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New flow control app

29 October 2021

FILLING CONTAINERS with compressed air or other gases such as nitrogen can be achieved more profitably and economically with the new Flow Control Motion App from Festo, developed for use with its VTEM Motion Terminal.

The VTEM combines digitalisation with pneumatics, marking the start of a new age of automation technology. Digitised pneumatics intelligently connect the mechanical system, electronics and software, ensuring better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) combined with lower energy consumption. The quickly activated Motion Apps can be used to control the piezo piloted valves for almost all pneumatic tasks: increasing flexibility and energy efficiency to accelerate production processes.

For example, it is common practice for food product containers to be purged with inert gases like nitrogen. With the new Festo Flow Control Motion App, users can control the flow rate of compressed air and gases at up to 600 l/min digitally and simultaneously on up to eight independent channels. For more precise dosing, the integrated sensors can be combined with external flow sensors. This saves energy and reduces wastage of expensive process gases.

Further, controlling the flow using the app allows the gas to be precisely dosed. The closed loop control enables the precise filling quantity to be defined. Another advantage is that this flexible, digitised gas control is tamper-proof. The Selectable Pressure Level App can be used to move filling nozzles to bottles or containers quickly and accurately, achieving flexible parameterisation – which in turn shortens the cycle times. After filling, the nozzles are retracted at reduced pressure to save energy.

Adding the Leakage Diagnostics Motion App means maintenance is simplified too, as it automatically monitors for leaks. Malfunctions can be detected and pinpointed to a specific actuator using diagnostic cycles and defined threshold values – the reliable basis for predictive maintenance.

Thanks to the easy activation of additional functions via Motion Apps, machine developers can create a basic machine type using the Festo VTEM Motion Terminal and then select the relevant Motion Apps to equip it with added value functions and features as per the customer requirements or market opportunities. The ability to copy and transfer parameter sets makes commissioning easier and saves time. Assigning functions via software has the added benefit of preventing operator tampering and protecting know-how, since it’s not possible to tell from the outside which functions the valves are executing.