Qualcomm Debuts Roster of IoT Solutions to Drive Global Digital Transformation Across Industries

Qualcomm is in release mode these days—especially concerning chips for 5G and IoT. Last month was one new chipset. This month—four more. These will power many devices for your IoT / digital transformation initiatives.

Next-generation solutions deliver advanced Edge-AI performance, breakthrough power-efficiency, 5G connectivity capabilities and enhanced features for processing and security from entry level to premium tiers. 

The opportunity to connect the unconnected has never been more prevalent.  Qualcomm Technologies Inc.is enabling an IoT ecosystem of 13,000+ IoT customers to date, helping to accelerate the digital transformation and development of connected products. 

Qualcomm Technologies extends its support for the IoT ecosystem by introducing seven new solutions to help enable the proliferation of next-generation IoT devices: Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290. 

These solutions range from entry-level to premium tier to expand access to a variety of industrial and commercial applications. These latest IoT solutions from Qualcomm Technologies are purpose-built to help meet the needs of the expanding IoT ecosystem for key segments including transportation and logistics, warehousing, video collaboration, smart cameras, retail, healthcare, and more. 

“Qualcomm Technologies is uniquely positioned to lead the IoT ecosystem forward with our systems-level approach. Along with the recently announced Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, these new IoT solutions further exemplify our commitment to driving global digital transformation and providing a portfolio of solutions to transform industrial and enterprise IoT applications to achieve cutting edge performance and seamless connectivity,” said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president and general manager of connected smart systems at Qualcomm Technologies. “We believe in the power of technology to enrich lives through purposeful innovation with solutions to support the ecosystem in reimagining how the world connects, works and communicates. These new IoT solutions are a step towards achieving that goal.”

The seven new IoT solutions offer a breadth of capabilities for a range of smart devices and connected solutions with extended life hardware and softwareoptions forachieving long-term support for a minimum of eight years:

Qualcomm QCS8250 | Target applications: connected healthcare, digital signage, retail, and video collaboration The Qualcomm QCS8250 is Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation premium-tier offering, optimized to deliver maximum performance at greatest power efficiency enabling compute intensive AI at the edge with support for Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 solutions and 5G connectivity. This solution is designed to deliver premium-level performance through the Qualcomm Kryo 585 CPU architecture, the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine, and powerful image signal processor (ISP) to support up to 7 concurrent cameras with encode at up to 4Kresolution at 120 frames per second. This powerful solution offers a new Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for ultra-intuitive AI in addition to machine learning for compute-intensive IoT applications to enable smart cameras, video collaboration, AI hubs, connected healthcare and smart retail. Purpose-built for industrial and commercial applications, this platform delivers ultimate performance experience with flexible options enabled by our 3rd party ecosystem to accelerate deployment and commercialization at scale.

Qualcomm QCS6490/QCM6490 | Target applications: connected healthcare, logistics management, retail, transportation, and warehousing The Qualcomm QCS6490 and Qualcomm QCM6490 are Qualcomm Technologies’ first optimized IoT solutions built to deliver premium-tier features including global 5G connectivity and lightning-fast Wi-Fi 6E for high-tier IoT devices. With the Kryo 585 CPU architecture this solution delivers powerful performance and is purpose-built for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as transportation, warehousing, connected healthcare, logistics management and across retail point of sale (POS) kiosks. Equippe to support 5G mmWave/Sub-6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6E, this solution helps enable the latest generation of ruggedized handhelds and tablets, industrial scanners, and human machine interface systems. Through powerful connections, reduced latency, along with dynamic triple ISPs and advanced Edge-AI and compute based on 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this solution delivers astonishing performance at reduced power compared to previous generation solutions. 

Qualcomm QCS4290/QCM4290| Target applications: cameras, industrial handhelds, and security panels The Qualcomm QCS4290 and Qualcomm QCM4290offer maximum mid-tier benefits delivering greater performance. With the Kryo260 CPU architecture for increased speeds and robust on-device performance, in addition to the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this platform delivers powerful performance, dynamic camera capabilities and broad connectivity options (LTE Cat13, Wi-Fi 6-Ready), ideal for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as industrial handhelds in logistics and warehousing, security panels and cameras. For increased intuitive on-device intelligence, devices based on this new solution will help enable productive and efficient work environments.

