Always keeping sight of our customers’ needs is the primary principle for Festo. We have identified four areas that are vital to maintaining a solid and successful partnership with customers as we journey into the digital age.
The first area is the digital infrastructure of which the Festo Cloud will be an important part. Secondly, digital products and services open up new business models and boost the productivity of the partners involved. The third area, the Internet of Things (IoT) automation platform, links smart and intelligent products to one another, e.g. CPX/MPA with an IoT gateway. And finally, the digital customer journey that will make it much easier for the customer to navigate each process station thanks to the consistent look and feel. The level of complexity associated with these four tasks can only be managed by adopting an interdisciplinary approach.
If we want to shape the transformation into the digital age, the infrastructure has to live up to the technical requirements. First and foremost, this involves having a 360° solution for editing product data, i.e. a cloud structure that permits data to be analysed and reveals how and when products are used. This analysis also calls for extensive platform services. To be able to communicate with the IoT, the cloud has to have a hybrid structure that is scalable. As far as the product world is concerned, a fully consistent Product Key forms a vital part of the digital infrastructure.
Digital products and services
Our tailored digital offer, i.e. software, apps and firmware, is intended to boost productivity for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and end users alike. This range is rounded off by operation and maintenance services. Dashboards with condition monitoring and cloud services lead to new added-value business models, which includes networking them with customer IT systems in line with Industry 4.0.
IoT automation platform
Smart and intelligent products – such as CPX/MPA, VTEM or YXMx with the IoT gateway – are connected to the Festo Cloud via the IoT automation platform. As a result, these products get a digital fingerprint and are ready for condition monitoring. Having a digital description for people and machines facilitates access and enables best-in-class engineering, whether in the shell or with digital twin technology.
Festo Cloud and dashboard
Festo wants to build IoT capability into a broad range of components so that important supplementary data can be gathered, analysed and made available via standardised interfaces. The IoT gateway CPX-IOT helps to achieve this, as it recognises Festo components and integrates them into the cloud. Through the Festo Cloud, Festo products can then also be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine builders and operators benefit from the easy plug-and-play approach, as there is no longer a need for extensive configuration. This dramatically improves the transparency and availability of the automation solutions.
At the heart of all this lies the Product Key which provides all the essential information about the Festo components. The collected data is transferred via the CPX IoT gateway to the cloud, which is equipped with the latest IT security mechanisms, i.e. data security is factored in right from the start. To accommodate the connected factory concept, Festo also provides integrated computer interfaces with REST technology (Representational State Transfer), allowing automatic data flows to be incorporated into connected factory systems.
Festo has already launched some initial digital products on the market, such as the Motion Terminal VTEM (not available in AU yet). This first step into the world of app-controlled digital pneumatics is revolutionising pneumatics. Another example is the energy efficiency module. This product, which is a world first, fully automatically monitors and regulates the compressed air supply in new and existing systems, making energy savings easier than ever before. The module also supports the condition monitoring of process-related data for Industry 4.0.
Up to 99 authorised users can access, view and edit a year’s worth of data in the cloud independently via a browser or API interface. The required content is output via dashboards that contain widgets (elements that are preconfigured to display particular information). Here, various parameters can be analysed at a glance, e.g. energy consumption, process control, motion parameters or wear factors and maintenance support. What’s more, Festo has now launched its first ever set of purely digital products, such as EPLAN Schematic Solution (not available in AU yet), which is a huge help to design engineers when preparing documentation.