Flexible synchronization of printer and systems with the Microplex GPIO interface

In modern production or packaging lines all the connected devices are controlled and synchronized via signals. This ensures a smooth process and allows a quick and targeted response when the situation requires it. Many of these devices are printers, both thermal and laser which need to be triggered by either the PLC or a sensor on the line.

Microplex printers can be connected directly to the PLC or sensor utilising a GPIO (General Purpose Input / Output) interface that is embedded in the printer.

Therefore the Microplex printer can interface seamlessly with packaging machines, inserting machines, picking systems or applicators.


Microplex printers are the better solution:

The SPS - Control (GPIO) option for Microplex print systems.

The hardware interface consists of an additional electronic board (adapter board), which provides eight input/output channels and four status channels of the printer.

The inputs and outputs of the Microplex SPS-Control (GPIO Board) can be for example connected to post processing machines. Such machines are often equipped with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), in German called SPS ( such as ABB AC500, Beckhoff IP67, Schneider Electric Modicon, Siemens Simatic S7, ... to name but a few). The electrical signals are optimized for such SPS systems.

With the PLC or SPS – Control (GPIO Board) Microplex printers are able to synchronize their internal print data processing to external signals: they can wait until other machines are ready and they are able to control post processing machines, too.

By directly communicating the printer with hosts, mainframes, and other control systems, the GPIO interface of the printer can be manipulated through special commands (cio). The computer can use these commands in the printer data stream e.g. to set outputs to a defined level, poll inputs or wait for confirmation of the printer before proceeding to program execution. It also allows process controls to be synchronized at the level of the computing system that generates the print data.

For every print job a real handshake between printer and post processing can be realized.

If the wide range of configuration options is not sufficient, we will customise our solutions to the needs of the customer in cooperation with plant engineers and system integrators. Thus, individual adaptations can be realised through optional functional extensions.

Special IDOL commands for the SPS – Control (GPIO Board) are added to the normal printer data stream.

These commands enable you to control, for example, an inserting machine for envelopes. Via the SPS – Control (GPIO Board) electrical signals can be sent to the external PLC as well as being able to detect the outputs of the external PLC.

The SPS - Control (GPIO) for Microplex printers provides you an intelligent and cost-effective solution to eliminate the weak point within such printing/post processing systems i.e. the synchronization.

The Microplex GPIO interface (SPS-Control)

The SPS-Control (GPIO) hardware is an additional electronic board (adapter board) that is connected to the Microplex controller.

The Inputs and Outputs of the SPS – Control (GPIO) hardware are optically decoupled.

The connection to an external SPS/PLC is realized with a 25 pin SUB-D connector (male).

Advantages of the Microplex GPIO:

  • Control of thermal and laser printers via electrical I/O
  • Individual programming of GPIO signals possible
  • Standard applicator interface via configuration
  • Real handshake between printer and post processing units can be realized

IDOL commands for GPIO interface

For configuring and using the SPS - Control (GPIO) input/output channels the IDOL command "cio" has been created.

The logical values "1" and "0" can be set with this command.

Moreover there is an ability to stop the print process, until a defined input signal is set by the external SPS/PLC.

So SPS - Control (GPIO) provides a real handshaking between printer and post processing system which is programmable for every single print job.

Hints on enhanced I/O functions

The feature set of the SPS – Control (GPIO) is expandable.

Functional enhancements can be ordered as options. On request, even brand new features can be implemented (Microplex team of developers).

The support services of Microplex include training courses on SPS – Control (GPIO).

For further information and details on our SPS-Control (GPIO) please download our brochure:

Download product information SPS-Control (GPIO)



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