Qualcomm QCS2290/QCM2290| Target applications: camera applications, industrial handhelds, retail and tracking   The Qualcomm QCS2290 and Qualcomm QCM2290 are robust entry-level offerings, enabling reliable performance and power-conservation with LTE connectivity, upgraded features and memory support for low power consumption. Equipped with the Cortex A53 CPU architecture, the entry-level platform is a cost-effective solution, delivering greater performance, higher graphics capabilities, better quality images, and improved power performance. This platform is well-suited for, retail point-of-sale (POS), industrial handheld, tracking and camera applications. Also, QCS2290/QCM2290 baseband chip is pin-to-pin compatible with QCS4290/QCM4290which helps customers utilize hardware and software across various IoT devices to reduce cost and time to market. 

The Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290 solutions are available now. The Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490 solution are expected to be available in second half of 2021. Qualcomm Technologies’ new solutions are fueling future technology developments to enable the next generation of innovation across the IoT ecosystem. 

Amtran 

“As a tremendous impact of COVID-19, the video conferencing system becomes a must. The development of the Qualcomm QCS8250 helps enable AmTran to deliver fine-tuned audio and video processing products, for communication without distance and interference,” Sam Wu, president, AmTram Technology. 

Aver 

“As a global leading supplier of camera and room solutions for meeting spaces, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm QCS8250 which will enable us to not only stay competitive but also to bring better UC&C solutions in the video conferencing ecosystem” said Andy Hsi, president, AVer Information Inc.

eInfochips 

“Given our strong focus on intelligent camera and machine vision solutions, eInfochips is excited about the launch of Qualcomm QCS8250 solution. Leveraging 25-plus years of product design experience, eInfochips enables intelligent devices, such as collaboration devices, smart robots, AR/VR devices, home/industrial automation and intelligent cameras based on this module,” said Parag Mehta, chief business development officer, eInfochips.

Fibocom

“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices.  Coupled with Fibocom’s end-to-end IoT modules and wireless communications solutions, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary IoT solutions across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Lingpeng Ying,chief executive officer, Wireless Inc.

Hongtech

“As a leading IoT solution distributor in Taiwan, we have strong application insights and support customers from concept to design to manufacturing. The Qualcomm QCS8250 is a leading AI computing platform, and we are pleased to be collaborating with Taiwan customers to enable the high-performance, low-power computing IoT platform in 1H2022, including a SMARC module from iBase and video conference solution from Aver,” said Eric Cheng, president, Hongtech Electronics Co., Ltd.

iBASETechnology 

“With the recommendation of HongTech, we have adopted the next-gen premium-tier processor, the Qualcomm QCS8250 into our Qualcomm-based SMARC module which provides power efficiency and superior performance with 4K resolution at 120 frames per second video resolution, making it an ideal choice for high-tier multi-display/multi-camera signage, IWB, video conferencing or retail analytics applications,” said YN Chen, vice-chief executive officer, IBASE Technology.

Lantronix

“The new QualcommQCS8250 platform brings exciting new capabilities to the intelligent video market for developers. This development will enable Lantronix to provide IoT vertical market customers the ability to get to market quickly, especially in video collaboration, surveillance/smart cities, smart display, and AI retail boxes. The Qualcomm QCS8250 will drive the next generation of video developments by addressing important video processing and latency considerations, Lantronix looks forward to being part of this journey,” said Paul Pickle, president and chief executive officer, Lantronix.

MeiG

“As a global leading supplier of cellular modules for the IoT, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation IoT solutions. These new solutions will support us in developing next-generation IoT applications and usher in a new generation of IoT applications and expansion in the ecosystem,” said Benjamin Du, chief executive officer, MeiG Smart.

PAX

“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions are a strong step forward for the retail market and IoT ecosystem to enable the global proliferation of next-generation devices. We are proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies to continue to enable the growth of this market and ecosystem.” said Tom Luo, executive vice president, PAX Computer Technology (Shenzhen) Co.,Ltd. 

