The machinery and plant construction industry is faced with the challenge of catering to the increasing consumer demand for individually adaptable products at affordable prices. Along with the continuing need for mass-produced goods for the world’s population, which will soon reach the eight-billion mark, demand is also growing for small-series production down to lot size 1.
Digitalization in the course of Industry 4.0 is providing the necessary key technologies. Festo has developed a universal, programmable platform for highly flexible and adaptive automation with digitalized pneumatics.
With the Festo Motion Terminal, the company has achieved a technological breakthrough by merging hardware and software to produce a digital valve. Over a three-year development period not only an intelligent pneumatic automation platform for Industry 4.0 was created, but in fact an entirely new solution space for the manufacture of products for the future.
A wide variety of valve functions can now be programmed and addressed via apps. The Festo Motion Terminal combines the functions of over 50 individual components: this greatly simplifies the engineering process and enables numerous hardware components to be dispensed with.
Machinery and plant manufacturers can benefit from entirely new designs for platforms and modules, and plant operators can gain a competitive advantage thanks to flexible and adaptive systems, data transparency, communication ability, extreme process reliability and simpler operation of complex machinery.
Alfred Goll, spokesman of the Management Board of Festo AG, says: “We have created an automation platform that integrates all functions, so that adaptive and flexible production is made economically feasible – and we have revolutionized pneumatics in the process!”
Project Manager Dr. Julia Duwe, head of future motion solutions management, explains: “In technological terms, this entirely new platform combines mechanics, electronics, control engineering and software. With a choice of various motion apps, clients have the possibility of both registering the condition of their systems in real time and of modifying their functions, thereby flexibly adapting to the demands of their customers. The Festo Motion Terminal ensures consistent process quality and transparency in the construction and operation of production plants, provides flexibility throughout the machinery life cycle and reduces costs arising from faults.”