Adaptability, flexibility and the use of the OPC UA communication standard are some key Industry 4.0 features that are typical of the gripper units used for engine block assembly in the automotive industry. Festo is using these features to respond to the major issues that Industry 4.0 presents, such as the dynamic assembly processes in systems that undergo many changes.
When a gripper unit is being used for engine block assembly, it is clear just how flexible and efficient a system it is: the engine block, seal, pistons, cylinder head and screws are gripped in parallel and assembled in two steps. The secret lies in the parallel method of engine block assembly, which is faster and less expensive than sequential manufacturing—and can be carried out with the option of servo-pneumatic or electric axes such as the toothed belt axis ELGA-TB-KF or the electric cylinder ESBF-BS.
Adaptive and flexible
Thanks to decentralised intelligence on the valve terminal CPX/VTSA, the space-saving parallel grippers HGPL-B together with vacuum grippers and a vacuum generator OVEM, are flexible, adaptive and versatile when carrying out different gripping processes. The sturdy valve terminal VTSA with a high flow rate, and the automation platform CPX, create a strong partnership as clever diagnostics concepts with CPX decrease idle time, increase availability and reduce operating costs.
The gripper unit can be adapted to suit the user’s own individual requirements. Thanks to its intelligent design, it is faster than conventional gripper systems – and includes complete, integrated sensor technology and mechanics as well as direct signal processing. A CODESYS controller CPX-CEC in IP65/67 provides a compact and on-site control system for the gripper unit. As a result, the gripper unit has no need for a control cabinet at all and valuable space can be saved even during the planning process. All fieldbuses and Industrial Ethernet, as well as the OPC UA Industry 4.0 standard, are available as interfaces.
Generating more data is one issue, but interpreting it and arriving at the right conclusions is another. Employees in industry as well as students at vocational colleges and universities will therefore need to be trained specifically for Industry 4.0.
An understanding of fully automated digital production technologies and knowledge of the layout and programming of digital system networks is crucial. Otherwise, tomorrow’s employees will not be able to operate and optimise systems or develop flexible, intelligent components, and thus make a contribution to the necessary versatility and adaptability of the systems.
Festo Didactic offers a cyber-physical learning and research platform in the form of the CP Factory. This platform models the stations in a real production plant. Learning content includes, for example, systems programming, networking, energy efficiency and data management. The platform also enables flexible software solutions to be developed and tested so that they can be used in production.