This is what production engineers have been waiting for: a transport system with format changes at the press of a button. This is now made possible by the Multi-Carrier-System. This freely configurable
transport system solution is a joint development by Festo and Siemens with an unparalleled level of flexibility. The outstanding feature: it can be incorporated into an existing intralogistics system easily and in precise synchronisation with the process and even offers options relevant to Industry 4.0.
The movement of transport carriers within a flexible transport system can be adapted quickly and easily to different formats, sizes and types of product, and even to seasonal requirements. Flexibility in this context means that transport carriers can be freely fed into and out of the Multi-Carrier-System. Linking to an existing intralogistics system couldn't be simpler. Transport carriers can be accelerated, slowed down and positioned freely.
Freely selectable motion profile
The transport carriers can be deployed completely independently of one another. It is also possible to mix different carrier and product configurations within a single system. Application-specific holders and adapters for products on the carriers make the Multi-Carrier-System highly individual. A motion profile can be freely created for each carrier within the Multi-Carrier-System.
The Multi-Carrier-System travels at up to 3 m/s and offers outstanding acceleration of up to 40 m/s² – jerk-free and precisely! It can be started and stopped at any desired position. And it can be freely synchronised with the process. Shorter set-up times, virtually seamless format changes and reduced maintenance costs thanks to lower wear are further advantages of this versatile transport system.
Steps towards Industry 4.0
Automation continues to progress in the direction of Industry 4.0. The Multi-Carrier-System already incorporates options which are relevant for Industry 4.0. These include, for example, the particularly flexible electromechanical design for economic production down to batch sizes of 1, as well as the decentralised sensors and intelligence within the workpiece carriers and drives.
The modular servo controller and the motion controller also fully reflect the concept of Industry 4.0. Even the simulation function is fully prepared for future system optimisation and dimensioning. Program data can be generated even from the simulation. The OPC-UA interface enables open integration into Industry 4.0 host environments.
Integrated control concept
The Multi-Carrier-System complements classic transport solutions – precisely where the process needs this. The other transport routes remain unaffected or can be implemented using a low-cost classic transport system or conveyor belt. Linear motors drive the transport carriers and provide precise positioning for them. The integrated control concept allows control of both transport motions and motion-control functionality as well as the coordination of further machine modules.
Each transport carrier can move completely freely within the Multi-Carrier-System and independently of all other carriers. Carriers can be moved towards each other without the risk of collision and are easy to position. In addition, several transport carriers can be grouped together and moved synchronously at fixed distances.
Reduced need for interfaces
Thanks to the simple, modular basic mechanical system, which consists of linear motors, a base profile and a roller conveyor, customer-specific configurations can be created and precisely matched to individual applications. The Siemens controller allows full integration of the control and motion control functions for the overall system and provides even more flexibility for the Multi-Carrier-System.
In addition to the motion control of the transport system, the controller can also coordinate motion with other servo-driven machine modules such as fillers or cartoners. This considerably reduces the number of interfaces required and allows flexible integration of the complete system by the OEM.
A further practical feature is the facility for integration and transfer-free linkage to an existing intralogistics system between positively-driven sections of the Multi-Carrier-System and freely-movable sections which can be combined individually. The Multi-Carrier-System by Festo and Siemens offers machine builders entirely new dimensions of flexibility – thanks to its modular construction and ease of implementation.
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Festo AG & Co. KG
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