Five advances in motion control, communications, design to ease automation use

New products and productivity tools streamline design, ordering, application and use of Festo automation products, as described prior to Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

By Mark T. Hoske August 28, 2023
Courtesy: Festo

 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn what automation advances help users of motion controls design, implement and use products more effectively.
  • Understand new automation products adding efficiency include distributed I/O, servo drives that communicate in four Ethernet protocols, electric motion sizing software, 3D configuration software and handling guide software.

Motion control insights

  • Automation advances can help users of motion controls design, implement and use products more effectively.
  • New automation products include distributed I/O, servo drives that communicate in four Ethernet protocols, electric motion sizing software, 3D configuration software and handling guide software.

Distributed input/output (I/O) systems for electric and pneumatic motion, multi-protocol servo drives, electric motion sizing online software, a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and an online handling guide are helping machine builders and other designers of automation systems be more productive and efficient, according to Festo’s announcements prior to Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023, Sept. 11-13. Festo is a provider of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components, and controls for process and industrial automation. Advances expected to be shown and discussed at the event include:

  • Festo CPX-AP-A distributed I/O for electric and pneumatic motion additions mean “no other supplier in N.A. compares to the breadth of Festo motion solutions and support.”

  • A new Festo family of multi-protocol servo drives provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with productivity and cost advantages with less inventory, by preventing supply chain issues and working smarter with this family of servo drives.

  • Festo’s new Electric Motion Sizing Online Tool enables quick selection of servo drives: Users receive a choice of dimensioned options for electric and electromechanical drive components in minutes, the company said.

  • An online Festo 3D CAD Configurator for Actuators and Accessories is ready for download at the end of configurator’s streamlined design process.

  • The Handling Guide Online is revolutionizing engineering for ready-to-install solutions eliminates interruptions in the value chain because the new configuration and ordering platform is integrated into the online product catalogue from Festo.

Distributed I/O system for electric and pneumatic motion

With the recent introduction of its distributed I/O solution CPX-AP-A, along with its established CPX-AP-I decentralized I/O, Festo offers a range of electric and pneumatic automation products to improve performance, flexibility, cost savings and engineering productivity. AP stands for Automation Platform. This backplane-based remote I/O system has been in development for a decade.

“The Festo AP backplane communications platform, that provides a central communication and data transfer I/O interface, is a combination of everything that we’ve learned over the past 25 years of doing electric and pneumatic linear automation solutions,” said Tim Sharkey, director of electric automation, Festo North America. “AP backplane communications brings together enormous functionality and creates a higher level of integration among our devices than we’ve ever had.”

Eric Rice (left) and Tom Worsnopp, both product market managers – electric automation for Festo, explain to Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering content manager (right), benefits of recent Festo product introductions to make motion design, implementation and use easier. Courtesy: Festo online meeting with Control Engineering via Microsoft Teams

Eric Rice (left) and Tom Worsnopp, both product market managers – electric automation for Festo, explain to Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering content manager (right), benefits of recent Festo product introductions to make motion design, implementation and use easier. Courtesy: Festo online meeting with Control Engineering via Microsoft Teams

CPX-AP-A is the new line of distributed I/O where modules are attached within a terminal. CPX-AP-I is Festo’s decentralized I/O where modules are connected via cable at distances of up to 50m (164 feet) between modules. AP modules are IP65/67 rated and can be located in cabinets, in clusters around the cell, individually placed and separated at great distances. Every AP module features a high-performance real-time backplane transmission rate of 200 Mbps full duplex.

AP provides topology flexibility. It gives machine builders freedom to optimize the machine or cell by adding I/O where they need it, and in ways that will boost performance and diagnostics capabilities. The AP ecosystem makes it efficient for end-user customers to add functionality as needs arise.

Physically attached on-terminal or connected via cable, all components, such as PLCs, valves, motors, drives, and I/O appear to the programmer to be incorporated within one smart terminal under one IP address. Having the entire distributed and decentralized I/O topology under one IP address reduces hardware and installation costs while lowering system complexity. Since many PLCs come with a limited number of IP addresses, this product creates more capability per PLC.

