In the course of the OPAK joint research project, which was concluded in September, Festo developed intelligent components, and together with partners from science and industry, the company made manufacturer-independent engineering possible with AML in the engineering tool CODESYS Application Composer.
To make the engineering process more intuitive and efficient, a virtual emulation of the production plant was generated in OPAK (open mechatronic platform for autonomous mechatronic components in a function-oriented architecture). This allows all processes and functions to be simulated and tested by means of the engineering software already at the planning stage – even before the facility is actually built. This requires intelligent components, for example, along with their description in AML and a corresponding software interface in the engineering tool.
The first outcome of the work in the OPAK project was the prototype of an integrated stopper module. In the second part of the project, Festo developed an integrated drive unit: the valves, throttles and pre-control of this unit are each installed in one functional disc.
To demonstrate how intelligent components will function in the production plants of the future, the project partners have built up an exemplary industrial cell with numerous intelligent units such as the stopper module. The integrated drive unit from Festo has been integrated into the “RokuPrint” screen printing system of the machinery producer ASYS, a partner in the project.