Festo is actively advancing the implementation of Industry 4.0: besides carrying out intensive research into intelligent components and decentralised automation, the automation producer is setting out to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 with specific solutions in process automation as well.
Festo has developed a concept for the automation of modular water treatment systems, for example, and with its bionic technology carrier “AquaJellies” visualises ideas as to what efficient systems can look like in future in water purification and related fields. Festo is the first automation technology supplier to investigate the potential of superconductor technology for future production worlds; the company is exhibiting the “SupraChanger” at the ACHEMA. Festo is presenting these trends and further product highlights at the ACHEMA in Hall 8, Stand C72 and Hall 11, Stand G44.
“To enhance the competitiveness of the process industries in markets that are becoming more and more volatile, flexible production processes are needed; Festo is investigating these in a diverse range of research projects and specific applications relating to Industry 4.0. Adaptive, self-configuring and self-organising production facilities with a high degree of networking are a key requirement here. At the ACHEMA, we are for example presenting our new innovative concept for the automation of modular production units. This enables water treatment systems, for instance, to be rapidly and flexibly installed and conveniently adapted whenever required, without the need for comprehensive reconfiguration. This reduction of complexity not only enables products to be rapidly launched on various markets, but also reduces costs in the planning, manufacture and commissioning of production facilities; in addition, these systems are more energy-efficient in view of their smaller dimensions,” said Dr. Eberhard Veit, Chairman of the Management Board of Festo AG.
Festo is developing integral solutions for process automation throughout the automation pyramid – from visualisation up to the field level. Furthermore, product innovations are being strategically developed for the field level. “We make above-average investments in specific research and development for process automation,” said Peter Beil, Head of the Process Automation business unit at Festo, in explaining the objective.
ACHEMA 2015: Festo as a partner along the entire automation pyramid
At two stands, Festo is presenting the wide variety of its products and solutions throughout the automation pyramid. In Hall 8, visitors are familiarised with products and solutions involving process valves. The company is exhibiting various product highlights such as the new linear actuator DFPI, the new standard Namur valve VSNC and the new pinch valve VZQA. As an example of innovative applications, proportional valves are also being displayed for the regulation of inert gases at production plants in the biotech/pharmaceuticals sector.
In Hall 11, the focus of attention is on integral automation solutions, from the control level to the process valve. Visitors to this hall are shown the concept of modular automation for the requirements of Industry 4.0 in process automation.
Bionic Learning Network
Festo is also presenting projects from the Bionic Learning Network. The AquaJellies 2.0 can be seen in action in Hall 8. Their integrated communication and sensor technology plus their real-time diagnostics enable a coordinated, collective behaviour even in a limited space. Process monitoring and condition monitoring are important topics in all equipment used in the process industry and hence also in the field of water treatment.
The eMotionSpheres perform their aerobatics in Hall 11. With this exhibit, the company is already showing how several objects are coordinated without colliding in a three-dimensional space thanks to multifaceted networking. This guarantees safe interaction between the spheres and people, which creates new prospects for the workspace of the future. Moreover, Festo uses the installation to show a guidance and monitoring system, as could be applied in the networked factory of the future.
SupraMotion 2.0 – contact-free suspension of objects
Superconductors have great potential for industrial application. They enable objects to be positioned and moved with only minimal expenditure of energy and without the need for any control components. Their dust- and abrasion-free operation is ideal for the protected transport of objects in suspension in highly pure environments. Handling within enclosed spaces is also possible.
In Hall 11, Festo is presenting the SupraChanger, which for the first time transfers a controllable rotational movement to a magnet that hovers in a stable condition by means of a superconductor. One future application area could be laboratory automation, where a single medium has to undergo a wide range of different handling stages. There is just as much call for the use of rotary movements in centrifuges or mixers as there is for frictionless positioning and contactless handling.
In Hall 8, Festo Didactic is providing information on industrial education and training, and on personal training and consultation up to instruction in the core processes of Industry 4.0. This also extends to EDS, the Environmental Discovery System for water management specifically developed for the process industries. This is a modular learning system that conveys knowledge on water supply and sewage treatment technology for the new profession of “aquatronics engineer”.