The move towards electric automation technology is not without its challenges. As well as extensive knowledge of electrics and software, you also need a relatively large budget – so it is no wonder that the benefits of electric automation have so far remained reserved for complex motion requirements. This is now changing: our Simplified Motion Series gives you an automation solution that bridges the gap between easy-to-install pneumatics and smart electric automation. Make your production more efficient: simply with plug and work.
Pneumatics continues to be the tool of choice for simple movement and positioning tasks. However, in an increasingly digitalised world, electric automation and a continuous flow of information from the workpiece to the controller and the cloud are becoming indispensable. This enables you to reduce commissioning time, guarantee cost-efficient production and handle shorter product life cycles. The savings in ongoing operations therefore offset the higher investment costs of electric automation solutions. Commissioning is also simple and quick now. How? With our Simplified Motion Series.
The Simplified Motion Series consists of different electromechanical components with an application-optimised combination of motor and servo drive, known as the integrated drive. This means that no external servo drive is needed and you can commission the system quickly and simply. The drives are ideal for simple movements between two mechanical end positions, without sacrificing optimised motion characteristics, gently cushioned travel into the end position or simplified press-fitting and clamping functions.
Neither software nor a PC is needed for commissioning with the plug and work principle, as all the parameters are set manually on the actuator. You can connect the Simplified Motion Series directly to the controller using digital I/O (DIO) or IO-Link®, which are both integrated as standard.
Basic profile for movement between two end positions, with speed control.
Expanded motion profile for simplified press-fitting and clamping functions as well as speed and force control.
To commission the system, you adjust all the parameters directly on the integrated drive itself in a simple and intuitive process with no substantial or complex operating instructions:
Pneumatic drives are the preferred choice for simple applications and motion tasks. They combine simple installation and control with extremely attractive investment costs. As a leading supplier for both pneumatic and electric automation components, Festo has now brought the simplicity of pneumatics to the world of electric automation with the new Simplified Motion Series.
Even if pneumatics is the preferred solution for applications requiring simple movements, this technology is increasingly facing a digital world. This will require up-to-date information about the drive status in order to reduce commissioning times, enable cost-efficient production and manage shorter product life cycles. Moreover, even if pneumatic drives are the most attractive technology in terms of investment costs, the overall costs, i.e. the total cost of ownership must also be considered. Diagnostics and big data require a continuous flow of information from the workpiece to the controller and cloud. Traditional pneumatic systems struggle with this challenge as compressed air cannot transmit data. When these factors are taken into account, it is not surprising that machine manufacturers are increasingly viewing electric motion as a valuable addition or even alternative to pneumatics.
If you consider the needs and trends in automation, you might expect the transformation to be far faster than it actually is. This can be explained by the development of new pneumatic products and equipment that respond to these new requirements with sophisticated technology. However, the more obvious explanation is that most of the complex motions in machines are already carried out by electric drives and that simple movements are easy to take care of with pneumatics.
And this is where electric drives have some shortcomings as they are still too costly and commissioning them is too complex. A pneumatic system can be easily put into operation with moderate expertise and a screwdriver, whereas software knowledge and more extensive training and expertise in electrics are needed to make electric cylinders run smoothly between two end positions. Festo took this market need for simple electric drives and addressed it in the new Simplified Motion Series.
The Simplified Motion Series from Festo is not only a new range of electric drive systems, but was designed from the bottom up to offer simplicity in installation.
The core of the Simplified Motion Series, which was launched on the market in September 2019, is a new integrated motor with a permanently attached drive unit and is available premounted for a whole range of mechanical drives. This enables linear and rotary movements with a wide variety of different sizes. This concept therefore not only reduces installation space but also minimises installation time and costs in production processes.
A mechanical installation concept itself does not help close the gap with pneumatics; the deciding feature is functionality. It is therefore important to concentrate on reducing the motion complexity of the Simplified Motion Series to create a real alternative.
In the case of a pneumatic drive, a simple movement between two mechanically defined end positions is carried out using a hard stop or cushioning and the cycle time is not always 100% reproducible. In the case of the Simplified Motion Series, a fixed acceleration and deceleration ramp is combined with a constant speed to achieve a gently cushioned and reproducible movement.
Pneumatics has the wonderful ability to switch from a dynamic movement to a pressing mode without additional costs. In traditional electric drive technology, this would require more programming work. The new series now has an intelligent solution to this. The speed-controlled section is simply shortened and the dynamic movement is then switched to a force-controlled pressing movement at this point, set directly on the drive and without programming work.
The concept of combining the simplicity of pneumatics with the advantages of electric drives is also extended to the control unit, combining software-free commissioning with state-of-the-art control options for simple drives: digital IO and IO-Link®. The integrated motor is equipped with two standard connections and is based on the plug and work principle, without the need for software or parameterisation.
To ensure that operation is just as simple, all settings can be adjusted directly on the motor using three buttons and an easy-to-understand LED menu. The speed and force can be set for both directions. In addition, the buttons are also used to set the reference end position and the transfer point from speed to force control. Finally, all movements can be tested directly on the device with the demo mode. This enables all axes on the machine to be fully commissioned before the software engineer has even opened their laptop.
At its simplest, the drives are controlled using two digital inputs, like a 5/3-way pneumatic valve, which enables very cost-effective installation. Using two digital outputs, it is also possible to detect if the end positions have been reached, like with a proximity sensor, but without the additional cost.
The most interesting feature of the series is the IO-Link® functionality that is integrated as standard, bringing the simple electric drives into the world of Industry 4.0 and digitalisation. With IO-Link®, all parameters can be transmitted remotely, copied onto multiple drives or used as backup in case a drive breaks down. It also enables further parameters such as the distance travelled and the number of cycles to be easily read out. This data can then be used for preventive maintenance or sent to the cloud. Finally, with IO-Link® the movement can be stopped at a predefined intermediate position in the middle of the stroke, thus avoiding the mechanical end stops that are common in pneumatics. This makes the Simplified Motion Series even more flexible.
As all drives in the series always have digital I/O and IO-Link® integrated, the advantages of both options can be used to the full, for example commissioning with IO-Link® and control via digital I/O.
With all the features of software-free commissioning and simple control via digital I/O and IO-Link® brought together in a compact, integrated drive unit, the Simplified Motion Series is the first solution to offer a perfect combination of the simplicity of pneumatics and the advantages of electric automation. Machine manufacturers can now use electric drives for very simple tasks and so take their machines to a new level of performance.