The change in the world of production, currently the subject of intense discussion as part of digitisation and Industry 4.0, is already clearly noticeable in our daily lives. Customised products in the consumer goods sector are no longer unusual and demonstrate that it is possible to network production via appropriate logistics chains all the way to the end user.
Digitisation also makes tried-and-tested and already easily controlled technologies even easier, more versatile and more flexible in use. The Festo Motion Terminal is an example of how established automation technologies can be revolutionised through digitisation. A strict separation between hardware and software functions in the Motion Terminal is bringing about a new dimension in flexibility in all phases of the lifecycle of a plant. The new method of function integration – standardised hardware combined with individual software apps – will simplify the entire value chain, since only one piece of hardware will be required. The individual function of the hardware is realised by installing one or more apps.
This has a number of financial benefits, for example through
- Improved energy efficiency
- Reduced complexity in engineering, operation and maintenance
- Shorter time to market
- Lower maintenance costs
- Self-adaptive functions during plant operation
The Motion Terminal also offers other qualitative benefits, for example
- Protection of the intellectual property of the OEM or end user
- Protection of plants against tampering
- Conditioning monitoring
- Process transparency
Piezo technology, integrated stroke and pressure sensors together with control via motion apps will open up entirely new perspectives for machinery and plant manufacturers. The integrated intelligent sensors for control, diagnostics and self-learning will eliminate the need for additional components. The strict separation of the mechanical system, the electronic system and the software enables over 50 different pneumatic functions to be mapped to just one hardware platform and individually activated via apps. These are just some of the benefits:
- Reduced complexity and therefore engineering and procurement costs as only one hardware platform is needed for all applications
- Reduced spare parts stock and therefore reduced costs, simplified service and maintenance through one hardware platform
- Flexible production and plant modifications. The hardware stays the same while new functions are realised by loading new apps
Ten functions will be available via motion apps when the Festo Motion Terminal goes on sale in Australia. They range from the basic modification of directional control valve functions to energy-efficient motion, and from proportional behaviour to diagnosing leaks. This means that machine and plant manufacturers can now build an entry-level plant with basic functions. This entry-level version can then be equipped with different functions by selecting and installing apps in line with individual requirements for the plant. The range of the apps is also constantly being expanded by Festo, including as a result of dialogue with users. Even apps that are individually tailored to an application can be easily realised.
The Festo Motion Terminal will feature at Auspack next month so be sure to pay a visit to the Festo stand.
Reference: Prepared by Dr Eckhard Roos, Head of Global Industry and Key Account Management for Process Industries at Festo