Quectel 

“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions mark an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices. These solutions are highly compatible with Quectel’s existing 5G and LTE modules, allowing customers to accelerate their designs with fast time-to-market. We are very proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to enable the growth of the Internet of Things,” said Patrick Qian, chief executive officer, Quectel. 

SUNMI

“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation POS devices. Coupled with SUNMI’s flagship products, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary devices across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Jeep, chief operations officer, SUNMI.

Sunsea

“SUNSEA AIoT is committed to utilizing advanced IoT technologies to develop all-in-one solutions for the IoT ecosystem from 5G modules to smart communities solutions. Through the introduction of Qualcomm Technologies’ latest IoT solutions, Qualcomm Technologies is enabling us to develop next-generation products, provide end-to-end 5G solutions, intelligent industrial applications and help enterprises keep leading of the industry forward with the latest IoT advancements,” said Yang Tao, chief executive officer, SUNSEA AIoT.

Tymphany

“Tymphany, a worldwide leader in audio ODM services, has collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies to bring to the market an integrated audio and video conferencing platform leveraging the Qualcomm QCS8250 on video collaboration bars. The video bar can support up to 3 video streams, 52M pixels sensor x2 and TOF with wide view angle lens. It’s also covered with modularized Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Tymphany is also working with internal speaker and audio solutions for a best-in-class video collaboration experience for user. The Qualcomm QCS8250 enables a standalone architecture that is critical to enable certifications for today’s leading video collaboration software applications” said Tungwen Tu, director of conferencing products in professional audio division, Tymphany.

VIDERI

“VIDERI is sincerely grateful to be an early adopter of the Qualcomm QCS8250 with Qualcomm Technologies alongside its world-class engineers and developers,” commented Francois Gariepy, chief technology officer, VIDERI. “With its powerful graphics and neural network processing, not to mention the integratedWiFi6 capability, the Qualcomm 8250chipsetwill become the cornerstone of our next-generation, AI-curated retail visual experience platform.”

Zebra

“Based on our long strategic relationship, we congratulate Qualcomm Technologies on the launch of these cutting-edge solutions,” said Julie Johnson, vice president of product management, Zebra Technologies. “This innovation gives us more flexibility than ever before to build the right technology solutions for our customers based on their specific needs.”

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G.When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found inevery3G, 4G and 5Gsmartphone.We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.

NI Expands Global Network to Serve Small Businesses

NI has always served smaller businesses—most of whom do work for big businesses or projects solving interesting engineering problems. This month I received an announcement of NI’s partner network focusing on small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). We must remember that the true engines for economic growth come from startups and smaller businesses doing innovative things.

NI announced the expansion of its global distribution channels within the NI Partner Network, a strategic move to support its omnichannel strategy dedicated to serving small-to-medium business (SMB) customers to help them do what they do best — innovate. 

NI is focused on providing value and choice to its SMB customers, strategically connecting them to partners and resources on ni.com to provide a positive, efficient experience. Shifting to a multi-channel approach in this way leverages established, well-known distributors and ni.com to meet customers’ buying needs. 

“We know our customers, especially those in the SMB space, need simple and efficient ways to buy so their time is spent on moving their business forward,” said Josh Mueller, GM of the Portfolio Business Unit at NI. “That’s why we’re taking important steps to serve our customers in ways that help them the most, including new avenues to purchasing NI products and solutions.”

NI is also committed to purchasing more from small and diverse businesses. As outlined in its 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy, Engineering Hope, NI has put forth a goal stating that by 2030, 16% of NI suppliers will be small or diverse businesses. Diverse and equitable procurement has a positive ripple effect throughout entire communities and NI is taking steps, such as increasing access to its global distribution program, to cultivate opportunities for small or diverse business suppliers. 

To show appreciation for its SMB customers and community, NI is celebrating Small Business Month in a big way, from providing access to best-in-class test tools and technology at a discount, to sharing customer success stories.

During the month of May, members of the SMB community can look forward to:

  • Customer stories and the “Secrets of Small Business” video series featuring SMB CEOs and their perspectives on overcoming some of the greatest engineering challenges of today.
  • Limited-time promotions on tools, software and solutions designed to help SMB customers advance their engineering initiatives, including LabVIEW, FlexLogger™ software and CompactDAQ.
  • Webinars about NI software and solutions to help SMBs address quality in validation designs and flexibility in engineering.

