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.

Intelligent Agents as a booster for European production

  • Artificial Intelligence coordinates multi-agent systems
  • Implementing European projects on the demonstrator in Kaiserslautern

The Chief Technology Officer of a major automation supplier once told me that an important technology I should keep an eye on was intelligent agents. Indeed, the poor little software object rarely gets star billing on the program. The technology does exist. This information came to me last month about multi-agent systems. It encompasses a European smart factory initiative. This initiative bears watching.

A consortium of seventeen European partners is developing multi-agent systems for autonomous modular production in the research project called MAS4AI (Multi-Agent Systems for pervasive Artificial Intelligence to assist humans in modular production environments). The European Union (EU) has funded the project with almost 6 million euros.

MAS4AI is a project focused on selected sectors of industry that plans for their smart digital transformation over the next three years using the tools of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The aim is to achieve resilient production that can react flexibly to changing requirements or disruptions in the added value networks. The underlying basis is the large variety of products in lot size 1 in complex manufacturing operations.

Single agents acting in concert
Multi-agent systems are an area of distributed artificial intelligence research, in which several differently specialized “intelligent” and mostly autonomous software components (agents or bots) act in a coordinated manner to jointly solve a problem. The researchers are working towards the long-term goal of stable production, which among other things, relies on Shared Production and Production-as-a-Service. Communication, synchronization, and coordination of skills (production capabilities) are needed in a production network in order to implement our vision. This coordination will be performed by AI processes in the future. The European project partners envision a future production that can be distributed in European networks (like GAIA-X).



People make the decisions​​​​​​​
Scientists and engineers from Greece, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain are initially working on a modular system architecture and a communication structure to create the foundation on which to integrate industrial AI services for smart production. In the process, human participants will always retain control over the AI technologies. The prerequisite for this is to have AI processes designed in a way that is always understandable to the operator. Only then can they be validated, optimized, or modified. Demonstrators oriented on a series of industrial use cases are being developed in MAS4AI. The use cases are in European industrial sectors of high added value, such as companies from the automotive industry, contract manufacturing, bicycle production, or wood processing.

Production Level 4 as the visionary basis​​​​​​​
“MAS4AI fits perfectly into our concept of Production Level 4, which is based on production-bots and modular networks. Our concept envisions future production resources that offer their capabilities (skills) to the networks and autonomously (self-directed) call up the products,” said Prof. Martin Ruskowski, Chairman of the Executive Board of SmartFactory-KL, Head of DFKI’s Innovative Factory Systems research, and Chair of the department of Machine Tools and Controls at TU Kaiserslautern. “The products in our vision know their attributes and their current production progress. Such products search their own way among the skills to complete their own production. This may take place in a facility, but also in a Europe-wide network.”

Four scientific and technological goals

The consortium is developing the following four topics:

  1. Multi-agent systems for the distribution of AI components at various levels of a hierarchy. The key idea is to control interaction between agents on a task-specific basis with agents integrated to form an overall system.
  2. AI agents that use knowledge-based representations with semantic web technologies. Every agent can detect what skills it has to offer and those of other agents and, in this way, decide what action should be executed. This also makes it easier to integrate people into the production, because the data is also prepared in a way that is understandable to them.
  3. AI agents for the hierarchical planning of production processes. Processes are broken down into individual steps and optimally reassembled according to the current requirements. Disturbances in the flow can be compensated.
  4. Model-based AI agents for Machine Learning (ML). These hybrid models are designed to combine human knowledge about physical processes with data acquired for machines.

A fundamental concept in MAS4AI is the integration of all smart components (machines with attributes like self-direction, self-description, and self-learning abilities) in a holistic system architecture. This facilitates easy development and use of industrial AI technologies. Software developers, system integrators, and end users will all benefit because the hurdle for the use of AI is low. “We expect this to generate revolutionary ideas for business models as well as brand new market opportunities,” said Ruskowski.

Partners:

  • Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, Deutschland
  • Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Niederlande
  • University of Patras – Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems & Automation, Griechenland
  • Fundacion Tecnalia Research and Innovation, Spanien
  • Asociacion De Investigacion Metalurgica del Noroeste, Spanien
  • University of Silesia, Polen
  • Volkswagen AG, Deutschland
  • SCM Group Spa, Italien
  • SC Baltik Vairas, Litauen
  • VDL Industrial Modules, Niederlande
  • Fersa Bearings S.A., Spanien
  • Semaku B.V., Niederlande
  • Symvouloi Kai Proionta Logismikou, Griechenland
  • flexis AG, Deutschland
  • Sisteplant, S. L., Spanien
  • D.M.D. Computers SRL, Italien
  • Smart Manufacturing Competences Centre INTECHCENTRAS, Litauen

Emerson Virtual Exchange Discrete and Industrial Automation Day

The conferences I have attended over the past five or six years have changed since my early days as a customer or sales engineer of industrial technology. While the automation companies have been changing with the trends in technology and application, IT companies have generated much energy and thought with advances in compute platforms, storage, memory, virtual machines, and the like.

I’ve tried to stir up, maybe not controversy, but at least conversation regarding using these powerful compute platforms for both control and data. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity has progressed to a point where networked I/O is not a problem.

That leads me to what I learned from today’s sessions about implementing IIoT and digital transformation and Edge Control from Emerson Virtual Exchange. This was discrete and industrial automation day. 

