Festo showcases at Assembly 2017, October 24-26, in Rosemont, Ill., the inner workings of its VTEM Motion Terminal, a revolutionary cyber-physical system (CPS). Ten downloadable apps are available with each unique combination of apps changing the motion functionality and giving OEMs and end users a new flexible motion control platform. Another 40 apps are planned. (Festo Assembly 2017 Booth # 931)
The VTEM Motion Terminal conforms to the National Science Foundation’s definition of CPS as engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. The foundation envisions, “Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems – just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information. New smart CPS will drive innovation and competition in sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation, building design and automation, healthcare, and manufacturing.”
Motion apps seamlessly integrate computational algorithms with digital valves
Thanks to motion apps, one digitally controlled VTEM valve within the motion terminal can replicate traditional valve functions, including 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 or 4/3-way as well as proportional technology and servo-pneumatic functions. But that is not all. One flexible valve can also include apps that preset travel time, reduce costs by operating actuators with minimum pressure, and detect leaks for faster fault detection and less downtime. Since changing parameters in a CPS such as the Festo Motion Terminal doesn’t necessarily require change the hardware, adaptation costs are kept within tight margins, even when changes are made after installation. VTEM Motion Terminals are sold in either four-valve or eight-valve platforms. Product shipments will commence December 2017.
Easier engineering with standardized platform concepts
With a single valve slice potentially providing the functionality of up to 50 individual components, a CPS like the Festo Motion Terminal opens the door to standardized platform concepts for systems and system modules. Standardization considerably reduces hardware costs all along the supply chain as the number of different components that must be defined and stocked as spare parts by the machine builder or end user is lower. For example, valve variety is reduced to one and pressure sensor and flow control valves are integrated. By focusing on a flexible CPS platform right from the start, even the planning stage, with the search for suitable products and suppliers, can be shortened.
Getting up and running quickly
Design is one of the biggest costs in machine and system building, accounting for approximately 25 to 30 percent of total cost. A CPS such as the Festo Motion Terminal enables significant time gains and savings compared with a conventional valve terminal platform. In some cases, the time saved compared with designing and parameterizing a modular valve terminal and additional individual components is up to 70 percent. While a solution with modular valve terminals requires several individual steps, a solution with CPS moves the organization to its goal faster. The adaptations are implemented digitally on the product itself, so there is no need to reconfigure the valve terminal, download and create the CAD model, or adapt the hole pattern and assembly drawing, including a parts list. Designers will find the creation of electrical circuit diagrams, the documentation including spare and wearing parts lists, and the approval process speeded up.
Lower costs for data management, logistics, and warehousing
With many fewer components, CPS minimizes the process steps required for logistics and warehousing and reduces the cost of data management and maintenance. The Festo Motion Terminal integrates new functions simply by purchasing the relevant motion app licenses.
Greater reliability and reduced effort due to standardization
Reducing system complexity is becoming more and more important given that human error is increasingly being identified as the cause of system failures. Solutions with intelligent function integration and fewer interfaces are therefore ideal for achieving maximum efficiency. This reduces assembly work as well as possible errors and any queries that may arise. Having just one standardized component optimizes process
sequences for a wide range of functions.
Easier replication of pneumatic systems
Coordinating individual process steps, such as setting the travel speeds of cylinders, is often a time-intensive process in conventional mechatronic systems. CPS solutions generally do not involve complex manual setting processes for components that may sometimes be hard to reach, and they are also self-regulating and self-optimizing in terms of energy consumption. These are clear benefits for machine builders. The travel speed of each individual cylinder can be defined with just a few clicks via the app's parameter records; this also rules out tampering. The app saves between three and four minutes of setting time per flow control valve. Looking at the annual production of a series machine builder, the cumulative time savings can be substantial. Another big advantage is that all system configurations are completely identical.
Configuration and parameterization of complex solutions
Parameterization should be as fast as possible. Up until now, if a design engineer wanted to precisely and quickly control the pressure to compensate for a pressure drop caused by friction in the compressed air line, he or she needed to determine the parameters empirically, i.e. a higher setpoint value and the time that the pressure stays at this value before it drops back down again to the target value. Using the sensor intelligence and software modules in cyber-physical systems these tasks are unnecessary. The Festo Motion Terminal has a model-based proportional pressure regulation app for this process. The app can also actively and autonomously respond to changing parameters, such as fluctuations in input pressure.
Combining maximum productivity with energy efficiency
CPS make system operation productive, energy efficient, and cost-effective. Reconfiguration and adjustments are carried out using software. Diagnostics and intelligent apps prevent stoppages, production errors, and contribute to a fast return on investment.
Shorter setup times and adjustment at the touch of a button
Format changeovers usually involve changing components such as grippers. This in turn involves adapting pressures or flow rates and travel speeds or entire functions. The Festo Motion Terminal eliminates many manual procedures – and sources of error. Reconfiguration and adjustments are done via the app or automatically via the PLC, which means that the performance and/or processes of all machines during format changes or in series machines can be improved at the touch of a button.
Integrated knowledge protection with apps
Function configuration via apps will stop unauthorized parties from analyzing and identifying future functionalities and system designs.
In terms of their basic structure, CPS are mechatronic systems. In addition, they also have integrated smart sensors and greater software intelligence. One important application for CPS is to determine external conditions – for example compressed air leakage – without the need for additional sensors, and then sharing this information with other systems.
At Assembly 2017, Festo will also display a full complement of pneumatic and electric motion solutions for the assembly, including safety valves, grippers, actuators, drives, controllers, and IO-Link enabled devices. Don’t miss the Festo Booth at Assembly 2017 # 931. Visit a new section on the Festo website devoted to digital pneumatics.
Festo is a leading manufacturer of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components, and controls for process and industrial automation. For more than 40 years, Festo Corporation has continuously elevated the state of manufacturing with innovations and optimized motion control solutions that deliver higher performing, more profitable automated manufacturing and processing equipment.
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