A consistent fit: electric automation

What makes electrical automation from Festo so special? How do two of the experts in this technology from two continents justify this? Tom Worsnopp from Festo USA and Qiming Guo from Festo China discuss how well different requirements for electrical automation technology can be reconciled with Festo's automation platform.

Hello and welcome to our conversation, Mr. Worsnopp and Mr. Guo. The first question for me is: What are the requirements in your respective market?

Worsnopp: In the USA you will find a highly technological market that places very high demands on electrical automation. In addition to the right solutions, human factors should not be underestimated either: great competence and good know-how on the part of the experts are particularly important in order to provide customers with the best possible support in solving their tasks. This service extends far into the operation of the electrical systems.

Guo: When I talk about our market, I think beyond the Chinese market. The requirements that are important to us also apply to many other Asian countries. The majority of our manufacturing customers are looking for solutions with simpler functionalities, usually in combination with pneumatics – of course at a good price and, if possible, from a single source. Designers are often concerned with not being overly dependent on one technology.

How must the electrical automation then be designed?

Guo: We need a clear system architecture with modular and/or decentralized remote IO, like the one offered by CPX-AP. This allows valve terminals to be integrated very well in functional solutions. The design engineer then decides when designing the system whether on the modular remote IO or decentrally on the AP line. As of today, these are the preferred solutions in our market. But our wheels don't stand still either. We are gradually approaching American standards in the future.

Worsnopp: I know this state of affairs well! There are also many companies in our American market that rely on such solutions. More and more, however, many companies are relying on technology that reflects the latest trends. Big players as well as medium-sized companies. On the one hand, the solutions should be really cutting-edge technology – but not only functional, but also in that they are easy to use and can be easily networked in the system. And we manage that at Festo – thanks to intensive development. For me it is very important that we can solve this range of requirements with one automation platform. Everything fits perfectly. Every application has its own mechanical, electrical and intelligent connectivity.

What does that look like?

Guo: Simple! That's the key. Simple products like Simplified Motion Series, with simple functions and very easy handling. However, our customers also demand this simplicity for the engineering: The solutions should be easy to configure, easy to order and ensure easy commissioning. Then our customers are satisfied.

Worsnopp: We have a lot of overlap with our customers. The desires are similar. Our products should also be easy to handle – across the entire value chain, from engineering to purchasing, commissioning and operation. Tools such as the Festo Automation Suite for commissioning or Electric Motion Sizing and the Handling Guide Online for the design of electrical components and systems are very helpful.

What additional requirements do the customers have, e.g. in relation to advice etc.?

Worsnopp: Competence, global service and accessibility, but also individual advice on site or online are key requirements – of course in combination with a strong and consistent portfolio. I think it's no different with you in China, is it?

Guo: Exactly. Of course, production and a good local supply chain are also important – so that the products can be delivered quickly and reliably. However, the price of the solution or system also plays a role for us – the competition is very intense.

Thanks for the talk!

April 2023