Pneumatic Control Innovation is Causing a Revolution in Automation

Editor: Gabriele Ilg

“For us at Festo, productivity is the key,” Frank Melzer, member of the board of management at Festo, said in his opening remarks at yesterday's press conference. “Our focus is to increase productivity for our customers worldwide.”

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Eckhard Roos explaining the benefits of Festo's new Motion Terminal at yesterday"s press conference.
Eckhard Roos explaining the benefits of Festo's new Motion Terminal at yesterday"s press conference.

Innovation makes this possible, and Festo averages about 100 patents per year, he boasted. One such innovation being launched at this year's Achema is the SupraSensor, which enables contact-free weighing measurements. The first application of this new sensor technology can be seen at the stand of Waldner Process Systems (Hall 4.0, Stand A46).

Melzer also showed the Bionic Fin Wave, an underwater robotic device with a unique fin drive that mimics the undulating fin movement of, for example, the cuttle fish. Visitors can see the Bionic Fin Wave in action at the Festo stand in Hall 11.0.

Besides productivity, Festo also talks about “revolution” in process automation, as the company is taking pneumatic automation to the next level, explained Eckhard Roos, head of KAM and Industry Segment Management PA. “We solve the contradiction of flexibility versus standardization,” he said.

At Achema, visitors can see the first valve in the world to be controlled with apps. The company's Motion Terminal VTEM catapults pneumatics into the era of Industry 4.0 — with apps that can replace over 50 individual components. The latest developments in piezo technology and software have made it possible.

That means there is a single hardware platform, with all the functionality provided by apps, explains Roos. “This brings digitalization to the field,” he said. “Since the modules are self-adapting, flexibility is built-in.” The Festo Motion Terminal permits fast, as well as powerful motion and leakage diagnostics at much lower costs than current solutions. For example, fewer controllers are required as compared with electrical solutions, since one controller can control up to eight movements with the VTEM. Energy consumption is also reduced, and the required installation space is decreased by up to 65 %.