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Bulk materials: innovative automation solutions

Innovative automation solutions for bulk handling

Whether you’re a machine builder or operator, whether you work with coarse or fine bulk material, Festo offers innovative automation solutions for your dosing, conveying, storing, mixing and separating processes – all from a single source, individually tailored to your requirements and applications. In addition, you benefit from solutions for digitalization and modular automation. So you can adapt and future-proof your processes for every new development.

Individual automation solutions for your bulk handling applications


Bulk materials dispensing

Sample applications for dosing materials:

  • Screw feeder
  • Pneumatic valves
  • Docking

Better with Festo:
We have the right combination of automation components for you, enabling highly precise dosing. From fully automated butterfly valve units, quarter turn and linear actuators to matching valve manifolds, we offer innovative and individual solutions for your dosing process.


Bulk materials conveyance

Sample applications for conveyed materials:

  • Pneumatic conveying, continuous and batch
  • Dense phase conveying
  • Dilute phase conveying

Better with Festo:
In addition to our automated butterfly valves, integrated quarter turn actuators with sensor boxes, gate valves, control units and our valve manifolds ensure that your conveyor system runs efficiently and smoothly. Compressed air treatment is part of the pneumatic automation concept.


Bulk material storage

Sample applications for material storage:

  • Emptying stations for big bags or sacks
  • Emptying and filling reservoirs and silos
  • Transforming small components

Better with Festo:
Storing, relocating and refilling – the more complex the process structure, the more essential individual automation solutions from Festo are. You can easily implement all the necessary controls for linear cylinders, gate valves, flaps or other actuators using our valve manifold.


Bulk materials mixing

Sample applications for materials mixing:

  • Mixing liquids with bulk materials
  • Coloring granulates
  • Batch/continuous mixers

Better with Festo:
Especially in continuous mixing processes, it’s important to ensure that the materials have a homogeneous structure after they’ve been mixed. But for discontinuous mixing processes as well, components from Festo which are controlled by valve manifolds are a reliable, high-quality automation solution for your systems.


Separating bulk materials

Sample applications for separating materials:

  • Filtering out foreign particles
  • Breaking up products
  • Fractionation
  • Reliable feeding of processing machines

Better with Festo:
With our quarter turn and linear actuators, you can effortlessly automate deflectors, flaps, gate valves and other process valves. In addition, the valve manifold, sensor box and valve positioner enable you to implement the best possible control concept for separating your bulk materials. The filters are cleaned by precisely dosed air jets – sometimes with large volumes of air – opposite the process direction.

What’s better, individual valves or a valve manifold?

With Festo, you can automate your bulk handling processes using one of two concepts: individual valves or valve manifolds. Individual valves are still widespread in today’s markets. Even in many cases where the use of valve manifolds would offer clear advantages:

  • Lower investment costs
  • Compact design
  • Implementation of additional functions such as proportional valves
  • Flexibility due to fieldbus connection, easy integration and expandability
  • Maximum system availability thanks to system diagnostics
  • Reduced overall production and installation costs by up to 40% less

Our white paper presents both solutions – side-by-side in an objective manner (PDF).

Modular automation based on the Lego principle

For bulk handling processes as well, intelligent automation solutions increase the efficiency and the quality of the results of the production system. Festo relies on modularization in accordance with the Lego principle in order to be able to offer solutions of this with the highest possible degrees of flexibility, individuality and maintenance friendliness. That’s what we call modular automation.

Whereas in the past the entire system was centrally controlled by a single process control system, modular automation makes the system virtually scalable, expandable and adaptable by simply integrating autonomous modules into the existing system. By strictly observing and implementing NAMUR recommendation “NE 148”, you also have the assurance of knowing that the complexity and costs of your plant and system will be efficiently reduced.

The most important advantages at a glance:

  • Automated modules work autonomously and in combination
  • Reduced software complexity
  • More streamlined process control system
  • Modules can be standardized
  • Numbering up/down instead of scaling up/down
  • Plug & produce

Read more about modular automation in the white paper (PDF).

Practical AZO example: “Decentralized control for bulk materials handling” (PDF)

Digitalization with the Festo Motion Terminal

By using apps to decouple software and hardware, the Festo Motion Terminal enables numerous new functions that go far beyond today’s possibilities. Where large numbers of components such as valves, pressure sensors and restrictors were required in the past to achieve certain functions, everything is now integrated. Intelligent sensors for open-loop and closed-loop control, diagnostics and self-learning tasks eliminate the need for additional components. The respective function can be changed by simply pressing a button, because all functions are stored locally on apps. This also makes it possible for you to run a large number of different functions on your system via the Festo Motion Terminal.

The most important advantages at a glance:

  • Self-monitoring and predictive maintenance
  • Improved energy efficiency (TCO) (TCO)
  • Lower lifecycle costs
  • Reduced idle time
  • Further digitalization options (VTEM, dashboards etc.)

Find out more about the benefits of digitalization.

Sample app – “Presetting travel time”: precisely set system cycle times or specify how much time the valves require for switching.

Sample app – “Presetting travel time”: precisely set system cycle times or specify how much time the valves require for switching.

Sample app – “ECO drive”: with the help of this app you can intelligently save compressed air, which pays off in particular for systems which run continuously.