With all components appearing to the programmer as resident in one smart terminal, addressing becomes straightforward, programming time shrinks and engineering productivity rises. As the functionality and capabilities of the system climb with the addition of modules, the overall distributed and decentralized I/O system becomes simpler to create and maintain.

Festo’s multi-year product roadmap calls for continued rollout of AP-based PLCs, valves, linear actuators, motors and drives. For OEMs and end-user customers wanting extended AP capabilities today, Festo support teams can make much of that happen.

“There are many companies with distributed I/O,” observed Eric Rice, product market manager, Festo North America. “On the other side there are suppliers for electric or pneumatic linear motion. Not one North American supplier on either side of that line comes close to offering the same level of performance, capabilities and support that stems from the integration of the AP platform with the breadth of Festo motion solutions.”

The Festo Automation Platform (AP) provides topology flexibility. All the distributed and decentralized I/O are under one IP address. Courtesy: Festo

The Festo Automation Platform (AP) provides topology flexibility. All the distributed and decentralized I/O are under one IP address. Courtesy: Festo

Fewer part numbers as servo drives integrate multiple communications protocols

With the new Festo CMMT MP family of multi-protocol servo drives, every drive in this family is configurable to communicate with EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet, and Modbus TCP.

Using this single-family multi-protocol strategy, machine builders supporting multiple communications protocols can reduce servo-drive inventories. A unified drive family improves engineering productivity through familiarity in one platform, simplifies tech support and gains a robust supply chain for competitively priced servo drives. The change reduces Festo part numbers from 24 to 8.

To choose the protocol for a CMMT multi-protocol servo drive, engineers log into the drive using the free online productivity tool Festo Automation Suite, select the protocol of choice from a drop-down menu, and configure the unit.

The Festo CMMT family includes CMMT-ST-MP compact DC servo drives. The drives are rated up to 300 W and require a small, high quality available drive. CMMT-AS-MP compact AC servo drives are rated up to 6kW. The 9kW and 12kW CMMT-AS-MP units are slated for sale later this year.

The introduction updates electronics of CMMT units with the latest components that are easier to obtain than older ones and helps to eliminate supply chain woes, as well as improving performance and reliability. Regarding supply chain, Festo’s reduction to eight CMMT part numbers strengthened the company’s ability to support servo drives customers – fewer parts to inventory and fewer drives to manufacture and support. Machine builders welcome this move as servo drives across the industry remain in short supply and have long lead times, Festo said.

With the Festo free online productivity tools, Electric Motion Sizing and Handling Guide Online, machine builders can specify linear and multi-axis systems in minutes not hours. The Festo Automation Suite free online tool shortens commissioning time. It also incorporates the CODESYS integrated development environment (IDE) for programming Festo modular controllers CPX-E-CEC. CMMT MP drives are backwards compatible with Classic CMMT servo drives, including identical cabling and mounting.

The Festo CMMT MP family of multi-protocol servo drives are configurable as EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet and Modbus TCP. Courtesy: Festo

The Festo CMMT MP family of multi-protocol servo drives are configurable as EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet and Modbus TCP. Courtesy: Festo

Electric motion sizing tool online enables faster servo drive selection

Festo introduced the latest online productivity tool – Electric Motion Sizing – for error-free sizing of linear and rotary electromechanical systems. Electric Motion Sizing, available in April, improves project efficiency by slashing the engineering time required for identifying and specifying harmonized electric motion systems. Multi-axis handling systems can be specified with Electric Motion Sizing’s sister productivity tool Handling Guide Online, which offers similar benefits (see below).

Festo developed Electric Motion Sizing because it recognizes machine builders need solutions that help bring products to market faster with less engineering and purchasing overhead. Electric Motion Sizing compresses hours of work to a few minutes.

