VTEM motion terminal heralds a revolution in automation

Pneumatics is intrinsically a user-friendly technology
and is set to become even more straightforward, versatile and flexible. The brand
new VTEM Motion Terminal from Festo propels pneumatics into the era of Industry
4.0 with apps that can replace over 50 individual standard components, thanks
to the latest developments in piezo technology and software.

The VTEM Motion Terminal is expected to revolutionise
automation technology in much the same way that the smartphone turned the
mobile communication market on its head a decade ago. In addition to
transforming pneumatic products into true Industry 4.0 components, the VTEM
simplifies system design, reduces costs and offers greater energy efficiency.

Festo predicts that the new method of function
integration exempified by the VTEM – combined with software apps – will
simplify the entire value chain, since only one piece of hardware will be
required. Beneath the new Motion Terminal’s somewhat unassuming exterior and
classic Festo product design lies technical refinement based on
state-of-the-art information technology.

True Industry
4.0

Piezo technology, integrated stroke and pressure sensors
– together with control via motion apps – open up entirely new perspectives for
machinery and plant manufacturers. The fusion of mechanics, electronics and
software featured in the Festo VTEM Motion Terminal will transform a pneumatic
product into a true Industry 4.0 component, and enable flexible production.
Changes in pneumatic functions and adaptations to new formats are controlled
via apps by changing parameters. The integrated intelligent sensors for
control, diagnostics and self-learning tasks will eliminate the need for
additional components.

Motion apps

The VTEM Motion Terminal has been launched with ten different
functions via motion apps: from basic modification of the directional control
valve functions to energy-efficient motion, and from proportional control to
different motion profiles. What makes this so special is that the same valve
hardware is used for everything. Thanks to the fast activation of new functions
via apps, machine developers can create a basic machine type and then select
the relevant apps on the fly, to equip it with the necessary functions and
features to meet customer requirements. Further apps are already in
development.

Assigning functions via software has the added benefit
of protecting against tampering and protecting know-how, since it is not
possible to tell from the outside which functions the valves are executing.
Maintenance is also simplified, as long lists of spare and wearing parts will
be a thing of the past.

Intrinsic
energy efficiency

The specially developed motion apps as well as the
leakage diagnostic function save energy during operation. However, the
energy-saving piezo technology for the proportional valve’s preliminary stage
also plays its part.

The air consumption can be flexibly adapted to the
requirements using the ‘selectable pressure level’ and ‘ECO drive’ apps. With
the selectable pressure level, a digitally selected pressure can limit the
pneumatic force to the level required for the application. ECO drive reduces
the compressed air consumption to the minimum level required to achieve motion,
provided no pressing or holding forces are needed in the end position. This
enables savings of up to 70% compared with standard operation, depending on the
application.

Reduced costs
and complexity

Festo’s VTEM Motion Terminal permits both fast and
powerful movements and leakage diagnostics at much lower costs than current
solutions. For example, fewer controllers are required compared with electrical
solutions since one controller can control up to eight movements with the VTEM.
Energy consumption is also reduced, and the required installation space is
decreased by up to 65%.

In a comparison of the technology, solutions with the VTEM
Motion Terminal offer truly cost-effective alternatives for eight applications.
Instead of a valve, a pressure regulator and a pressure sensor (in other words
three components), only one single technology – a valve – is needed.

For more information about Festo’s VTEM Motion Terminal,
please visit www.festo.com/motionterminal.

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