Festo bridges the gap between pneumatics and actuators


At the PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Festo presents its new all-in-one integrated drive axes Simplified Motion Series (SMS). The company claims that SMS represents a “technical breakthrough” in that it combines pneumatics with electrical automation. This breakthrough is based on how the SMS from Festo integrates ball screw axes, toothed belt axes, mini slides, electric cylinders, piston rods and rotary actuators with an integrated servo motor.

SMS actuators are designed for use in positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding and cut-to-length tasks. Since all SMS components are integrated into a single unit with a unique part number, this simplifies the ordering, inventory and replacement of SMS units, which is especially important for OEMs. The series units include: ELGS-BS ball screw, ELGS-TB toothed belt axis, EGSS mini slide, EPCS electric cylinder, EPCE compact electric cylinder, ERMS rotary drive and ELGE toothed belt axis.

Simple electrical connection is made through an M12 plug design with 4-pin power supply and 8-pin logic.

Festo emphasizes that no additional software is required to operate SMS, as commissioning is carried out via integrated pushbuttons for two-position functionality. Key commissioning parameters include:

  • Speed ​​for the movement of extension (“out”) and retraction (“in”);
  • Axis force in “out” position;
  • Adjustment of the final reference position;
  • Learning the position for the start of the force-controlled movement; and
  • Demo mode, which allows you to test the movements from the keyboard

Digital I / O (DIO) and IO-Link control are supplied as standard with every SMS unit. With DIO control, two positions are available: origin point and configurable end point. Festo reports that when controlling SMS with IO-Link, the positioning along the axis length is infinitely variable, which allows SMS axes to be used as a cost effective alternative to traditionally more expensive servomotors. Using IO-Link, technicians can remotely adjust motion parameters as well as copy and backup functions for parameter transfer and read functions of essential process parameters.

According to Festo, this level of capacity opens up more applications for electric motion, including material handling by conveyor and mobile applications.


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