June 16, 2024 in Motion Control & Motors

Festo Introduces a New Generation of Mechanical Axes at Automate 2024

An innovative design improves axis performance, and new Festo global manufacturing lines ensure supply.

ISLANDIA, New York, — Festo introduces its newest generation of Cartesian-handling-system mechanical axes at Automate 2024. The ELGD-TB, tooth belt, and ELGD-BS, ball screw, axes feature an innovative Festo design for high-load bearing and compact size. These axes are manufactured on two new global-scale manufacturing lines to ensure competitive price, performance, and availability. Festo also showcases the company’s latest electric and pneumatic automation solutions as well as industrial training and education innovations. (Automate 2024, McCormick Place, Chicago, May 6-9, Booth #4050)

At its Automate booth, Festo demonstrates an integrated dispensing, gluing, and picking-and-placing electric light assembly cell. The cell simulates an actual application and features ELGD-based handling systems. The demonstration showcases the application’s precision and versatility in performing three assembly functions, all in a compact footprint.

Festo’s start-to-finish control of every aspect of the ELGD series design and manufacture ensures world-class quality, a robust and reliable supply chain for assured availability, and industry leading price/performance. ELGD axes deliver exceptional load bearing capacity and torsional rigidity, long service life, and increased reliability in multiple industrial handling situations, from harsh to hygienic environments.

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.  

Festo inlaid the bearings into the aluminum extrusion and extended bearings to the full width of the axis. This design enhancement enables high loads in a compact footprint. Machine builders can pack even more powerful tooth belt or ball screw axes in smaller footprint systems to achieve excellent feed forces and acceleration profiles. The integrated bearing design also enabled Festo to develop the lower profile ELGD-WD (wide actuator) for reduced force applications. This low-profile ELGD is 30% lighter than larger units while its rigidity and guide load capacity are similar.

The ELGD features a stainless-steel cover strip, which minimizes particle emissions in cleanroom applications and reduces ingress of particles in dirty environments. Festo enhanced particle emissions capability by including a pneumatic connection to provide sealing air (0.1 – 0.2 Bar) or a vacuum to the internal structure of the mechanics. Another innovation is the magnetic deflection of the cover strip, which eliminates mechanical wear and further reduces the likelihood of particle emissions.

7th-axis solution for pick and place shown at Automate

Festo integrates cobots from different manufacturers in a 7th-axis application. Festo’s demonstration shows the company’s ability to work with many manufacturers’ products so that system integrators and machine builders can easily choose the cobot or robot best suited for the end user.

Seventh-axis robots – robots on an electromechanical linear actuator moving horizontally, vertically, or both – offer productivity and cost advantages in picking-and-placing and unloading-and-loading applications. Adding a linear rail extends the reach of a six-axis robot. Moving the robot closer to the payload allows smaller six-axis robots to be used for the application. Because robots are sized by reach – the longer the reach the larger the unit – 7th-axis solutions using smaller robots lower acquisition cost. Smaller also means a more compact footprint.

Besides a 7th-axis used for linear transfer, the Festo Motion Control Package (FMCP) panel controls turntables, automatic storage systems, conveyors, and transfer tables. The FMCP solution provides extra space within the panel for future expansion and brackets for wall mounting, which reduces footprint. The company’s solution for picking and placing includes the adaptive shape gripper DHEF, the adaptive finger gripper DHAS, and vacuum gripping solutions.

Electric motion as simple as pneumatic

 The Festo Simplified Motion Series (SMS) electric axes are comparable to pneumatics in cost and ease of installation, yet deliver the advantages of electrics. SMS axes offer lower energy consumption than pneumatics and generate a wealth of data. SMS axes deliver two-position motion through onboard controls. Or through IO-Link, a standard SMS feature, these axes can be programmed for infinitely variable positioning for flexible pushing and sorting.

For applications where pneumatics is the optimum cost/performance solution, Festo provides its DFSP pneumatic stopper cylinder, the DSNU ISO standard round-body cylinder with self-adjusting end position cushioning, and the compact, double-acting ADN for fixed or self-adjusting cushioning.

Festo’s 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.

Visit the Electric Automation Highlight Products page on the Festo website for additional details. For more information on the advantages of working within the Festo ecosystem of less engineering overhead, fast time to market, seamless connectivity, and high-quality components, visit www.festo.com.

About Festo U.S.

Festo is a leading manufacturer of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components, and controls for process and industrial automation. For more than 50 years in the U.S., Festo Corporation has continuously elevated the state of manufacturing with innovations and optimized motion control solutions that deliver higher performing, more profitable automated manufacturing and processing equipment. Through advanced technical and industrial education, Festo Didactic Learning Systems and its partners prepare workers for current and future manufacturing technologies.

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