Decentralised Industry 4.0 automation platform

20 November 2017

At this year’s SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition visitors will be able to experience the flexibility of Festo’s Multi-Carrier-System (MCS) for intralogistics with batch sizes down to one. Also on display will be Festo's new IP20 and IP65 rated automation platforms with IoT gateways and a direct link to a cloud.

Explaining what contribution Industry 4.0 is already making to the booming automation technology sector, Eberhard Klotz, head of the Industry 4.0 campaign at Festo, said: “Industry 4.0 is far more than a marketing hype. It is backed up by specific projects and products." 

An example of this is Festo’s membership of the Industry 4.0 platform, which advises the German government. Festo also develops basic and further training concepts and measures for new career paths, and carries out visionary research in the Bionic Learning Network with autonomous and self-controlling systems such as BionicANTs or the prototypes of interactive, collaborative, pneumatic seven-axis robots like the BionicCobot.

Industry 4.0 products
Festo is already delivering some real automation technology products for the fourth industrial revolution: integrated drive packages, modular valve terminals with OPC UA and IOT gateways, decentralised CODESYS controllers and autonomous mechatronic subsystems with IP20 or IP65. In addition, there are apps and cloud concepts. "However, the most exciting innovation in pneumatics must be the Festo Motion Terminal," enthuses Klotz. The Festo Motion Terminal is the first automation platform to be designed as a cyber-physical system which is able to replace up to 50 individual pneumatic functions. It will be on public view for the first time at the SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition this year.

"Festo, in contrast to consultancies, has the advantage that it can draw on a wealth of user experience from pilot production projects in our Scharnhausen Technology Plant," said Klotz. “This includes topics such as energy management and optimisation as well as innovative one-piece-flow concepts based on standardised networking, mobile maintenance with tablets or automated, flexible test systems for individual products. This experience is also incorporated into our new products." 

CPX-E automation platform
The CPX-E system is a high-performance system for factory automation. It consists of individual function modules that can be used to create a modular, compact and very flexible system. Depending on the module combination, the system can be used as a purely remote I/O system or as a (centralised or decentralised) control system for factory or process automation.

From a functional point of view, the CPX-E control units are designed as EtherCAT master controllers and motion controllers. These are high-performance control units which can be used both for extensive PLC functions and, in the Motion Control M1 variant, also for multi-axis applications with interpolation.

The basis for this is the programming system CODESYS V3, with additional software libraries for both simple and complex motion control applications:

• PLCopen Parts 1 and 2
• Robotics (PLCopen Part 4)
• Cam disc editor
• CNC editor (DXF file import)

A further special feature of the control units, in addition to the EtherCAT master interface, is an integrated PROFINET device or EtherNet/IP slave interface. This allows a decentralised control system to be very easily integrated into appropriate host systems. The OPC UA interface is available for Industry 4.0.

Bus modules for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP (and Modbus/TCP) are available for the configurations as a remote I/O. In addition to the usual digital and analogue I/O modules, IO-Link® master modules and a counter module are available.

So, Festo can offer a consistent portfolio for the decentralised automation of sub-systems and small machines/installations with IP20 and IP65, all in line with a flexible Industry 4.0 host environment.

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