REDwire Festo customer realizes big gains from a small investment

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When Promation Engineering won an order to convert a manual box loading operation for a Toronto-area co-packer, Festo Canada provided the gantries, controllers and all other electrical and pneumatic components for the pick-and-place function of the two automated loading cells.

Automation isn’t just for big operations with big budgets. Festo Canada also brings the speed and reliability of state-of-the-art automation systems to small-scale, small-budget automation projects. A recent project with Promation Engineering, a leading integrator and manufacturer of high-tooling, automation and robotic systems, is such an example.

Case in point

When Oakville, Ont.-based Promation Engineering won an order to convert a manual box loading operation for a Toronto-area co-packer, Festo Canada provided the gantries, controllers and all other electrical and pneumatic components for the pick-and-place function of the two automated loading cells.

This particular end user had won a mandate to deliver boxes of shrink-wrapped bundles of shampoo bottles to area retailers that required it to increase its throughput and lower costs. The company required a flexible pick-and-place solution — two identical cells — with a minimum cycle time of 2.5 seconds per pick, with 99 per cent system uptime. Each cell had to be readily reconfigurable for up to 60 possible weight, size and volume combinations, and pay for itself in a year or less. Promation checked out a number of potential suppliers for drawing up its proposal for the end user, and Festo met those specks.

Festo Canada’s Customer Solutions Group worked with Promation engineers to come up with an integrated solution that included two unique features. For the pick-and-place function, Festo provided the EXCT-100, a two-axis, high-speed linear gantry rated for up to 90 picks per minute with a payload of up to 10 kilograms. It’s the largest variant in this new product line, and these were the first two EXCT gantries to be installed in Canada. The EXCT is comprised of two fixed servo motors driving a toothed belt arranged in a T-shape. A Festo motor controller configured for Ethernet IP calculates the position of the interface. For this project, the EXCT-100 is picking up, dropping and coming back again in 2.4 seconds, or 25 times per minute.

The project also resulted in the creation of the Festo Motion Control Package — a unique software bridge between the Allen-Bradley PLCs to run each cell. The Motion Control Package makes it easy for the project manager to integrate Festo control systems with a non-Festo PLC. They don’t have to make any software changes with Festo components when the load changes.

Additional details

Festo provided a true custom solution to Promation, complete with local engineering and design support. To learn more, contact Festo.

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