IN industrial automation, material costs only make up 10% of all project costs. Approximately 90% of costs along the value added chain therefore offer the greatest potential for savings and one which can be successfully exploited by shrewd customers by using Festo's software tools and services.
The intelligent use of software and internet solutions helps to save time and money. Instead of calculating forces manually or selecting and assembling components for a system, designers use the Festo software tools.
For example, instead of drawing a component by hand, a ready-to-use 3D CAD model which can be downloaded from the Festo homepage can be integrated into a design.
But Festo's software tools and e-commerce solutions offer a lot more: Festo provides solutions on the internet for all project tasks such as technical dimensioning, design, documentation, calculation, ordering or buying spare parts.
Technical dimensioning example
For engineering, Festo offers comprehensive software which can even be used for CAD without a CAD system. This software is called FluidDRAW and it can be used to draw up circuit diagrams on the PC without CAD.
The program is compatible with Festo's electronic catalogue and the planning and sizing tool ProPneu. ProPneu also provides assistance with technical sizing if all the relevant design parameters are not yet known.
Taking basic information such as positioning time, operating pressure or tube length as a starting point, by interactively interrogating all the parameters, ProPneu determines the components required, carries out a simulation and automatically compiles parts lists and simulation diagrams. The components can also be integrated into Festo's digital product catalogue ordering list.
But for users of CAD systems such as AutoCAD, Catia or Pro Engineer, Festo also provides 2D or 3D CAD models on the CD ROM catalogue directly without the need for conversion. In the Internet catalogue, CAD models for 20,000 products are available in 80 formats for downloading.
Above and beyond ProPneu's functionality, there are further special tools which provide support for the planning and sizing of tailored customer solutions - with automatic data transfer to the digital product catalogue. These include MuscleSIM, the program for dimensioning the Fluidic Muscle, ProDrive for pneumatic linear drives, software for selecting grippers, shock absorbers and vacuum components or for calculating inertia.
Sample project calculation using the online shop
With the Festo Internet concept, project calculation is also fast and convenient. The online shop is linked directly to the Festo's internal system so that customers can query their own specific prices and the availability of the products and order them online. With the order tracking function, they can check the status of their order and get an overview of all their orders. This can also be done for orders which were not placed through the online shop.
The online version of the catalogue is accessed 70,000 times a month. Customers can order through an online shop in Australia, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and in due course will be offered to a further eight countries.
The electronic catalogue on CD ROM
Using the digital catalogue, it is easy to find the right product from among more than 20,000 products at a few clicks of the mouse. Select by image, characteristic or part number: enter, select, compile in a matter of seconds. The matching accessories can also be displayed and added to the parts list. The electronic catalogue also offers planning and sizing tools with automatic data transfer, a selection of new products, additional configurators such as the valve terminal configurator as a support program for simple searches and documentation in addition to simulation options for the selected pneumatic system.