23 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Festo drives into the electrical arena



The German pneumatics giant Festo is planning to expand its electrical drives activties, and has announced several new products to help achieve this goal. Electrical drives now account for 5% of Festo`s business and is its fastest-growing activity, expanding by about 30% a year.

Festo, which supplied its first electrical positioning axis in 1989 and entered the stepper and servo motor business in 1997, is targeting systems sales. “We don`t want to sell just a component,” says José Leonett, head of product management for Festo`s electric drives business.

Another of Festo`s guiding principles is that its electrical products should not compete directly with its pneumatics portfolio, but should be complementary. Also, the electrical devices must be as easy to use as pneumatics.

Festo has already sold more than 40,000 electrical axes and last year introduced a belt-driven roller guide axis capable of speeds of up to 10m/s and strokes of more than 5m. This year it will be adding several new electrically-driven items including:

• a cost-effective linear actuator;

• a cantilever axis with an integrated gearbox; and

• an “intelligent motor” with built-in electronics and gearbox (shown below), which is designed to replace handwheels used to set positions on machinery.

Leonett is particularly proud of this motor which will allow settings to be adjusted remotely, making it easier and quicker to change production parameters. “It`s goodbye to the handwheel,” he predicts. “We will soon become a key player in this area.”