Festo will introduce at IBIE 2022 an easy-to-use artificial intelligence (AI) software platform, Festo Automation Experience (AX). Festo AX lowers the risk of unplanned equipment shutdown for optimum equipment effectiveness. Festo also shows for the new robotic end-of-arm grippers that function like human hands to gently handle individual baked goods such as sandwich loaves, buns, and rolls. Festo features the Simplified Motion Series (SMS) family of low-cost and easy-to-apply servo-controlled electric drives.

Thrive in a tight labor market

Festo AX gives bakeries an easy-to-use tool to succeed in a tight labor market by helping them to maintain uptime and quality with fewer employees. Festo AX provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with a unique capability to differentiate their machines. Machine and process data is sent directly to Festo AX and immediately processed by algorithms for real-time analytics. When data deviates from the “healthy state” of the asset, bakery personnel can be immediately alerted via a notification message that states both the problem and the solution. 

Detecting anomalies early prevents unexpected downtime and gives personnel time to secure replacement components. Corrective action can then be accomplished during regularly scheduled maintenance. The same process of learning the asset’s healthy state and anomaly detection is used to maintain high quality products and lower energy waste. These features ensure a more productive bakery. 

Robotics give bakeries an edge

The flexibility of robotics is one of the automated solutions most in demand when fewer people apply for jobs. This new generation of soft hand-like grippers from Festo allows robots to be deployed in applications where individual baked goods are handled. Grippers are designed to meet the requirements of the modern bakery. Food safety and ease of cleanability, quick and simple changeovers, and low energy consumption are all part of the design. IBIE 2022 attendees can demo grippers at the Festo booth. 

Electric motion can be as cost effective and simple as pneumatics

Electric drives in the SMS family provide simple motion between two or multiple mechanical end positions. The drives offer optimized motion characteristics, including gentle cushioning, while advancing and retracting into the end positions and pressing and clamping functionality. The family includes belt drive linear actuators, ball screw axis, mini slide, electric cylinder, rotary dive, and electric cylinder. Every SMS device comes standard with Digital I/O and IO-Link.

The drives are plug and play for fast startup. No additional software or specific know-how is required. 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. 

At IBIE 2022, Festo also showcases its full line of air preparation units, valve manifolds, valves, cylinders, and tubing that meet FDA standards for sanitary design. The new Festo Essentials Program ensures rapid shipping for a range of quality, cost-competitive components that meet 85% of application needs. The VTEM Motion Terminal is a cyber-physical valve terminal that embodies the modularity requirements of Industry 4.0. Utilizing downloadable apps to change capabilities, a single VTEM unit can potentially replace 50 different components.  

Visit festo.com for the full range of Festo automation solutions.