The Journal of Industry and Technology

Industrial Analytical Instrumentation

Euro Technology

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Automation and control

Multi-Carrier-System from Festo and Siemens
delivers flexible, Industry 4.0-ready intralogistics

Festo, the leading supplier of automation equipment, has announced the Multi-Carrier-System (MCS), its Industry 4.0-ready linear motor track system, jointly developed with Siemens. Winner of two 2016 PPMA Industry Awards, for Most Innovative Automation System and Partnership of the Year, MCS is an adaptable, modular transport solution for manufacturing and production, combining linear motor and mechanical guidance technology from Festo with Siemens' extensive controls expertise. It delivers unparalleled levels of flexibility and can be easily incorporated into existing processing and packaging environments.

MCS addresses the acute need for flexibility in modern manufacturing and production environments driven by increasingly complex product diversity, shorter product life cycles and growing levels of mass customisation. Potential applications include cosmetics packaging with its huge number of product variants, food and beverage processing with quick seasonal changes or industrial manufacturing of customised, bespoke products.

Its configurable linear transport rail can be easily integrated into existing intralogistics and standard conveyor systems, with precise synchronisation and seamless infeed and outfeed of transport carriers. Movement of carriers within the system can be rapidly adapted to deal with different formats, sizes and types of product - down to batch sizes of one, or even to handle seasonal requirements.

Image 1: The Multi-Carrier-System (MCS), a flexible transport system for manufacturing and production jointly developed by Festo and Siemens.

Image 2: An individual MCS carrier, which requires no motor, cables or active electronics.

Image 3: Fixed carriers of the Multi-Carrier-System (MCS) can be transported from one side of the plant to the other in a recirculation system.

Motion profiles can be defined for each carrier, enabling them to move freely and independently of all other carriers - at speed, jerk-free and precisely. They can be started and stopped at any desired position and moved towards each other without risk of collision, as well as grouped together and moved synchronously at fixed distances. Carriers can also effortlessly transfer between linear motor sections and the standard recirculating conveyor system, so users benefit from shorter set-up times, virtually seamless format changes and reduced maintenance costs thanks to lower wear.

Incorporating decentralised sensors and intelligence, MCS also addresses Industry 4.0 requirements and applications. Its exceptionally flexible electromechanical design enables adaptable, reconfigurable and economic production, even for mixed requirements and small batch sizes, while its OPC-UA interface enables integration into Industry 4.0 host environments.

"This award-winning collaboration between two industrial automation leaders has resulted in an innovative and versatile transport system for manufacturing and production which delivers flexibility and modularity for machine builders that have to manage large product diversity," says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. "We are delighted the judges of the prestigious PPMA (Processing & Packaging Machinery Trade Association) Group Industry Awards 2016 have recognised MCS, Festo and Siemens with two awards, Most Innovative Automation System and Partnership of the Year, citing the innovation, flexibility and impact MCS offers machine builders, deeming it 'excellent engineering' and 'well integrated'."

"We are delighted to work with Festo, who are without doubt a market leader in industrial automation," says Keith Thornhill, Business Manager for Food & Beverage at Siemens. "This award-winning partnership will increase efficiency and create real value for customers across the UK. The Multi-Carrier-System is a concrete example of Industry 4.0 being realised - radically boosting flexibility in complex manufacturing and production environments."

Festo in profile
Festo is a leading international supplier of automation technology with a turnover in 2011 of over €2.1 billion. Festo employs more than 15,000 people worldwide and is a proven innovator and problem solver in the field of pneumatic and electrical automation where it has established itself as the performance leader.

Festo Industrial Automation's innovative strength is demonstrated through the introduction of around 100 new products being launched every year. The company invests 9% of its turnover in R&D resulting in over 2,900 patents held worldwide.

For further information about the company's products and services, view website:

Festo Training & Consulting specialises in the development of people, organisations and technology skills. Offering a range of open courses, structured development programmes and tailor-made, customer-specific projects, Festo trains over 42,000 delegates worldwide every year.

For further information on the training and consulting services, view website :

Festo's Bionic Learning Network encapsulates the innovative nature of Festo, raising awareness and attracting talent to the company. Exploring the links between nature and technology opens up new areas of innovation and demonstrates complex ideas in a stimulating and enjoyable way. Festo works with an alliance of internal R&D, external educational establishments and specialist companies, to advance the development of bionic solutions for automation applications of the future.

For further information about Festo's Bionic Learning Network, view website:   
Refer to page 393

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