Festo connects pneumatics and servo motion

At PACK EXPO in Las Vegas, Festo presented its new Simplified Motion Series (SMS) one-piece integrated drive shaft. The company says the SMS represents an “engineering breakthrough” as it combines pneumatic technology with electrical automation. This breakthrough is based on how Festo’s SMS integrates ball screw shafts, toothed belt shafts, mini slides, electric cylinders, piston rods and rotary actuators with onboard servo drives.

SMS actuators are designed for positioning, indexing, clamping, feeding and cut-to-length tasks. Because all SMS components are consolidated into a single unit with a unique part number, ordering, stocking and replacement of SMS units is simplified, which is especially important for OEMs. This series of units includes: ELGS-BS ball screw, ELGS-TB toothed belt shaft, EGSS mini slide rail, EPCS electric cylinder, EPCE compact electric cylinder, ERMS rotary drive and ELGE toothed belt shaft.

Simple electrical connection via M12 plug design with 4-pin power and 8-pin logic.

Festo points out that no additional software is required to operate the SMS, since commissioning is done via an onboard button with two functions. The main debugging parameters include:

  • The speed of extension (“outward”) and retraction (“inward”) movements;
  • The force when the shaft is in the “out” position;
  • Set the reference end position;
  • Teaching the starting position of the force-controlled movement; and
  • Demonstration mode, can be used to test keyboard actions

Each SMS unit comes standard with digital I/O (DIO) and IO-Link control. With DIO control, two positions are available – a main position and a programmable end point. Festo says that when controlling SMS with IO-Link, the positioning along the axis length is infinitely variable, making SMS axes a cost-effective alternative to traditionally more costly servo motion. Using IO-Link, technicians can remotely adjust motion parameters as well as copy and backup functions for parameter transfer and read-out of basic process parameters.

Festo says this level of capability opens up further applications for electric motion, including conveyor material handling and mobile applications.

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