Sustainability in automation

Automation solutions enable you to produce faster, more flexibly and more economically – but they also consume a lot of energy. Whether for the generation of compressed air in pneumatic systems or for the operation of electrical components. We support you in making your automation as energy-efficient and CO₂-neutral as possible: for example, with the MSE6 energy efficiency modules or our TÜV-certified Energy Saving Services. Savings potential of up to 60% can even be achieved. Do something good for your company and our environment. Here, we show you how to do it.

Quadruple sustainability

Festo has been pushing the issue of energy efficiency in all areas for decades – in Festo itself, through research projects, in cross-industry committees and with a range of solutions geared towards sustainability.

For more sustainability in automation, we support you in four core areas: our products & solutions have the greatest impact on your energy balance and the protection of our climate. Our portfolio is sustainable in production, operation and at the end of a long use phase. We support you with digital tools for the engineering of energy-efficient systems. With our services, you can exploit savings potential in your compressed air system, and our basic and further training offering provides your current and future specialists with the knowledge for sustainable actions. Improve your energy efficiency and productivity with us. We are your partner on the way to CO2-neutral production.

Sustainable operation products

Air preparation combination unit

Air preparation combination unit MSE6-C2M

Regulation, shutoff, measurement: full control over the compressed air supply. The MSE6-C2M monitors consumption, shuts off compressed air at times when production is inactive, and ensures a soft restart because the pressure does not fall below a defined level.

Air preparation combination unit

Air preparation combination unit MSE6-E2M

MSE6-E2M constantly monitors the compressed air consumption, blocks the compressed air in production-free times after a defined waiting period and reduces the system pressure to 0 bar. It can be integrated directly into PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherCAT or Ethernet/IP via fieldbus.

Air preparation combination unit

Air preparation combination unit MSE6-D2M

Save energy in compressed air systems: the MSE6-D2M will do it for you automatically! MSE6-D2M monitors consumption, shuts off compressed air at times when production is inactive, and reduces the pressure to 0 bar. For a second compressed air line, you can connect it to the new MSE6-C2M or to a CPX …

Air flow sensor

Air flow sensor SFAM

Always keeping an eye on your compressed air consumption: SFAM provides information on flow rate and air consumption – as a stand-alone device or in combination with a service unit from the MS series. Excessive air consumption is often an indicator of potential savings.

Regulator plate for MPA-S

Regulator plate for MPA-S

Save up to 22% energy: the working pressure for individual cylinders can be controlled directly on the valve terminal via the pressure control plate (vertical stacking). Check for which automation tasks you can reduce the pressure level.

Motion Terminal

Motion Terminal VTEM

Digitized pneumatics: Festo‘s Motion Terminal VTEM controls consumption depending on the application with the help of apps. And piezo valves reduce energy requirements for pilot control by up to 70%.

Linear actuator, metric

Linear actuator, metric DGO

Exclude leakage losses: the linear drive has magnetic power transmission without a mechanical connection. This means that the cylinder chamber is hermetically sealed against the external rotor.

Linear actuator

Linear actuator DGC

Systematically reduce compressed air consumption: the patented sealing band in the sealing system of the rodless actuator is virtually leak-free. This advantage is particularly noticeable with long strokes.

Vacuum generator

Vacuum generator OVEM

Up to 60% less energy consumption: the intelligent vacuum generator OVEM ensures a safe stop and avoids permanent air consumption by means of an air-saving circuit. It monitors the vacuum pressure and generates vacuum only when needed.

Engineering, energy efficiency

Your applications work most efficiently when they are tailored exactly to your individual requirements. You create the basis for saving energy sustainably by selecting the right technology and optimally dimensioned components. Take advantage of our numerous engineering tools that make your life easier.

Pneumatic or electric – what is more efficient?

Sustainability in automation starts from the design of your system. By deciding on the right drive technology, you can follow the most energy-efficient course over the entire operating time. Criteria like dynamic response, force, control characteristics, load stiffness and, of course, economic efficiency always play an important role in the selection. An appropriate combination of both technologies is, in many cases, the best solution.

Energy-efficient handling system

Electrics – energy-efficient for dynamic movements
Electric automation technology offers energy-efficient solutions for highly dynamic, linear or rotary multi-axis movements in flexible configurations – very precisely and with great force.

Pneumatics – energy-efficient holding, clamping and tensioning applications
This low-cost and low-maintenance technology permits energy-efficient movement between two end positions, for example in holding, tensioning, clamping and pressing applications. Simple and robust pneumatics can be found in nearly all automation technology segments.

Servo-pneumatics – energy-efficient with large loads
Servo-pneumatics is an energy efficient and attractively priced technology if you need to position heavy loads ranging from 15 kg to 300 kg. Drive packages based on this technology are characterized by fast switching from position control to force control and gentle travel to positions.

Additional help with technology selection is available in the Automation Guide (PDF)

Or read out white paper "Pneumatic or electric (PDF)"

Which CO2 values and TCO does your application have?

