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Who's who in smart robotics: Festo goes head to head with SMC

Posted: 21 May 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Festo Didati? SMC? robotics? factory automation? programmable logic controller?

In current terminology, Festo fancies its products a cyber-physical systems (CPSs), a U.S. strategic objective, that can be configured into processing "areas" rather than traditional "lines," and which can be quickly reconfigured when upgrades come along, according to Boese, "even buildings can be extended at their ends to accommodate upgraded and expanded processes within the factory."

One-armed robot

A small one-armed robot being installed on an experimental "smart" assembly line in Festo's lab. (Source: Festo)

As a result, the size and complexity of a Festo-base factory can the downsized by a factor of 1-to-3 or more according to Boese, through adding smarts to the same standardized equipment. Factory owners can even mix-and-match Festo components with SMC components, allowing them to upgrade to CPS-class at a speed that fits their budget.

Of course, SMC is still the number one player in Japan, and is also quickly following suite with its own CPS-based innovations, so this interview might have been very similar had it been done in Japan instead of Germany. Regardless, the factory of the future will use both smarter components and smarter workers versed in both mechatronics and IT.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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