Hannover Messe: Festo robotics, valves, motion control, software
Festo debut a wide range of products and presented their growth at the 2011 Hannover Fair, earlier this month. Here are some Festo’s 2011 highlights (PDF):
Finding inspiration in nature
What do the herring gull and the elephant’s trunk have to do with automation technology? Festo looked towards nature to answer some long-standing questions but also to influence their automation technology design. With SmartBird, engineers from Festo have decoded the flight of birds, thus accomplishing a further breakthrough in automation technology. Just as with the Bionic Handling Assistant – which in 2010 received the German Future Prize, the highest award in the field of technology – and with the learning system Robotino XT and the Bionic Tripod 3.0, Festo is focusing this year on energy efficiency and lightweight construction. Festo is providing fresh impulse not only in factory automation, but also in process automation: OptoFluidic paves the way for efficient analysis and diagnostic processes that allow continuous non-destructive analysis of fluids.
Mastering the fundamentals of electrical engineering
Industrial mechanics, electricians and mechatronics experts all share one aspect of vocational training: they must master the fundamentals of electrical engineering. At the 2011 Hanover Trade Fair, Festo Didactic presented the latest educational trends and learning systems such as the TP 1011 electrical engineering training unit, the recipient of the iF Product Design Award 2011. These systems provide opportunities for efficient industry-oriented training at companies and universities. Simulation games such as the Synchro Game from the Training and Consulting sector expressed how processes in production or administration can be improved, thus bringing about savings in terms of costs, time and energy. Targeted seminars on the topic of Energy Saving sensitized the market in terms of cost and energy efficiency.
Products of Note
- The Profisafe module for the CPX terminal, the valve terminals VTSA and VTSA-F with control block VOFA for reversing the cylinder movement and protection against unexpected start-up as well as ready-to-install safety system solutions are just some of Festo’s safety highlights.
- The electric toothed belt axis ELGG features two slides synchronized by a single toothed belt and powered by a single motor. The axis can generally be used for movements in opposite directions.
- The pneumatic proportional media valve VZQA from Festo offers advantages over flap valves or ball valves: free product flow, low weight and low energy consumption. It also meters flow rates quickly and very precisely in conjunction with proportional pressure regulators VPPM and the modular electrical terminal CPX.
- FluidDraw Professional software enables planners and developers to draw integrated circuit plans quickly and cost-effectively. The intelligent software solution permits user-friendly creation of clear structures, even with complex systems, and now also supports electrical circuit diagrams.
Strong market standing in Europe and Germany – coupled with its international alignment with the boom regions of Asia and America – helped Festo AG post record sales in its fiscal year 2010. Global sales climbed 37% to $2.56 billion (prior year: $1.85 billion). In Europe – traditionally Festo’s largest market – the company raised sales by 31%. Asia grew by 75%, North and South America by 45%. On the domestic German market, sales began modestly but then climbed rapidly to 33% for the year as a whole. In Festo’s new business fields, Process Automation posted sales growth of 25% while Electric Drives enjoyed growth in excess of 90%.
In addition to its European activities, Festo has also been realigning its overseas business since 2010 in order to fully exploit growth opportunities in newly allocated global markets. As a family-owned company, Festo aims to strengthen its financial independence and align its global supply chain in such a way that it can react even more swiftly and flexibly in future to highly volatile international markets. The Electric Drives and Process Automation divisions are to be expanded further, together with industry-relevant training and consulting, in order to provide a full range of products and services as well as one-stop-shopping solutions from Factory to Process Automation. Global headcount rose to 14,600 in 2010 (prior year: 13,500), of which 6,800 people (prior year: 6,600) were employed in Germany and 7,800 (prior year: 6,900) abroad. The company invested strongly in education and training for its employees in 2010, as well as in future-oriented technologies. Spending on new product development in Germany amounted to 9.5% of sales. At Hanover 2011, presented 66 new products and numerous solutions for safe, intelligent and energy-efficient green production under the heading “Focus on Efficiency” – from Mechatronic Motion Solutions to Bionics. For its fiscal year 2011, the Management Board expects slower macroeconomic growth, but a double-digit increase in Festo’s global sales of well over 10%.
– Compiled and edited by Gust Gianos, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com