Festo is an innovative company that continuously surprises me with its creativity. This year at Hannover, for example, they displayed a “flock” of bees. At Automate they showed new electric actuators, an I/O platform, and an AI worker collaboration tool.

New Generation of Electric Actuators for Linear Applications

Festo introduced its newest generation of Cartesian-handling-system mechanical axes. The ELGD-TB, tooth belt actuators, and ELGD-BS, ball screw actuators, are based on an innovative Festo design. 

  • Suited to most electromechanical handling tasks, the ELGD series brings specific benefits to applications, such as:
  • Cantilever systems and pick-and-place solutions for small parts handling, where short cycle times, high precision, and repeatability are key
  • Handling systems for top loaders, which benefit from the ELGD’s attractive price/performance ratio, high travel speed, and long stroke lengths
  • Automation of 3D printing, additive manufacturing, dosing, gluing, and picking and placing are enhanced with the ELGD’s dynamic, virtually vibration-free movement.  

Remote and Decentralized I/O Platform

Festo offers both the CPX-AP-A distributed I/O and CPX-AP-I decentralized I/O. Whether physically attached on-terminal or connected via cable, all components such as PLCs, valves, motors, drives, and I/O appear to the programmer to be incorporated within one smart terminal under a single IP address. Having the entire distributed and decentralized I/O topology under a single IP address significantly reduces hardware and installation costs while lowering system complexity. Since many PLCs come with a limited number of IP addresses, the Festo solution means more capabilities are possible per PLC. Festo is a leader in adopting and applying IO-Link, and customers will find IO-Link capabilities integral to the new I/O automation platform. This I/O platform is ideal for effective conveyor control.

AI worker collaboration training package

At the show, Festo demonstrates a UR3e cobot equipped with an AI-powered camera capable of gesture recognition. This setup enables object tracking, allowing the cobot to pick up items and then hand them to booth visitors. The cobot will be handing out individually wrapped hard candy. The Festo Didactic AI/Machine Learning Worker Collaboration package provides learners with the opportunity to explore neural networks, machine learning, and advanced gripping systems. Festo Didactic incorporated into this demo its 360-degree robotic safety awareness package developed in partnership with SICK.

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