Adaptability, flexibility and the use of the OPC UA
communication standard are some key Industry 4.0 features that are typical of
the gripper units used for engine block assembly in the automotive industry.
Festo is using these features to respond to the major issues that Industry 4.0
presents, such as the dynamic assembly processes in systems that undergo many
When a gripper unit is being used for engine block assembly, it is clear just how flexible and efficient a system it is: the engine block, seal, pistons, cylinder head and screws are gripped in parallel and assembled in two steps. The secret lies in the parallel method of engine block assembly, which is faster and less expensive than sequential manufacturing – and can be carried out with the option of servo-pneumatic or electric axes such as the toothed belt axis ELGA-TB-KF or the electric cylinder ESBF-BS.
Adaptive and flexible
Thanks to decentralised intelligence on the valve terminal CPX/VTSA, the space-saving parallel grippers HGPL-B together with vacuum grippers and a vacuum generator OVEM, are flexible, adaptive and versatile when carrying out different gripping processes. The sturdy valve terminal VTSA with a high flow rate, and the automation platform CPX, create a strong partnership as clever diagnostics concepts with CPX decrease idle time, increase availability and reduce operating costs.
The gripper unit can be adapted to suit the user's own individual requirements. Thanks to its intelligent design, it is faster than conventional gripper systems – and includes complete, integrated sensor technology and mechanics as well as direct signal processing. A CODESYS controller CPX-CEC in IP65/67 provides a compact and on-site control system for the gripper unit. As a result, the gripper unit has no need for a control cabinet at all and valuable space can be saved even during the planning process. All fieldbuses and Industrial Ethernet, as well as the OPC UA Industry 4.0 standard, are available as interfaces.
Generating more data is one issue, but interpreting it and arriving at the right conclusions is another. Employees in industry as well as students at vocational colleges and universities will therefore need to be trained specifically for Industry 4.0.
An understanding of fully automated digital production technologies and knowledge of the layout and programming of digital system networks is crucial. Otherwise, tomorrow's employees will not be able to operate and optimise systems or develop flexible, intelligent components, and thus make a contribution to the necessary versatility and adaptability of the systems.
Festo Didactic offers a cyber-physical learning and research platform in the form of the CP Factory. This platform models the stations in a real production plant. Learning content includes, for example, systems programming, networking, energy efficiency and data management. The platform also enables flexible software solutions to be developed and tested so that they can be used in production.
Festo AG is a global player and an independent family-owned company with its headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 200 industries. Our products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 18.700 employees in 61 companies worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €2.64 billion in 2015. Each year around 8 % of this turnover is invested in research and development. In this learning company, 1.5 % of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Yet training services are not only provided for Festo's own staff – Festo Didactic SE also supplies basic and further training programmes in the field of automation technology for customers, students and trainees.
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