“Connecting our customers to the right technologies and services helps them accelerate their pace of innovation and better serve their organizations and end customers,” said Jim Ramsey, vice president of the Global Partner program at NI. “We’re excited to celebrate Small Business Month for this reason — to help equip more engineers with the tools and technologies they need to take on their next big opportunity.” 

Learn more about NI’s expanded global distribution network and how it’s celebrating the SMB community this month. 

Qualcomm Unveils Purpose-Built 5G Modem Optimized for IIoT

Important news about IoT enabling technologies development. Europe and China are first targeted markets. Seemingly US engineers just don’t jump on new technologies and initiatives as quickly as the rest of the world. Management problem? Note that the supporting quotes are from Germany and France.

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. helps lead the IoT ecosystem forward by introducing the company’s first, purpose-built Internet of Things (IoT) modem solution equipped with 5G connectivity and optimized for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications. 

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem-RF System is a comprehensive modem-to-antenna solution designed to support the IoT ecosystem in building upgradeable LTE and 5G devices for IoT verticals, accelerate the adoption of 5G connectivity for IoT, and expand the overall opportunity for 5G in the IoT industry. 5G was conceived as a broad connectivity fabric and today the momentum is beginning to exemplify the promised impact and growth of 5G for emerging applications including IoT. Acting as a catalyst for digital transformation, Qualcomm Technologies is at the forefront enabling the ecosystem with the solutions to update existing IoT systems and make 5G for IoT a reality. 

The needs of modern IoT include seamlessly transitioning wired factories to wireless with solutions capable of supporting both LTE and 5G connectivity. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem was designed with industrial and enterprise applications in mind, built with premium gigabit class performance, low-power, and thermal-efficient capabilities to enable a new generation of fast, powerful and high-performing IoT solutions. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is intended to meet the needs of industry segments including: retail, energy, automation and manufacturing, precision agricultural, construction, mining, public venues, and more. 

With the global expansion of 5G, the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is a new solution serving the high end of IoT broadband modems, complementing Qualcomm Technologies’ existing portfolio of LTE IoT modems with a path towards 5G proliferation. Additionally, due to its reduced footprint and highly integrated RF front-end, this solution expands the portfolio, purposely designed to provide a pin-to-pin compatible solution for current LTE legacy modules. This provides legacy modules with ability to upgrade their solutions with no changes needed to existing hardware, minimizing development efforts, costs and providing a seamless transition from LTE to 5G. 

“Qualcomm Technologies is continuously optimizing and developing industry-leading technologies and modems ranging from the most power efficient NB-IoT solutions to new products like the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, purpose-built to bring 5G connectivity capabilities to IoT,” said Jeffery Torrance, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm. “We are pleased to unveil our new 5G IoT solution which will help stimulate and scale the 5G IoT industry and enable the transitions needed for Industry 4.0. This solution will help create long-lasting devices and promote growth and expansion in the 5G IoT industry, allowing seamless integration for customers utilizing previous generations of connectivity.”

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem supports global 5G NR sub-6GHz bands and operates in stand-alone (SA) only mode, with the capability to switch to LTE as needed, and can be deployed over private or public 5G networks, leveraging network slicing or in isolation. This solution is optimal for IoT applications that can be seamlessly integrated with existing ethernet and wired technologies. The new modem comes with extended life software and hardware maintenance and support, prolonging IoT devices for the duration of their life span. This new solution will help accelerate the digital transformation of the 5G IIoT industry, proliferating 5G for IoT.

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2021. 

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem is a significant step for the IoT ecosystem: 

Bosch: 

“5G is an important standard for the factory of the future. We are therefore working intensively on integrating 5G into our products. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem enables interesting new functions specifically for industrial IoT applications and helps usto open up new applications with 5G,” summarizes Dr. Steffen Haack, Member of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG and responsible for development. 

HMS: 

“We recently released the first commercially available 5G router for industrial automation – _a solution that utilizes Qualcomm Technologies’ _5_G_ _solutions. The interest for 5G in industrial applications is steadily growing and we see many advantages with the announcement of the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, as it will enable a smaller formfactor for industrial devices and open up new use cases,” said Jens Jakobsen, Development Manager at HMS Labs, HMS Networks’ initiative for new innovation and technology.

