Case Study

Automotive Manufacturer Retrofits Robots with LioN-Power I/O Modules

An automotive manufacturer in Japan collaborated with another automotive company to strengthen their alliance on the shop floor level body shop. They made a plan to retrofit robots with a single, unified concept, using a Belden solution to replace controller cabinets with Lumberg Automation IP67 I/O modules and cabling cordsets. The two companies will deploy the solution across their factories in Asia and Europe.


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The project was initiated to standardize the design for the robot control system by upgrading from PROFIBUS to PROFINET, while also working with different Ethernet protocols. The goal was to implement the solutions in proprietary factories and alliance partner sites as well to reduce the costs significantly. 

Part of the new concept was to deploy an IP67 communication solution and replace cabinets. The partners also wanted to simplify cabling design of robots to gain savings from standardization. The existing cabling solutions were housed in cabinets and totally different in the factories of both companies


  • One I/O module covering different communication protocols – the robots in Europe have PROFINET, while in Asia and South America, EtherNet/IP is needed

  • Support of M12 Power L-coded PROFINET standard

  • Simplify handling and installation with compact, lightweight and smallest design of I/O modules in the market

  • Metal housing to meet resistance against welding sparks, vibration (15 g) and shock (50 g)

  • IO-Link support for future applications

  • Netload Class III

  • Customized diagnostic


The new concept includes up to three Lumberg Automation I/O modules per robot, with at least one I/O module for the “patch bay” at the chassis of robot and one I/O module to connect to the new IP67 robot controller station. The selected products fulfilled the requirement to reduce part-stocking and gain flexibility through standardization on a single I/O module. The support of PROFINET and EtherNet/IP enabled the System Integrator to retrofit robots in an identical way, but with different programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The LioN-P module helped simplify the robot cabling and further reduced costs by standardizing the cabling of all the robots to Ethernet or M12 power cables.



In the first year, 200+ robots have been retrofitted with the Lumberg Automation solution.Both automotive manufacturers agree that the benefits of this solution have helped them achieve the standardization they wanted at the project’s outset. Because of this change, they have also seen greater cost savings, better inventory management, easier installation and maintenance and improved global flexibility. With all these benefits, the concept will be extended to use the multiprotocol LioN-Power I/O module for new robots – up to 3,000 robots will be equipped in the next phases, including an expansion to other shop floor areas, like powertrain.