Festo Bridges Pneumatics and Servo Motion

The company’s new Simplified Motion Series adds IO-Link connectivity to make positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding, and cut-to-length tasks more cost effective than traditional all-servo motion systems.

Festo’s SMS combines pneumatics with electric automation for use in positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding, and cut-to-length tasks.
Festo’s SMS combines pneumatics with electric automation for use in positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding, and cut-to-length tasks.

At PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Festo is showcasing its new Simplified Motion Series (SMS) all-in-one integrated-drive axes. The company says SMS represents an “engineering breakthrough” in that it combines pneumatics with electric automation. This breakthrough is based on how Festo’s SMS integrates ball screw axes, toothed belt axes, mini slides, electric cylinders, piston rod, and rotary actuators with an onboard servo drive.

SMS actuators are designed for use in positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding, and cut-to-length tasks. Because all SMS components are integrated into a single unit with a unique part number, this simplifies the ordering, inventory, and replacement of SMS units, which is especially important for OEMs. Units in the series include: ELGS-BS ball screw, ELGS-TB toothed belt axis, EGSS mini slide, EPCS electric cylinder, EPCE compact electric cylinder, ERMS rotary drive, and ELGE toothed belt axis.

Simple electrical connection is accomplished via a M12 plug design with 4-pin power and 8-pin logic.

Festo points out that no additional software is required to operate SMS, as commissioning is accomplished via onboard push buttons for two-position functionality. Key commissioning parameters include:

  • Speed for the extend (“out”) and retract (“in”) movement;
  • Force of the axis in the “out” position;
  • Setting the reference end position;
  • Teaching the position for the start of force-controlled movement; and
  • Demo mode, which can be used to test the movements from the keypad

Digital I/O (DIO) and IO-Link control come standard with each SMS unit. With DIO control, two positions are available—home and a configurable end point. Festo says that, when controlling SMS with IO-Link, positioning along the axis length is infinitely variable, which enables SMS axes to be used as a cost-effective alternative to traditionally higher cost servo motion. Using IO-Link, technicians can remotely adjust movement parameters as well as copy and backup functions for parameter transfer and read functions of essential process parameters.

This level of capability opens up more applications to electric motion, including conveyor material handling and mobile applications, according to Festo.


   Watch this video highlighting Festo's Simplified Motion Series and gripper technologies showcased at PACK EXPO 2021.

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