Schneider Electric: 

We are excited by the launch of Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem which addresses the specific needs for massive bandwidth, reliability, and performance across industries. This technology has the potential to become a catalyst of digitization, helping unlock unprecedented opportunities and efficiencies in innovative 5G industrial applications,” said Benoit Jacquemin, Innovation director Industry business, Schneider Electric. 

Siemens:“Siemens and Qualcomm Technologies have a longstanding collaboration focused on technological cooperation in wireless communication technologies. With the release of products such as the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem, Qualcomm Technologies shows its strong commitment to drive the digital transformation of industry and enables us to develop state-of-the-art Industrial 5G products,” said Sander Rotmensen, Director Industrial Wireless Communication, Siemens AG, Digital Industries. 

Controlled Flying Birds and Workforce Development Highlight Festo Hannover Announcements

I remember the first trip I made to Festo in Germany many years ago. I thought, this is “just” a pneumatics company. What could be interesting about this trip? Then I witnessed what their R&D engineers did with pneumatics. And saw that the company if far deeper than “just” pneumatics.

Even though we could not experience in the flesh, so to speak, this year’s press conference and demonstrations did not disappoint. The company discusses financial results, strategy, general information, an application – assembly of insulin injection pen, workforce issues, and the always delightful demonstration of pneumatic/electronic far-out thinking with this year being a bionic swift (bird).

Most companies I work with have an education and training component. Festo has a division that is dedicated to education from children to adults. Check out the Festo Didactic information below. Maybe you can purchase a bionic bird education kit for your local school’s science and technology program (see information below). I’m living in a new community, but I’m looking for local contacts to help out.

Financial years 2020/2021

Festo’s results were stable despite the pandemic. The Festo Group had to cope with a 7.5% decline in turnover in the 2020 financial year due to the pandemic. Turnover was 2.84 billion euros (previous year 3.07 billion euros). Overall, however, thanks to forward-looking cost-cutting measures and employment protection, the operating result in 2020 was slightly higher than in the previous year.

“This has enabled us to guide our workforce safely through the crisis year and to create a good basis for being ready for the global economy to pick up again. At the same time, it gives us the financial freedom to invest in our future now as well,” said the Chairman of the Management Board, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Oliver Jung.

As in the previous year, the company’s R&D ratio was 8% of turnover. 

For 2021, the company expects a catch-up year. “We started the year well, with strong growth in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the end of the pandemic cannot yet be estimated. We are therefore continuing our savings course. At the same time, we continue to invest in our growth and innovation strategy,” Jung affirmed.

Strategy 2025+

Digitalisation and AI determine the product roadmap with smart and intelligent products as enablers for energy efficiency and sustainability in customer solutions.

Festo is focusing on the capability shift upgrading employees’ skills in the digital transformation.

The need for home schooling and virtual training (Digital Education) is growing rapidly in the pandemic. In the lockdown, Festo Didactic successfully launched its new digital learning platform, Festo LX, for technical education and provided a free homeschooling version for mechatronics courses in schools.  

The LifeTech business segment with medical technology and laboratory automation is experiencing a real boom with growth rates of over 100%. Festo is continuously expanding its Technical Engineering Center for LifeTech in Boston, which opened in 2018 and is one of the world’s most important development locations for life science, in order to further develop this promising growth market.

Festo’s products make an important contribution to the fight against COVID 19. In particular, laboratory automation enables high throughput in COVID 19 tests.  Automation is also key in vaccine development and production.

Sustainability needs automation and education

“As a company and society, we have to manage the balancing act in the pandemic of simultaneously finding ways out of the crisis and focusing our future activities on sustainability. Automation and technical education are a key to this. We also have a high social responsibility for sustainable development here,” said Jung. The goal is to gradually develop production in the direction of a circular economy.

“At Festo, we are convinced that pneumatics in particular offers massive advantages over electrics in many areas, and that no other technology can match it. We are currently developing this further in the direction of smart and digital pneumatics. There is still a lot of potential here,” confirmed Jung.

