This year’s TechTalk focused on smart products that help companies to produce energy efficiently, educational measures that empower employees for lifelong learning as well as for the digital working world and, of course, the Bionic Projects 2020. The panel consisted of four Festo experts, Dr Frank Melzer, member of the management board Product and Technology Management, Dr Hans-Jörg Stotz, member of the management board Festo Didactic SE, Karoline von Häfen, head of Bionic Projects, and Marcus Stemler, product manager of Festo Motion Terminal. These experts gave answers on how customers can be supported during the industrial transformation period.
Digitalisation helps to save energy
Dr Frank Melzer answered how digitalisation could help save energy. He explained how we collect, visualise and evaluate data thanks to smart products. “Only those who have process transparency will be able to carry out optimisations in terms of energy efficiency,” he emphasised. Marcus Stemler made a concrete example by elaborating on how the Festo Motion Terminal, Festo’s digital valve terminal, helps customers to reduce their energy consumption.
Know-how is the key to success
“The smart Industrie 4.0 products can only work to their full potential if the employees that work at the customer’s plants are trained to apply them professionally,” said Dr Hans-Jörg Stotz as he explained the approach of Festo Didactic SE. He also gave a few examples of digital educational measures in the field of energy efficiency: “With our CP Factory, we reproduce a real Industry 4.0 production environment where apprentices, students and employees can learn. Festo Didactic SE even offers learning material for primary school children. With our Bionics4Education learning construction kit, we are already getting even the youngest children worldwide excited about technical topics”. He also presented the Bionic Flower for the first time in TechTalk.
Bionic Learning Network: autonomous and self-sufficient assistance system
Karoline von Häfen presented the BionicMobileAssistant, which moves autonomously in space and can independently recognise objects, grasp them adaptively and work on them together with humans. The processing of the acquired information is performed by a neural network that has been trained in advance using data augmentation. The mobile assistance system is modular and consists of three subsystems: a ballbot, an electric robot arm and the BionicSoftHand 2.0 – a pneumatic gripper inspired by the human hand. The animal kingdom served as a source of inspiration for the second project she presented, the BionicSwift, an artificial bird that can fly as a flock in a defined air space using a radio-based indoor GPS.
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