CO2 TCO tool from Festo

Before you select a technology for your system, you should know how high the CO2 consumption will be in the operating phase, and what total cost of ownership (TCO) you can expect in the future.

With our CO2 & TCO Guide, you can compare electric and pneumatic actuators from our product portfolio. The tool clearly displays the energy consumption, CO2emission, the acquisition costs and the total cost of ownership; it thus offers you a valuable decision-making tool based on the most important factors.

Start CO2 & TCO Guide

Finds the right product quickly and easily

Engineering on the laptop

Intelligent engineering focuses on a perfectly adapted sizing of components and selection of the optimal control concept.

Our digital engineering tools facilitate the energy-efficient design of your systems. With the demand-oriented sizing of pneumatic drives, up to 40% of the air consumption of an application can be saved, for example. Evaluation tables, cost calculators and simulation software help you make the right decisions right from the start and to optimize the systems for your specific applications.

To the overview of engineering tools

Sustainability in basic and further training

Energy efficiency and sustainability start in your employees' heads. Festo Didactic is a leading global specialist in technical education. We provide today's and tomorrow's professionals with the awareness and skills necessary to discover and consistently exploit savings potential in their work – from the design of your systems to their everyday operation.

Top tips for greater energy efficiency

There are many starting points for significantly increasing the energy efficiency and thus also the productivity of your systems. From holistic planning of new systems to simple measures during operation. With the following energy-saving tips for pneumatic and electric automation solutions, you will take a large step towards the goal of CO2-neutral production.

Selection of the right components

Selection of the right components icon

Measures for energy efficiency start with planning. A carefully deliberated selection of the actuator type, which is best suited for the application, is decisive. Single-acting cylinders or a pressure-reduced return stroke can noticeably decrease compressed air consumption. Use pressure regulating plates and pressure regulators. For long standstill times, servo/stepper motors with holding brake are recommended, for example.

Festo engineering tools help you to select the right product for your application.

Select the size as needed

Select the size as needed icon

Energy consumption depends largely on the design of the actuators: above all, oversized actuators must be avoided. The smaller the actuator, the more energy efficient it is.

  • Be sure to select the safety factors correctly and keep moving loads small. In this way, up to 40% of the air consumption of an application can be saved with pneumatic actuators.
    One example: With the standards-based cylinder DSBCreducing from size 40 to 32 brings an energy saving of approx. 35%.
  • If you design the drive train as a whole and thus select an optimum size for it, you avoid the accumulation of safety factors. Festo Engineering Tools will help you in this. These are practical calculators, simulation software and configuration tools, such as the design and simulation tool Electric Motion Sizing, the Solution Finder Simplified Motion Seriesor also our Simplified Motion Series.

Save weight in a targeted way

Save weight icon

Moving a weight demands energy. Therefore, pay attention to a low moving mass, e.g. through correct sizing, combining components and choosing lightweight products.

  • If your application allows it in terms of payload and cycle time, an electric handling system in a technology mix with a light pneumatic Z-axis is a good choice.
  • Pneumatic grippers are lighter than electric grippers. In moving applications, this saves weight and energy.
  • With lightweight products you not only reduce energy consumption. Your production also requires less material, so you also have a better CO2footprint.

Minimize friction

Minimize friction icon

The less friction, the lower the energy losses and the longer the service life. For sustainable operation, it is best to use low-friction components.

  • Our pneumatic Mini slide DGSL or DGST move with high precision and minimal friction.
  • Electric drives and axes should be serviced regularly in order to reduce frictional losses.
  • Always check whether a gear unit is really necessary or can be dispensed with.

Energy recovery

Energy recovery icon

In many applications electric drives not only have to accelerate loads, they have to actively decelerate them as well. This braking energy can be reused under certain circumstances, for example with a DC link coupling, thus making it possible to save electrical energy.

In applications where acceleration and deceleration phases of different drives coincide, you can couple the DC links of the controllers and store the braking energy there. The motor controller CMMP-AS helps you do this.

Switching off energy as often as possible

Switching off energy icon

In some work cycles, the energy supply can be temporarily stopped – for zero energy consumption and zero leakage.

  • Whenever possible, switch off the air supply, e.g. during machine standstills, at the end of shifts, or during breaks. This is done automatically with our energy efficiency module of the MSE6 series.
  • To prevent non-productive idling, it should be possible to switch off the entire system, as well as individual segments or components. Be sure to use a safe sequence for shutdown and startup.

Efficient open- and closed-loop control

Efficient control icon

In electrical automation technology, optimum controller settings with flat acceleration ramps reduce energy consumption and minimize vibrations.

  • With our configuration and commissioning software Festo Configuration Tool FCTyou can set a good control performance for axis system with little oscillation or controller intervention. The rigid mounting of the axis and motor contributes to this.
  • Digitized pneumatics with the Motion Terminal VTEMoffers a variety of motion apps to control the connected pneumatic actuator components as energy-efficiently as possible.

Generate vacuum pressure as required

Use air saving circuits icon

Constant vacuum pressure is not absolutely necessary for reliable holding of objects. Continuous air consumption can be avoided by using an air-saving circuit, especially in the case of smooth surfaces and non-porous material. The goal is: vacuum only when necessary.