In 2020, Festo has also made great progress internally in climate protection and thus towards its climate target of saving at least 30% CO2 by 2025 (Scope 1 and 2).

Festo has the greatest leverage for climate protection with its customers, through the appropriate product selection of pneumatics and electrics (Scope 3). This is because around 90% of CO2 emissions are generated during product operation and only around 10% during production. Smart products and services, digitalization and AI are giving new impetus to energy efficiency on the way to CO2-neutral production.

As a family-owned company, Festo thinks and acts responsibly and with a long-term perspective. Festo stands for clear values, utmost quality and customer-oriented innovation. It has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society.

Festo is advancing digitalisation in all its corporate divisions. Festo is leading its customers and employees into the digital future. To this end, the company is developing new future-oriented concepts founded on the triad of innovative and energy-efficient technologies, intuitive human-machine collaboration, and education and further training.

Productivity – Festo’s core competency

Innovation for the best possible productivity, a global presence and close, long-term partnerships with its customers are the hallmarks of Festo. In the 1950s, Festo became the first company in Europe to use compressed air as a drive medium in automation. The company now offers over 30,000 products and system solutions for pneumatic and electrical automation technology which, thanks to a large variety of modular systems, can be tailored to specific customer applications in many different factory and process automation industry segments.

Added value through digitalisation
           
Smart products, connectivity, the mining and interpretation of data, including via the cloud, and dashboards for visualisation, already offer added value for customers. Products like the energy efficiency module E2M, IO-Link-capable components, the CPX-IOT gateway or interfaces like OPC-UA contribute to this process. Another basic requirement for successful and consistent digitalisation is mechanical, electrical and intelligent connectivity through software solutions, enabling all customers to find their bearings quickly and intuitively. 

Festo is promoting this with an open automation architecture and a large product portfolio made up of axes, motors and controllers. Standardised software tools are also being developed: configurators for smart engineering, the Festo Automation Suite for easy commissioning and the digital maintenance manager Smartenance for reliable operation. Digitalised pneumatics such as the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM makes pneumatics more flexible than ever before. The reason: apps define the function, the hardware remains the same.

In addition, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are shaping the agile product development of the future. Since 2018, the competence in the field of AI has been strongly expanded. The Festo AX (Festo Automation Experience) software platform is an AI-based software solution that allows production processes to be improved, e.g. with preventive maintenance of assets and machines, monitoring of quality in production or energy consumption.

With AI-based solutions for operations and maintenance processes, the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of customers is to be improved.

Qualification in the digital transformation

As a leading provider of technical education and training, Festo Didactic is responding to current megatrends such as digitalisation and the energy transition. Because these trends are changing industry and production processes. Festo Didactic supports its customers with learning solutions and supports them to ensure the employability and productivity of employees and companies.

Festo Didactic offers a comprehensive range of learning solutions. Learners acquire technology knowledge and soft skills both in team-oriented and practical training on physical learning systems with industrial components, but also location- and time-independent through digital online learning opportunities. The new digital learning portal Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX) creates individual learning experiences for learners and teachers.

The fast way to a safe insulin pen

Syntegon’s assembly system for medical technology with the Festo automation platform 

Diabetes is on the rise worldwide with around 10 million people being diagnosed with the disease every year. This pushes up the demand for insulin pens for self-injection. Syntegon’s Danish subsidiary has developed an automated system for assembling these pens using the Festo automation platform.

“I have a dream,” says Michael Andersen, Sales Director of Syntegon Technology Sandved in Denmark. “I have a dream of our machines doing on-the-fly format changes. That would be the culmination of our philosophy of flexibility and agility that we strive for in our company,” adds the automation expert.

Flexibility and agility

“By using the Festo automation platform, which includes the servo press kit, we are already very close to making this dream come true,” says Andersen. In fact, Festo’s servo press kit YJKP – a preconfigured modular system consisting of software, controllers and standard electrical drives – can be easily integrated in the plant and offers a high degree of flexibility thanks to the preinstalled software. This means that the modular press system with servo drive for electric pressing and joining up to 17 kN is ready for immediate use and, compared to similar solutions on the market, is both intuitively to parameterize and cost-effective.

