Pneumatics is intrinsically a user-friendly technology — and it is set to become even more straightforward, versatile and flexible as the brand new Festo Motion Terminal Versatile Time Domain Electro-Magnetics (VTEM) is bringing pneumatics into the era of Industry 4.0. That’s with apps that can replace more than 50 individual components thanks to developments in piezo technology and software.
Just as the smartphone turned the mobile communication market on its head a decade ago, so too the Festo Motion Terminal will turn automation technology on its head, so too the Festo Motion Terminal is set to revolutionize automation technology. The new method of function integration – combined with software apps – will simplify the entire value chain, since only one piece of hardware will be required. Beneath the somewhat unassuming exterior and classic Festo product design lies technical refinement based on state-of-the-art information technology.
True Industry 4.0 with Motion Terminal
Piezo technology, integrated stroke and pressure sensors together with control via motion apps will enable new machinery and plant manufacturers. The fusion of mechanics, electronics and software featured in the Festo Motion Terminal will transform a pneumatic product into a true Industry 4.0 component, and enable flexible production. Changes in pneumatic functions and adaptations to new formats are controlled via apps by changing parameters.
The integrated intelligent sensors for control, diagnostics and self-learning tasks will eliminate the need for additional components.
Motion apps — and ability to assign functions via software
When the VTEM is launched, ten functions will be available via motion apps …
… from basic modification of the directional control valve functions to energy-efficient motion, and from proportional behavior to different motion profiles. What makes this so special is that the same valve hardware is used for everything. Thanks to the fast activation of new functions via apps, machine developers can create a basic machine type and then select the relevant apps to equip it with different functions and features as per the customer requirements, Further apps are in development.
Assigning functions via software has the added benefit of protecting against tampering and protecting know-how, since it is not possible to tell from the outside which functions the valves are executing. Maintenance is also simplified, as long lists of spare and wearing parts will be a thing of the past.
Intrinsic energy efficiency thanks to software
The specially developed motion apps as well as the leakage diagnostic function save energy during operation. However, the energy-saving piezo technology for the proportional valve’s preliminary stage also plays its part.
The air consumption can be flexibly adapted to the requirements using the apps “Selectable pressure level” and ECO drive. With the selectable pressure level, a digitally selected pressure can limit the pneumatic force to the level needed for the application. ECO drive reduces the compressed air consumption to the needed minimum level, provided no pressing and holding forces are needed in the end position. This enables savings of up to 70% compared with standard operation, depending on the application.
Lower costs and complexity
The Festo Motion Terminal permits both fast and powerful movements and leakage diagnostics at much lower costs than current setups. For example, fewer controllers are needed compared with electrical setups since one controller can control up to eight movements with the VTEM. Energy consumption is also reduced, and the needed installation space is decreased by up to 65%.
In a comparison of the technology, setups with the Festo Motion Terminal offer truly cost-effective alternatives for eight applications. Instead of a valve, a pressure regulator and a pressure sensor, in other words three components, only one single technology – a valve – is needed.
For more information on the international launch coming in 2017/2018, visit www.festo.com/motionterminal.