Contact Supplier

Contact Supplier

To get in touch with HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH, simply fill out the form below.

    Subscribe to Supplier

    Subscribe to Supplier


    HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH introduces IO-Link for easier machine digital integration and automation

    news-releasesHOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH
    March 15th 2024

    Lohra, Germany: Innovative force in high quality tailored lyophilization solutions, HOF Sonderanlagenbau, has become one of the first manufacturers to incorporate the IO-Link digital interconnection protocol into its systems.

    The groundbreaking IO-Link technology enables easier interconnection and data integration of sensors and actuators within the production system, offering HOF customers in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries a variety of advantages for increasing their cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

    IO-Link rollout

    IO-Link (IEC 61131-9) is the first globally standardized input-output communication standard for point-to-point device interconnection and is based on long established 3-wire sensor and actuator connection without additional cabling requirements, making it robust and easier to implement.

    HOF’s first production Freeze Dryers incorporating IO-Link have now passed FAT factory acceptance testing and the technology is available for all HOF Freeze-Dryers, Freeze and Thaw units (FTUs), as well as its newly developed refrigeration technology CCU with CryoBlizzard cold air refrigeration units.

    Continuous innovation

    HOF certified engineer and Software Engineering / IO-Link specialist Markus Röhrig commented:

    “At HOF-Automation, our focus is on innovation and customer satisfaction, because we know that continuous innovation creates the basis for efficient and future-oriented automation solutions. As a pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry, we have become one of the first manufacturers to successfully integrate the new automation standard IO-Link into our control software.”

    “At HOF-Automation, customer benefit comes first. Our IO-Link integration in the control software maximizes efficiency and added value. Our top priority is to optimize processes to offer both machine manufacturers and end-users a wealth of advantages that not only increase efficiency but also profitability,” said Mr. Röhrig.

    Multiple advantages

    Digital connection of sensors and actuators with IO-Link delivers at least four specific automation advantages for HOF users:

    1. Elimination of switch boxes: Use of IO-Link eliminates need for up to 90% of the control boxes previously required, delivering significant space savings and reduced system configuration costs.
    2. Compact design and easy integration: HOF has collaborated with IFM to develop innovative software functions for seamless integration of IO-Link protocol into the HOF LYOCOM user interface for intuitive ‘plug and play’ system configuration and operation.
    3. Reduced cable lengths: IO-Link Master can be sited close to components, drastically reducing the length of required cable runs, usually to under three meters.  IO-Link cables come pre-assembled, making wiring easier and self-evident. This also allows change requests to be implemented more easily and efficiently.
    4. Digital connection enables predictive maintenance: The completely digital connection via fieldbus systems such as Profinet enables comprehensive diagnostic options down to individual device level. Each IO-Link component is “smart” and has its own logic that immediately detects deviations and errors. This information can be used to progress the ideal of ‘predictive maintenance’ to minimize downtime and maximize system availability in line with transition to the Industry 4.0 Smart Factory vision.

    Future-proof automation

    “Incorporating IO-Link technology will deliver tangible and measurable benefits for our customers,” said Markus Röhrig.

    “Digital connection of sensors and actuators with IO-Link enables future-proof system integration and automation to help our customers optimize their operational processes and create sustainable added value,” he concluded.

    About HOF Sonderanlagenbau

    HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH is a world-class and highly innovative special equipment manufacturer of Freeze-Drying, Freeze-Thaw and loading/unloading systems for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

    Founded in 1988, this German family-owned company has become one of the world’s most respected names for high quality just in time freeze drying (lyophilization) solutions, with more than three decades of experience.

    Sonderanlagenbau is German for ‘special equipment manufacture’ and in this case, refers to HOF’s lab scale, pilot scale and production scale freeze drying solutions, loading and unloading systems, and freeze-thaw units for the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science industries.

    From its advanced manufacturing base at Lohra, north of Frankfurt, HOF designs and constructs specifically tailored freeze-drying and associated solutions for companies all over the world under its motto of “Just in time quality for demanding customers.”

    HOF Sonderanlagenbau is the leading manufacturer for customized Freeze-Drying solutions and has constructed a fully integrated total design and build environment in which every machine is unique, exactly specified in partnership with customer and manufactured to meet very specific requirements.  The partnership ethos extends into ownership, with our comprehensive service and maintenance offerings designed to ensure that no one needs to work on a HOF machine except its own experts.

    HOF is consistently named as one of the Top 100 most innovative companies in Germany.

    Learn more at:


    Click on Latest News from HOF for more on innovative solutions.


    Freeze Drying Systems by HOF

    HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH introduces IO-Link for easier machine digital integration and automation
    HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH introduces IO-Link for easier machine digital integration and automation

    IO-Link functions somewhat like an Ethernet LAN for manufacturing, with the hub(s) distributing power and communications to all devices via simple three-wire plugged cables.  Here it is illustrated interconnecting a 24V DC power supply and SPS Control Unit with process sensors, position sensors, identification units and actuating devices.

    Contact HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH

    Simply fill out the form below to contact HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH now.

    Send HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH a Message