“We have installed more than a 100 servo press kits in the automated assembly lines for insulin pens,” says Ulrik Keldke, Head of Syntegon’s engineering department in Sandved. The precisely adjustable pressing and joining forces ensure consistent quality and low reject rates. “What we particularly like about the Festo servo press kit is that it’s quick and easy to commission, and the machine operators don’t need to be trained to use it,” explains chief engineer Keldke.

Quality and safety

“Automating the assembly line is a prerequisite for meeting the requirements for the end product: the insulin pens must be safe and user-friendly,” says Andersen. The pens must not break when used by the patients, as that would put them at risk. The Servo Press Kit keeps the tension and pressure constant. “The glass of the syringes should never be subjected to irregular pressure as they would break,” Keldke says. The automated systems ensure that the insulin pens are always in order and can deliver the exact amount of insulin.

Depending on the machine type, Syntegon’s assembly lines produce up to 300 pens per minute. The degree of automation is scalable according to requirements and can also be adapted at a later date. The machine concepts are based either on a rotary table for low to medium outputs or on a linear transport system for high outputs. The system can be expanded with automatic feeders and stations to increase output and the degree of automation.

Consistency and reliability

Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, sees itself as a provider of integrated solutions. The assembly line for insulin pens can be expanded into a complete line with other systems from the company. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can thus be provided with machines for all process steps, from filling, capping, assembly, testing, to labelling and packaging – preconfigured and from a single source.

The machine control system is based on electrical and pneumatic components and modules from the Festo automation platform. This ensures a consistency of supply since Festo products are available worldwide and offer open interfaces to higher-level controllers. The CPX-E-CEC module from Festo establishes the connection to the process control level, allowing it to be used with Profinet or, for other customers in Europe, with EtherCat. Especially for North American customers, however, the system could also be supplied with an Ethernet/IP module.

Bionic Swift: A Bionically Inspired Robotic Bird

So, the cool demonstration this year was the Bionic Swift. This year’s engineering innovation has been incorporated into the “Bionics4Education” program. Its target market is high school education and also industrial training. 

It is one of the oldest dreams of mankind: flying like a bird. The lift and propulsion of birds have been ingeniously achieved by nature. Birds measure, control and regulate their movements continuously and completely autonomously. The inspiration for the development of the Bionic Swift educational kit came from the Bionic Learning Network, a research association with universities, institutes and development companies whose goal is to produce novel technology carriers through the application of bionics. In 2020, the BionicSwift was presented to the public for the first time. Festo Didactic wants to bring the world of bionics together with the education sector in order to promote working in interdisciplinary project teams as well as problem-oriented learning and creativity at schools.

The Bionic Swift is a robotic bird inspired by the bird world. Festo based its development on the natural model of the swallow. With the experimental set, scientific and technical correlations as well as the fascination of bird flight and the topics of lightweight construction, energy efficiency and aerodynamics can be impressively conveyed in STEAM lessons using a project-based approach.

The mechanisms of action of the flap of the wings can be explored in a playful way by students in class. Weighing less than 45 grams, the ultra-light flying object Bionic Swift shows particularly agile flight behaviour. Due to its extreme manoeuvrability, even tight turns can be realised. The Bionic Swift experimental set is recommended for up to three learners and from the age of 15. 

The references to biology and technology that can be taught in STEAM lessons or at extracurricular learning venues are numerous and reach from the structure of tubular bones to wing take-off and landing to the basics of movements in the air. This allows teachers to teach technical learning content via a new, cross-curricular educational learning path. Accompanying teaching material, as well as the assembly manual, can be downloaded free of charge from our website

BlackBerry Bolsters Embedded Software Portfolio

I have accumulated some embedded systems news. I didn’t virtually attend the Embedded Systems Conference this year. There were a few relevant announcements. I had to overcome a severe memory lapse when I saw BlackBerry in the news, until I was reminded of the QNX acquisition. Here are some advancements for you Hypervisor geeks.

BlackBerry Limited  announced the release of QNX Hypervisor 2.2, the latest edition of the company’s real-time embedded hypervisor product.