The vacuum generator OVEM and the vacuum generator VADMI with intelligent vacuum monitoring only generate a vacuum when it is needed and can switch off automatically. Savings amount to roughly 60% of previously required volumes of compressed air.

Reduce pressure level

Reduce pressure level icon

There are different possibilities for reducing the pressure level and thus lowering energy costs.

  • An unnecessarily high pressure level in the entire network requires a lot of energy. Energy savings amounting to up to 10% can be achieved by reducing system pressure by 1 bar.
  • Some machines require a continuous minimum pressure. If individual applications require a higher pressure level at specific points, this can be done, for example, with the Pressure booster DPAin a decentralized manner, instead of increasing the pressure throughout the supply network.
  • The pressure for the return stroke can easily be reduced by half if an application requires the full force only in one direction of movement or the actuator can generally be operated with a lower pressure. This is especially easy to achieve in valve terminals with vertical stacking/regulator plate. Compressed air consumption can be reduced by more than 20%. For this, use our control plates VMPA1and VABF.

Reduce pressure losses

Reduce pressure losses icon

Good compressed air treatment not only extends the lifetimes of components and systems, it increases productivity and industrial energy efficiency at the same time as well. Diligence in this regard pays off in a lasting manner. Our service unit component series MS offers matching solutions, including in the mix of sizes.

  • Suitable sizing of compressed air preparation is important, with regard to service unit components as well. Check you are using filters sensibly, because every filter stage reduces the flow rate and increases the pressure drop.
  • Maintenance at regular intervals and correct selection of compressed air treatment can reduce energy consumption by up to 20%. Timely replacement of filter elements in service units prevents unnecessary flow resistance.
  • It is advisable to use pneumatic fittings with minimal flow resistance within the piping network. The feed lines to the systems and the pneumatic valves or valve manifolds should be adequately large in order to prevent pressure loss.
  • Use Multiple distributor, instead of connecting T-branches together in series. This reduces the pressure drop.

You can find out more about selecting optimum service unit combinations in our white paper "Compressed air preparation in pneumatics (PDF)"

Reducing tube lengths

Reducing tube lengths icon

Many tubes between the valves and actuators are too long and increase compressed air consumption through what is called dead volume. This unproductive air also has a negative effect on the cycle time of the system. The dead volume in the tubing frequently accounts for a large percentage of overall consumption, especially where actuators or grippers with small volumes are involved.

  • Pay attention to the shortest possible tube lengths and optimum tube routing. Above all, we recommend decentralized positioning of the valve manifolds.
  • Use suitable tools for cutting compressed air tubes to length, such as the Pipe and tubing cutter ZRS, to ensure tight connections and prevent leakage.

Reducing leakages

Reducing leakages icon

Don‘t forget that leaks which go unnoticed cause unnecessary energy costs 24 hours a day. We know from experience that the leakage rate of existing systems can be reduced by up to 20%. Therefore, regular examination of the compressed air system including leakage detection is important.

  • With our Energy Saving Serviceswe detect leaks for you quickly and reliably – and put a stop to compressed air losses.
  • Moisture, contamination and oil have a negative effect on seals and wash the initial lubrication out of the components. We therefore recommend decentralized compressed air preparation directly at the system.
  • Choose tube materials suitable for the environment. In this way, you guard against chemical, physical and microbial damage – and thus leakages.
  • Fittings with modern sealing rings and support functions ensure a leak-proof, reusable connection.

You can find even more energy saving potential in compressed air systems in our white paper "Cutting energy costs in compressed air system by up to 60% (PDF)"

Monitoring compressed air permanently

Monitoring compressed air icon

Install continuous energy monitoring and check the compressed air consumption. Fundamentally, all sources of energy should be monitored by means of sensor technology, above all with flow sensors in the pneumatic system.

  • Based on the flow measurement, you can quickly and easily identify deviations from the ideal state caused e.g. by leakages or pressure losses. With this knowledge, you can initiate the right energy-saving measures.
  • Permanent compressed air monitoring makes compressed air consumption immediately transparent. A flow rate value that is too high is often an indicator of potential savings.
  • Monitor air consumption so that you can take countermeasures in the event of deviations. Continuous compressed air monitoring brings lasting safety.
  • Rely on predictive energy management. By using artificial intelligence, it is possible to predictively calculate how the status of your systems will change. For this, we use our software Festo Automation Experience (Festo AX).

Would you like to know in detail? Comprising 144 pages, we offer you a structured collection of Tips and tricks for saving energy in pneumatics (PDF) which you can download.
Simple and advanced application solutions help you to use your compressed air components optimally and keep your energy consumption low.

Put your trust in the technical experts and efficient technologies from Festo to ensure your machines and systems consume fewer resources and less energy in future. Not only will you reduce your CO2footprint, you relieve the cost pressure as well. At the same time, you increase the sustainability of your production processes and your company's productivity. Our knowledge, our experience, and our products can be found the manual Industrial energy efficiency@Festo (PDF).