Festo Introduces Multi-Carrier-System without Trailing Wires

  • April 04, 2016
  • Festo Corporation
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Festo demonstrated the contactless Multi-Carrier System (MCS) at Pack Expo 2015.  The Multi-Carrier System was jointly developed by Festo and Siemens based on the magnetic linear motor concept, which provides machine designers with more efficiency than chain, belt and walking-beam mechanics. 

Siemens software allows machine design and simulation-enabling optimization, and the control program data can be generated from that simulation.   The offering includes free programming software based on the SIMOTION SCOUT engineering system, integrating basic system functionalities via an Open Architecture library (implementation of all segment transitions, switchover of the control modes closed loop - open loop, minimum collision detection).  Efficient implementation of the machine application is achieved using the project generator easyProject software.

Independent Movement

Each transport carrier in the MCS can move freely and independently from all other carriers under program control. Carriers are easy to position and can be moved towards each other without the risk of collision. Also, several carriers can be grouped together and moved synchronously at fixed distances.

The carriers do not require wiring as they have permanent magnets that are pulled along with the linear movement of a magnetic field generated by electric windings in the carrier track, thus creating a linear motor relationship. There is a direct relationship between current intensity, magnetic field and the feed force generated.

Carriers have permanent magnets and do not require trailing wiring with a linear motor design.

Mix & Match Conveyor

An advantage over other linear-motor systems is that the MCS design allows carriers to work smoothly with low-cost, classic transport systems or conveyors, due to a transfer-free linkage design.  Therefore, the MCS modular construction provides machine builders a wide range of flexibility resulting in greater efficiency.

Integrated Controller

The Siemens controller provides full integration of the control and motion control functions for the overall conveying system. In addition, the controller can also coordinate motion with other servo-driven machine modules, including fillers and cartoners. This considerably reduces the number of interfaces required, and allows flexible integration of the complete system by the OEM.

The MCS system leverages Siemens SIMOTION hardware, SIMOTION SCOUT Motion Control Engineering software, and SIMOTION easyProject project software to efficiently implement complex machine automation.  Motion control, programmable logic control (PLC) and technology functions are merged in a single engineering system for configuration, programming and commissioning.  The SIMOTION easyProject project generator provides a largely automated and programming-free process guiding the user to create an application, enabling machine builders to cut production costs and time to market significantly, making them more competitive overall. More information on SIMOTION SCOUT.

IoT & Industry 4.0

The MCS incorporates options for achieving goals of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 including flexible electromechanical design for economic production down to batch sizes of one and decentralized sensors and intelligence incorporated within the work piece carriers and drives. The modular servo controller and the motion controller also fully reflect the cyber-physical integration of Industry 4.0 systems.   The system provides OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) messaging enabling open integration into Industry 4.0 architectures and enterprise systems such as SAP.

Video: Multi-Carrier-System for More Flexibility

Thoughts & Observations

Festo continues to pursue innovative designs that make industry more efficient and this is another great example.

The Festo collaboration with Siemens leverages the strengths of each organization.

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