The key to understanding the power of the revolutionary Festo VTEM Motion Terminal, introduced in North America at Pack Expo, Las Vegas, Sept. 25-27, is the platform’s first-of-its-kind digital valves. Valve functionality is controlled by downloadable apps so that one valve can potentially replace up to 50 different components, depending on the app or combinations of apps resident in the integrated processor. Festo announced the first 10 of a planned 50 apps at the show.
“The VTEM Motion Terminal is not a one-to-one substitution of today’s pneumatic systems with advanced digital technology, but something entirely new in terms of total functionality,” said Sandro Quintero, Product Manager-Valve Terminals & Electronics, Festo. “Digital valves in the VTEM Motion Terminal fundamentally change the way pneumatics are applied. This new platform provides the flexibility essential for shorter product lifecycles, the proliferation of stock keeping units, and modular, reconfigurable automation. Diagnostics improve equipment utilization and inherent energy savings will lower costs.”
Digital valves feature four 2/2-way piezo pilot and diaphragm poppet valves integrated with smart sensors. The VTEM’s integrated processor coordinates the actions of sensors, pilot, and poppet valves based on app algorithms. Changing the app modifies the interactions of the individual components and gives the digital valve its flexibility. Internal pressure measurement sensors simplify configuration and provide for diagnostic functionality. VTEM Motion Terminals are sold in either four-valve or eight-valve platforms. Product shipments will begin December 2017.
The following summarize the functionality of the first 10 of a planned 50 applications for the VTEM motion controller.
The soft stop app
Designers can shorten cycle times by up to 70 percent with this app. The soft stop app gives machine builders and end users the means of implementing highly dynamic yet gentle positioning motion without wear-prone shock absorbers. This reduces maintenance, increases the service life of systems, and enhances productivity. (Required accessory: position sensor SDAP)
The ECO drive app
This app reduces costs by operating an actuator with the minimum pressure necessary for the load. This eliminates the rise in pressure in the drive chamber at the end of the movement, allowing energy savings of up to 70 percent. (Required accessory: cylinder limit switch)
The leakage diagnostics app
Use of this app leads to lower system downtimes and faster fault detection. Separate diagnostic cycles and defined threshold values enable the digital valve to detect and localize individual leaks.
The directional control valve function app
The directional control app gives machine builders and end users the ability to modify the digital valve’s standard directional control functions, including replicating 4/2, 4/3 and 3/2 at any time and as often as necessary, even during operation. This enables organizations to respond to many requirements at the touch of a button with a single valve platform.
The proportional pressure regulation app
This app saves space and hardware costs by combining the functions of two individual and independent proportional pressure regulators in just one valve. The app also handles vacuum.
The model-based proportional pressure regulation app
With model-based control, there’s no need for external sensors. By storing fewer boundary parameters for the system, such as tube length, tube diameter, and cylinder size, the anticipatory control system ensures maximum accuracy as the app compensates for decreases in pressure and volume.
The selectable pressure level app
This app saves energy by setting several pressure levels. Simply set the pressure for selected movements to the desired level. Additionally, this app can control speed by adjusting the flow control valve setting.
The supply and exhaust air flow control app
This app replaces separate flow control valves on the actuator and allows designers to set tamper-proof travel speeds quickly and conveniently. There is also an option to implement new motion sequences such as a dynamic flow control adjustment.
The presetting travel time app
For quick and easy commissioning and stable operation, all the control engineer needs to do is enter the travel time for advancing and retracting motions. The exhaust air flow control function adapts itself to the travel time and then maintains it. The system automatically adjusts the values in case of influences such as increased friction due to wear. (Required accessory: cylinder limit switch)
The proportional directional control valve app
For the first time at Festo, two proportional flow control functions have been integrated in one valve and on one platform, resulting in an economical and compact solution.