The revolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industry has merged digital technology with manufacturing. This development has seen AI machine learning, analytics and cloud tech used with factory processes, also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 . Combining digital tech with factory automation means improved production efficiency and distribution.
Motion terminals are a great example of industry 4.0 technology, so let’s look at what they are and the benefits of using them.
How Does a Motion Terminal Work?
A motion terminal is a pneumatic device that uses sensors, electronics and software to control movement and monitor tasks. The terminal’s valves can be controlled by apps and combine the regulation of motion, pressure and flow rate to provide maximum functionality.
Features that make motion terminals stand out as industry 4.0 technology include app-controlled pneumatics, a valve structure that allows for more degrees of actuation freedom and the ability to integrate data collection and processing.
Industry 4.0 technology is all about optimised productivity and sustainability. Motion terminals use smart one-valve technology specifically designed for versatile application and higher efficiency to operate several functions with one component.
That single valve replaces over 50 individual components. It functions by using multiple degrees for actuation, with data acquisition mechanisms for metrics monitoring.
The internal structure of a motion terminal has four diaphragm poppet valves. Actuating each poppet valve individually provides enhanced flexibility. Another four pilot valves control the diaphragm poppet valves for precision, maintaining proportion. Integrated valve sensors control the stroke, pressure, and temperature for accurate monitoring and precise control.
What Can a Motion Terminal Do?
With motion terminals such as the VTEM motion terminal by Festo it’s possible to combine several functions into one component. For example, pick & place automation can be combined into one system, eliminating the need for components such as shock absorbers and flow control valves.
The ability to control several tasks in this way replaces complicated mechanical structures and simplifies the design process. Flexible readouts of the process data also shorten response times to any deviations, creating more consistent quality management.
The smart app technology used with motion terminals makes processes more cost-effective. For instance, you can control the flow of up to eight channels at the same time. This makes filling bottles or containers with nitrogen or other gases more efficient and less costly, with precise dosing providing significant savings. Control features for digitised nitrogen control are tamper-proof and flexible.
The selectable pressure level can shorten cycle times by controlling up to eight double-acting cylinders that perform different machining operations simultaneously. Digitised pressure control enables the user to set accurate working pressure for each cylinder without using any external sensors. This results in optimal process reliability while saving compressed air.
Directional control valve functions are easily managed via a computer system, making it easy to change standard directional control valve functions as often as required.
Reduction in energy consumption is a priority for many manufacturers, who will welcome the motion terminal’s reduced pneumatic energy consumption. This is achieved by keeping energy consumption at the bare minimum for basic motion tasks that don’t require additional energy in the final stages.
What Are the Benefits of a Motion Terminal?
Motion terminals are designed to combine movement, pressure and flow in one component, which has several advantages:
The simple one-valve design of motion terminals and the ability to control functions via smart apps reduces complexity and speeds up engineering processes. Manufacturers can achieve maximum repeat accuracy because of the terminal's digital parameter sets. It’s also easy to trace and duplicate parameters, making the terminal ideal for use with industry 4.0 technology.
Motion terminals are more sustainable because of their pressure-reduced return stroke. Their long service life and minimum energy usage make them easier to maintain. They also have the benefit of low leakage when used for proportional pressure regulation, providing better energy efficiency. Predictive maintenance and minimal installation requirements are additional advantages that make the device cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.
A significant advantage of motion terminals is their flexibility. The valves of the device are connected to form a bridge circuit in the valve's body, which provides a range of directional control valve functions from one valve position. The operator can assign functions to the terminal through the controller, with the ability to change the task request during operation. Manufacturers can use the terminals autonomously to perform precision positioning tasks with greater flexibility because of the pressure regulator functionality and integrated pilot control.
Reliability is a significant aspect of manufacturing. Motion terminals are built for reliability because the integrated sensors monitor the switching of the valves and the pressure in the ports. The connected actuators of the terminal can also be tracked using optional input modules. There’s no need to change the valves because the valve function is assigned using smart software.
Other benefits of using motion terminals include reduced storage space because just one valve is required to operate several functions. Integration features such as integrated flow control functionality means no manual adjustment is required and the terminal's easy installation is another benefit.
The unique technology of a motion terminal’s capacity for simultaneous motion and flow rate regulation provides an excellent return on investment. The device addresses multiple tasks, reducing the need to have complex systems and thus simplifying the production process.
Another distinct benefit of motion terminals is their versatility, making it straightforward for the operator to install the terminals, assign and change tasks. The readouts they provide give insight on how to improve quality and control management – merging analytics with manufacturing processes.
Motion terminals also enable manufacturers to fill containers more consistently, saving on energy and reducing leakage, as well as saving on space. They are a key part of the industry 4.0 technology revolution that’s helping factories automate and operate more efficiently, paving the way for more sustainable practices and reduced consumption costs.