Motion Control & Drives

Festo’s automation supports smart factories

May 2014 Motion Control & Drives

The concept of Integrated Industry is starting to grow and was the main theme of the 2014 Hanover Fair; and automation technology is playing a critical role in supporting the fully networked and integrated smart factory of the future.“ In this vein it is exciting to showcase Festo’s automation platform, CPX,” says Festo business development manager, Russell Schwulst. “This demonstrates that Festo continues to remain at the forefront of innovation.”

He points out that Integrated Automation based on CPX incorporates some trailblazing ideas. This electrical terminal for valve terminals already offers more than just a means of linking the field and master control levels. Its individual modules make it possible to integrate the control of pneumatic cylinders via the modular valve terminals MPS and VTSA, together with motion controllers for electric drives. Furthermore the CPX concept has diagnostic capabilities, can provide condition monitoring functions and also includes safety functions. Festo’s CPX makes it possible to access diagnostic information, locate faults quickly and replace modules.

The Festo CPX platform is equipped for the future – it can already integrate all commonly-used bus systems and industrial Ethernet protocols. An example is the Sercos III fieldbus node (CPX-FB39) that will be available in the near future. Sercos III is perceived as a system which is not dominated by a single supplier. What is more, it is able to handle motion control and I/O functions via the same bus. CPX flexibility is further demonstrated by the fact that the new fieldbus node CPX-FB40 expands the CPX fieldbus portfolio by adding the industrial Ethernet protocol, Powerlink, offering a direct valve terminal interface for Powerlink systems.

“The CPX concept from Festo has been shown to be an automation platform which is independent of any particular fieldbus system,” continues Schwulst.

With the counter and measuring model CPX-2ZE2DA, also available with the high protection class IP65, the CPX automation platform ensures greater transparency of data from a machine or plant. Its extensive functions include pulse counters for one-off, periodic and infinite counter; facilities for speed, frequency and period duration measurement and positioning (incremental and absolute encoders). The control of simple 24 VDC motors is integrated economically and conveniently into a single module.

When used with a rotary indexing table with various pick and place stations, the counter and measuring module are able to detect positions, position the gripper arm, measure the speed of a feed unit or measure the angle during the positioning of a work piece. Incremental signal generators produce pulses which can be counted in order to measure speed, length or position; in absolute generators, each position corresponds to a defined code pattern, which means that the actual position can be detected even after a power failure – as soon as power is restored.

What all of this demonstrates is that instead of innumerable bus systems, in the future there will only be one world-wide standardised Internet protocol running on a real-time-capable WLAN or Ethernet. This trend towards simplicity is based on the same philosophy as the new adaptive and intelligent installation platforms.

“With its modularity, our CPX automation platform is already making life simpler and will continue to do so for users in the future. Soon, there will be no need for discussions about machine setting times in the factory of the future,” concludes Schwulst.

For more information contact Tracey Swart, Festo, 08600 FESTO,,


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