Festo Introduces Cost-Effective Electric Actuator and Advanced I/O

Nov. 9, 2020
The Simplified Motion Series of electric drives are an alternative to pneumatic actuators. The CPX-AP-I remote I/O system maximizes machine performance.

Festo is showcasing a low cost and easy-to-use electric actuator that is an alternative to pneumatic actuators that are typically less expensive and easier to maintain, but don’t provide the same level of benefits of electric automation.

At PACK EXPO Connects, Festo is showing its Simplified Motion Series (SMS) of electric drives equipped with Digital I/O and IO-Link connectivity to enable the intelligent communication associated with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  For those machines and lab instrumentation where compressed air for pneumatics is simply not feasible, SMS provides a cost effective, easy to apply, and well-featured electric option.

The actuators are built for simple motion between two mechanical end positions or for pressing and clamping tasks, just like pneumatic actuators. But according to Festo, the SMS all-in-one design including actuator and integrated motor and drive, are easy-to-install by simply mounting the axis to the machine and connecting two cables. In addition, the drives offer optimized motion characteristics including gentle cushioning while advancing and retracting into the end positions and pressing and clamping functionality. The parameters for advancing and retracting speed, as well as pressing and clamping force, are set directly on the drive. End position, cushioning path, and manual operation are also set on the drive.

Units in the initial release include toothed belt axis, spindle and toothed belt axis, mini slide, electric cylinder, and rotary drive. The drives are plug-and-play for fast startup and no additional software or specific know-how is required.

Also this week, Festo will  introduce its next generation distributed I/O which makes it quick and easy to scale machine parts and capabilities. The new remote I/O system CPX-AP-I, which improves the performance of mixed valve terminals and I/O systems, is compatible with most communication protocols, including EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, and EtherCAT. These rugged, compact, and lightweight modules can be mounted directly on machines in IP65/IP67 rated environments.

CPX-AP-I enables valve terminals to be moved closer to pneumatic cylinders, which reduces pressurization time and increases the machine’s overall performance. Process data in and out of each bus module is as much as two kilobytes. Scan cycles for a mix of both valve terminals and I/O are below one millisecond and are expected to approach microseconds. Latency is virtually nonexistent.

Another important feature is that communication and voltage supply are via two separate connecting cables that are also galvanically isolated, eliminating the potential for stray currents. Two separate wires enable the creation of voltage zones that provide reliable control for a host of machine processes.

To view more Festo demos (available through March 31, 2021), and add Festo to your MyConnects Planner, click here

About the Author

Stephanie Neil | Editor-in-Chief, OEM Magazine

Stephanie Neil has been reporting on business and technology for over 25 years and was named Editor-in-Chief of OEM magazine in 2018. She began her journalism career as a beat reporter for eWeek, a technology newspaper, later joining Managing Automation, a monthly B2B manufacturing magazine, as senior editor. During that time, Neil was also a correspondent for The Boston Globe, covering local news. She joined PMMI Media Group in 2015 as a senior editor for Automation World and continues to write for both AW and OEM, covering manufacturing news, technology trends, and workforce issues.

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