Technologies used in the Ulmer Automation application

Festo PositioningDrives engineering software helps with appropriate component selection and sizing to optimize mechanical drive and transmission components and motors and to prevent duplication of safety factors, reducing energy costs by as much as 70%.


High rigidity and low moving mass: The pyramid-shaped, enclosed design makes the robot highly dynamic. At the same time, the handling unit is more accessible and allows faster production. Courtesy: FestoPositioningDrives engineering software from Festo helps with appropriate component selection and sizing to optimize mechanical drive and transmission components and motors and to prevent duplication of safety factors, reducing energy costs by as much as 70%. Supplied ready-to-install and fully pretested, lightweight handling systems such as the high-speed handling Tripod EXPT from Festo are delivered directly to users’ applications. The low weight of the Tripod, with its rod kinematics made up of standard electromechanical components and ultralight carbon fiber rods, ensures the efficient use of drive technology. In the case of the H-gantry, which offers the most dynamic motion of any gantry design, stationary motors for the X- and Y-axes ensure lower moving masses. In control technology systems, for example, the double motor controller CMMD-AS with its coupled intermediate circuits exploits braking energy for recovery purposes.

One million relays a year are produced reliably in different shifts using the Delta robot. Courtesy: Festo“The Festo Tripod robot design needs less space and design time than a handling gantry and is also faster than a SCARA” (selective compliant articulated robot arm), according to Gerd Ulmer, general manager of G. Ulmer Automation GmbH, discussing advantages of the new handling system. He has installed two Tripod handling units on an assembly machine for the automotive components supplier.

“It is also thanks to the Tripod that we have been able to produce around one million relays a year in three variants, working in shifts,” reports the system builder. One of the benefits of the handling system is its flexibility; the system is easy to program using the Festo Configuration Tool (FCT) in combination with the programming language Festo Teach Language (FTL).

Precise control: The robotic controller CMXR positions tools and grippers in three dimensions and forms the basis for the ready-to-install handling system Tripod. Courtesy: FestoFesto’s experts make use of the company’s entire range of more than 30,000 products to select the best drive solution—servopneumatic, electric, or pneumatic—on a technology-neutral basis, working on the principle of “Energy efficiency times mechatronics equals success."

The Tripod is actuated by the robotic controller CMXR, which is able to position tools and grippers in three dimensions. The controller can be used, for example, to link in vision systems such as the intelligent vision system SBO..-Q and thus also handle moving objects.

Also read: Efficiency needs a system approach, depends on individual applications

- Christopher Haug is with Festo. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering.

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