With QNX Hypervisor 2.2, manufacturers and other embedded system suppliers are empowered with ultimate design flexibility and scalability to consolidate multiple systems with mixed criticality and different operating environments onto a single hardware platform, reducing both the initial development and long-term costs of ownership for a wide variety of embedded systems – from rail and robotics controllers to vehicle digital cockpits and battery management ECUs.

Based on the QNX Neutrino Real-time Operating System (RTOS) 7.1, QNX Hypervisor 2.2 supports the latest silicon enhancements for interrupt control, scalable vector extensions (SVE), cryptography and enhanced security, and offers features such as fast booting of critical system services before guest launch and priority-based sharing of hardware resources and devices. QNX Hypervisor 2.2 also adds to the extensive VIRTIO shared device support offered by previous QNX Hypervisor releases, including adding sources of entropy.

QNX Hypervisor 2.2 provides development teams with a robust and reliable hypervisor domain on which they can run Android and Linux distributions. QNX Hypervisor 2.2 can be scaled so that system architects can choose to run software in a virtual machine or alongside the virtual machine in the host domain.  This flexibility allows developers to add Android and Linux to an SoC without compromising on features and performance while at the same time reducing system complexity. Mission-critical applications can share host domain services (backends) with Android based on priority scheduling and therefore precisely control the guest’s behavior.  As with all BlackBerry QNX Hypervisor product releases, system architects also have full control over separation and isolation of guests and devices as well as deep insight into Hypervisor operations through the QNX Momentics Tool Suite.

“BlackBerry QNX has decades of experience powering mission-critical embedded systems across a wide range of industries. With the release of QNX Hypervisor 2.2, embedded software architects and developers can continue to rely on our secure and reliable foundational hypervisor software to enable their system consolidation knowing that we continue to work in lockstep with advances in silicon and shared device standards such as VIRTIO,” said Grant Courville, Vice President, Products and Strategy at BlackBerry QNX.

BlackBerry QNX has a broad portfolio of embedded system software designed for mission-critical implementations, including the QNX HypervisorQNX Neutrino Real-time Operating System, in addition to middleware and development tools. Safety-certified variants of the hypervisor – QNX Hypervisor for Safety and the OS – QNX OS for Safety, are also available. BlackBerry’s pedigree in safety, security, and continued innovation has led to its QNX technology being used in hundreds of millions of critical systems for medical devices, industrial controls, automotive, commercial trucking, rail and robotics systems worldwide.

TwinCAT/BSD Offers Alternative Operating System for Beckhoff Industrial PCs

Twenty-plus years ago, some of the IT people where I worked and I would sometimes discuss FreeBSD, Linux, and other software at that level of servers or other compute devices. I came close to a part-time gig writing for a Linux magazine about Linux for control. I have not thought about FreeBSD for almost that long. And certainly not as the OS for an industrial controller. So this announcement from Beckhoff was one of the few that really surprise me.

TwinCAT/BSD provides an alternative operating system for all of the latest Beckhoff Industrial PC (IPC) platforms. TwinCAT/BSD combines the TwinCAT runtime with FreeBSD, an industrial-proven and reliable open-source operating system. FreeBSD is Unix-compatible and is continually being further developed, improved and optimized as an open-source project by a large group of developers.

The FreeBSD system – and thus also TwinCAT/BSD – supports ARM CPUs up to Intel Xeon processors, providing a scalable platform from small embedded controllers to high-performance IPCs. With this scalable new solution, Beckhoff presents a new operating system that combines the advantages of Windows CE – low cost and small footprint – with the numerous features of large Windows operating systems. Therefore, TwinCAT/BSD is also an alternative to Windows 7 or 10 in many applications.

The current minimum size of a basic image is around 300 MB, with very small RAM consumption of less than 100 MB. Therefore, diverse machines and systems can leverage very compact controllers with TwinCAT/BSD and use all TwinCAT 3 runtime functions. The programming still occurs on a Windows development computer and with TwinCAT 3 XAE integrated in Visual Studio®.

The new TwinCAT/BSD operating system offers multi-core support, making it possible to reserve individual cores exclusively for TwinCAT if required. In addition to a large number of FreeBSD and Linux programs, TwinCAT functions can also be installed via the Beckhoff Package Server. Moreover, uncomplicated updates of the operating system and the TwinCAT runtime are possible in this way via the network.