Festo Didactic will be presenting applications for integrated automation at Booth D07 in Hall 15 and, together with SAP, at Booth D04 in Hall 7 of the Hannover Messe 2014 (7-11 April). Industry 4.0 heralds a new generation of solutions that enable the manufacture of high quality, individualised products at attractive prices. This is made possible using integrated automation technologies and applications: intelligent networks of production plant components, flexible logistics and direct interfaces that facilitate rapid, closed information chains within the system.
The research platform “Transfer Factory” offers companies the technologies and applications of Industry 4.0 today. It demonstrates the production line of tomorrow as a decentrally-controlled intelligent network:
Workpieces maintain a record of their own production history and request the necessary production processes from the machinery. Diagnosis, error and service status messages are generated and communicated by the system, and in turn set other processes in motion. The manufacturers’ own IT systems can also be linked in new ways to the production plant: through the use of open, configurable systems and communication standards, plant and automation technology can be seamlessly linked with process control and job management systems. It is no longer necessary to have a central computer facility linking the order processing system and production plant and duplicate data storage and data inconsistencies become a thing of the past. The production of customised production runs for clients can be achieved more economically and more quickly.
The basis of the Open Integrated Factory is the MPS® Transfer Factory by Festo Didactic. As a teaching and research platform, it is used by businesses in industry and educational facilities to train a broad range of technologies: from plant networking to PLC programming, drive technologies, sensor systems, safety technology, robotics, assembly as well as value chain analysis and optimisation. For Industry 4.0 research and teaching purposes, the system can integrate with all open systems and communication standards such as OPC-AU.
System concept and components
The MPS® Transfer Factory is used by businesses, universities, colleges and vocational training schools around the world as a learning platform for production and automation technology. The individual cells of the Factory can be configured for a wide range of production scenarios. They can be reconfigured in minutes to suit the respective learning situation, making it a convertible factory. The cells in the Transfer Factory can be used individually or in combination without any additional effort thanks to the patented passive workpiece holder routing system, the only solution of its kind on the market.
The double-sided construction of the cells enables different scenarios for group work, with students able to work independently on both sides of each belt section. All the cells in the learning factory are on rollers, which enables them to be freely positioned in the laboratory without tools or pallet trucks. The cells are supplied by a special system cable: rewiring, fitting new tubing or additional installations are not required when changing the layout. This saves valuable training time and the laboratory remains free of additional supply ducts and trip hazards.
The controllers in the MPS® Transfer Factory cells have a modular design. All control components are housed in the cell control cabinets: controllers with Profibus or Profinet networking, ProfiSafe components, and drive components such as frequency converters, contactor controllers and servo controllers. The production line can be operated with and without a master control system.
The exceptional flexibility of an MPS® Transfer Factory system is a product of the basic design of its cells, which is always identical: dimensions, track rollers, control cabinet, conveyor, control console, system cable. A single cell provides two conveyor sections and thus represents the basis for a complete subsystem. The production cell with a branch module opens the door to new layouts: it can also be used as an independent system and be fitted with all functional modules. The robot cells are equipped with everything necessary for industrial robotics training. Completely enclosed and with safety doors, they provide totally safe working conditions. Hot topics such as camera-supported assembly, the use of interchangeable gripper systems, palletising, camera tracking etc. can be dealt with in a practical way using a robot cell. There are practically no limits on how the cells can be combined and the possible layouts.
The cells and functional modules in the MPS® Transfer Factory are equipped with the very latest industrial technology. The Festo Didactic project consultants carry out a competent needs analysis with a view to developing customised solutions for training courses in production and automation technology, robotics, and mechatronics for both businesses and education institutes. Experienced technicians and engineers from Festo design learning factories precisely tailored to the customers’ needs using PLC and robot programming systems, simulation systems, CAD and EPLAN.
Festo Didactic also offers individual training courses in connection with the MPS® Transfer Factory: communication, robotics, simulation, image processing, PLC programming, fieldbus, RFID technology, plant simulation, and troubleshooting.