Emerson’ Global User Exchange went virtual this year, and thinking outside the proverbial box, stretched it out over about six months. There are sessions January 5 (which you can see on demand) and January 7, as well as next week on January 12 and 14. These are well done as the platform companies continue to improve and provide better service. Emerson has always worked hard to present professionally done sessions. Virtual did not change things.

The opening “keynote” was introduced by Hakan Erdamar, Group President for Discrete & Industrial. Zach Gustafson, VP of Business Development for Machine Automation and Derek Thomas, VP of Strategy & Marketing for Machine Automation, discussed IIoT and digital transformation, and then introduced Warren Pruitt, VP of Global Engineering Services, Colgate-Palmolive, who related the recent digital transformation journey his company has been traveling.

The key messages include using IIoT connectivity for data, starting small with scalable components, and using local (on-prem) compute. Use cloud for longer term analysis.

The blurb you’ll see online goes like this: Zach and Derek  go beyond the obstacles of the  “new normal” that manufacturers face are the ongoing challenges of production pressure, operational efficiency, and sustainability measures. In this unique moment in industry the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the digital transformation it enables is poised to help unleash a new era of manufacturing that is more reliable, more efficient, more connected and more sustainable than ever before. Join Zach Gustafson and Derek Thomas to gain insight into how manufacturers are getting started with unlocking trapped data in individual machines and processes to identify quantifiable savings and benefit that can then quickly scale on global levels. 

Warren’s presentation promo goes, A global consumer products leader, Colgate Palmolive is leveraging the power of Digital Transformation to help meet its aggressive global sustainability and operational performance goals. Not waiting for a silver bullet solution, Colgate’s approach is to “get started” with a test an learn mindset and scale successful lessons learned across their global footprint. Warren Pruitt shares Colgate’s implementation approach and lessons learned from the Digital Transformation efforts the organization has made to achieve the company’s objectives.

Thomas took us through a data path in his presentation going through the start small and scale theme and then landing on the latest “PACSystems” edge controller. This is a compute device that runs Linux, is open, makes extended use of Node-RED, also runs PLC control in the same processor/box, has extended open connectivity, and utilizes most standard industrial protocols.

Edge control is redefining the traditional control model by bringing together OT and IT technology in a single solution capable of logic, data management and analytics. This incredible evolution and transformation of PLCs and Industrial PCs is creating new possibilities for tackling today’s IIoT and digital transformation challenges by enabling customers to start small at a machine, scale to plant-wide analytics, and make manageable investments with a single platform. Learn how Emerson’s PACSystems RX3i CPL410 Edge Controller can operate as either an IIoT-enabled PLC or an advanced supervisory controller for your manufacturing operations. This industry leading controller combines the powerful PACSystems runtime, PACEdge IoT platform and Movicon WebHMI to deliver unmatched capability and possibilities for customers. Derek Thomas, Vice President, Marketing & Strategy, Emerson.

Festo Adds Two New Solutions to Its Compressed Air Energy Saving Platform

Continuing to catch up on 2020 news, here are some products meant to display at SPS Drives in Nuremberg, if there had been an SPS Drives trade fair. I am not a pneumatic geek, but I have visited Festo and seen some awesome displays of engineering talent there. Here are a couple of new modules.

Festo has expanded its intelligent pneumatic energy savings platform beyond the MSE6-E2M(E2M) with two new modules – the MSE6-C2M (C2M) and the MSE6-D2M (D2M). These modules can pay for themselves in less than a year with the energy savings accrued. The platform provides actionable information that supports quality production.

The modules in this platform automatically shut off the air supply to a machine when in standby mode, thus reducing energy consumption. They monitor system pressure and flow information in real time and enable faster response to compressed air leaks. These units flow up to 5,000 liters of compressed air per minute; program easily; connect to Festo MS series air preparation units, including the MS6-SV safety valve; and are suitable for new as well as existing machines.

The new C2M is an intelligent combination of a proportional pressure regulator, on/off valve, sensors, and fieldbus communication. It monitors the flow rate and, when production is not taking place, it automatically shuts off after a defined idle time. At the same time, the module prevents the system pressure from falling below a defined standby pressure level. The lower pressure level saves energy without completely depressurizing the system, which is essential for soft start and safety functionality. 

The proportional pressure regulator also allows the user to define normal operating pressure. This feature means there is always control over the operating pressure and an adjustment point is eliminated on the machine, helping with tamper-proofing and with automating changeovers.

The C2M can be fully integrated into the machine network via PROFINET and also through the Festo CPX platform, which is compatible, as is the E2M, with major fieldbus protocols, including Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT.  

Similar to the C2M, the D2M intelligent module monitors the compressed air supply and automatically shuts off the compressed air during breaks in production. Unlike the C2M, the D2M completely depressurizes the system. The D2M also provides leakage detection and process data acquisition for condition monitoring, as do the other energy saving modules. 

OEMs and end users that do not require a fieldbus node for the energy savings unit will find the D2M an economical solution. This module integrates into the control architecture via the fieldbus node of the C2M or the CPX. Plug-and-play combinations of the D2M with a C2M or CPX can monitor the energy efficiency of two separate compressed air networks simultaneously. 

Information from the C2M, D2M, and E2M give operations personnel comparative data over an extended period. Information on flow rate, air consumption, and pressure are continuously available. Data can help personnel determine historical trends on consumption, the amount of air consumed per product batch, and pressure and flow at the time of a malfunction or bad batch of product.