the pine.box?

Node-RED is royalty-free (Apache License 2.0) and installed on the pine.box by default.

How can I connect to the pine.box?

The pine.box is connected via Ethernet, your device must have an Ethernet port or provide it e.g. via a USB Ethernet adapter. It is also possible to connect the pine.box to a network.

What are the hardware and software requirements for configuring and programming the pine.box?

Configuration and programming is done via the web browser by accessing the pine.box web page. A PC (Windows, Linux, Mac, ChromeOS) with a current browser is required for access. Chrome, Edge and Firefox were tested.

Can I process data from multiple pine.box on one pine.box?

Yes, this is possible via the JSON interface. The two pine.boxes must be connected to each other via the network, e.g. via a router or switch.

Assuming pine.box A handles the data processing, the data points are retrieved from the Node-RED flow on pine.box A via JSON query from pine.box B.

Where is the data stored?

No data is stored on the pine.box when accessing the data via JSON. When processing the data via Node-RED, there is also no storage on the pine.box. The history data for the dashboards is stored in the volatile memory of the pine.box and is lost when the device is switched off.

Which programming languages can be used to read sensor data from the pine.box?

There are no restrictions in the choice of programming language as long as TCP network connections and JSON format are supported. We provide programming examples for data retrieval using Python and C#. However, other programming languages are also possible.

  1. IO-Link is a registered trademark of PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V.: io-link.com, profibus.com
    The IOL HAT is compatible with IO-Link devices.
    It is not a certified IO-Link master. The certification is planned for Q4/2024. ↩︎
  2. pine.box is planned to be avaialable in Q3/2024 ↩︎