Users input key parameters, such as mass, stroke/travel distance and cycle time. Electric Motion Sizing performs the complex mass moment of inertia calculations. The tool identifies in real time the combination of components most effective for the application’s parameters. Up to five optimum solutions and motor curves are presented for consideration. The specified components work together, so interoperability is not a concern. Designers can fine tune the selected system by choosing encoder type, brake, and mechanics.

3D CAD configuration software for actuators, accessories

Festo enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to lower engineering and purchasing overhead and bring machines to market faster with the company’s new online 3D CAD Configurator for pneumatic actuators and associated accessories, such as fittings, lengths of tubing and sensors. The tool is said to be intuitive and easy to use and became available in January. Once the actuator is selected from a choice of either cylinder, drive with guides or semi rotary drive, the engineer points and clicks on accessory hot spots to identify and select each accessory. The configurator ensures compatibility between actuator and accessory and eliminates any possible error in type code.

Knowing customers rely on assured component availability, this new productivity tool focuses on the in-stock and quick-ship core range of Festo pneumatic actuators and accessories. The core range in the configurator’s database includes the company’s most widely-applied pneumatic components and some of its most innovative ones.

Actuators and accessories are shipped in a one-bag kit with one Festo ID number covering all components in the kit. A unique identification number makes for fast and easy reordering. Kits are shipped to North American customers from the Festo Global Production Center in Mason, Ohio. The unique part number is recognized by Festo to ensure replacement kit availability wherever the machine is located.

The tool supports the most common CAD formats for OEM workflow compatibility. The CAD file of the actuator/accessory assembly simplifies the design process by eliminating individual CAD files for the various components. The tool also consolidates and simplifies parts lists.

Once the actuator and accessories are selected, ordering is seamless as the tool links directly to the Festo online shop, which provides price, shipping information and bill of materials.

Parts flowing from the screen intends to represent how Festo Electric Motion Sizing software delivers error-free sizing of linear and rotary electromechanical systems in minutes and links to commissioning software. Courtesy: Festo

Parts flowing from the screen intends to represent how Festo Electric Motion Sizing software delivers error-free sizing of linear and rotary electromechanical systems in minutes and links to commissioning software. Courtesy: Festo

Handling guide speeds ordering

Technicians and engineers can arrive at the right ready-to-install handling system at a record-breaking tempo in the areas of project engineering and planning. They can order new system products and components via the new Festo Handling Guide Online, without interruptions in the value chain. The new configuration and ordering platform is integrated into the Festo online product catalogue.

Manufacturers of complex highly automated assembly lines, such as those used in Festo’s Scharnhausen Technology Plant to assemble VUVG valves, can reduce time to market by using the software. These assembly lines incorporate up to 20 handling gantries. The costs of engineering carried out with traditional methods used to be relatively high, but is less with Festo’s Handling Guide Online.

Arrive at the correct, standard handling system including CAD model with just a few clicks in only 20 minutes. Individual steps including request for quote (RFQ), layout, quotation and CAD design. Previously, 10 to 15 days were required; time is 20 minutes by using the Handling Guide Online. Machine and equipment manufacturers are thus able to reduce time-to-market by the revolutionary amount of roughly 70% with regard to integrated handling systems.

With the new tool, design engineers gain time and space for creativity in planning and project engineering processes for their companies’ core areas of technological expertise. Sifting through catalogues, tedious supplier RFQs, ordering individual components and complex individual constructions for handling tasks are no longer needed. A large portion of the engineering costs are eliminated and detailed product knowledge is unnecessary. Intuitive software with structured data querying ensures reliable selection of the right components from the modular handling system. Direct querying of net prices provides for planning security.

Parts flowing from the screen intends to represent how Festo Electric Motion Sizing software delivers error-free sizing of linear and rotary electromechanical systems in minutes and links to commissioning software. Courtesy: Festo

Parts flowing from the screen intends to represent how Festo Electric Motion Sizing software delivers error-free sizing of linear and rotary electromechanical systems in minutes and links to commissioning software. Courtesy: Festo

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Pneumatic motion control, electric motion control

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Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.