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Festo Uses Natural Waves to Convey Delicate Items

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TJ McDermott
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Wear Item
TJ McDermott   1/22/2014 1:06:32 PM
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Suction cups used in vacuum handling systems frequently have a bellows component to them.  Suction cups contacting the product being handled are a wear point and must be replaced periodically.

Replacing the large quantities of bellows on this type of conveyor will be an interesting scheduled maintenance task.

Amclaussen
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Re: Wear Item
Amclaussen   1/23/2014 11:42:30 AM
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It depends, T.J.

Bellows can be made to endure if the design is correct. I've seen many bellows failing when the geometry or materials were inapropriate. Stress concentration in the creases or pleats is a frequently seen cause of failure. On the contrary, properly made Speaker cone suspensions usually operate for many more cycles than bellows without developing cracks or ruptures, and those that fail are frequently because of poor material selection (foam speaker surrounds come to my mind).  but I concour that it can be a source of maintenence nightmares if design or execution is not correct.  Amclaussen.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Wear Item
TJ McDermott   1/23/2014 11:51:18 AM
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I missed the link to the Festo PDF.  I thought the bellows were in direct contact with the product being conveyed.

With a flexible sheet between the bellows and the product, only the sheet need be replaced - a much simpler maintenance task.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wear Item
Rob Spiegel   1/23/2014 12:31:23 PM
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Good point, TJ. It would be intersting to know how often the bellows would need to be replace. My guess, not very often.

Charles Murray
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Festo
Charles Murray   1/22/2014 8:39:02 PM
Festo is an amazingly clever and innovative company, as we've seen previously from concepts like the pneumatic jellyfish (AquaJelly) and the SmartBird.

Amclaussen
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Re: Festo
Amclaussen   1/23/2014 11:49:50 AM
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Good point, Charles.  I've worked in the past (about 20 years ago) with some Festo engineers  with very positive results. It was an implementation of a Pneumatic fire pump engine controller panel, meant to replace an improperly selected electrical panel that would never comply with the hazardous area requirements.  Even when Festo in Mexico didn't had that specialty area in their line at that time, they were supported from Germany and were able to supply the panels on time and working as desired.  The fact  in that case was that the company personnel had the attitude to proceed to tackle the job.  Other companies would simply had declined.  Amclaussen.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Festo
Rob Spiegel   1/23/2014 12:54:36 PM
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Yes, Chuck, Festo has a Bionic Learning Center devoted to learning from nature:

http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/9617.htm

 

Charles Murray
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Re: Festo
Charles Murray   1/23/2014 7:19:15 PM
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Thanks for the link, Rob. I hadn't seen it before. It takes a company with vision to invest in that kind of technology and have the patience to nurture it.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Festo
Rob Spiegel   1/23/2014 7:52:39 PM
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Good point, Chuck. I was very surprised to see Festo's commitment to natural processes. Usually you only see that advanced R&D coming out of non-industrial organizations such as universities and the military.

NadineJ
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Re: Festo
NadineJ   1/27/2014 6:30:51 PM
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Great post.  This is another good example of cooperative development leading to something innovative.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Festo
Rob Spiegel   1/28/2014 11:55:15 AM
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Thanks Nadine. Innovative indeed. Makes me wonder whether this was an idea that came before the need was identified. It may seem odd, but we're seen some great technology in the past couple decades where the technology showed up before the need was apparent. Almost everything on the Internet came from this approach.

William K.
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Re: Festo
William K.   1/23/2014 2:20:57 PM
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It has been my experience that Festo engineers often come up with brilliant ideas. Possibly there  could be an interesting article about the culture and policies that promote such a steady stream of excellent ideas and inventions.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Re: Festo
OLD_CURMUDGEON   1/24/2014 12:03:15 PM
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For close to the past 20 years, we have standardized on FESTO actuators, cylinders & control & accessories without having a single failure in that time.  The ONLY non-FESTO pneumatic components used on the machines that process our products are items for which FESTO has NO close substitute.  And, these items are VERY few.

The engineering assistance from FESTO is exceptional, and the sales engineers we've dealt with over these two decades are phenomenonly well-versed & capable.

William K.
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Re: Festo
William K.   1/24/2014 3:10:25 PM
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It seems that I am not the only one to be impressed by Festo.  Now if some others could work to copy those quality and skill levels.

Pubudu
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Re: Festo
Pubudu   1/28/2014 11:27:14 AM
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True Charles They are pretty innovative and I like the concept of New CPX-FB36 Node for EtherNet/IP Communications.

TJ McDermott
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Video Link
TJ McDermott   1/23/2014 11:54:20 AM
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http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/13136.htm

This page has a video of the conveyor. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Video Link
Rob Spiegel   1/23/2014 1:13:49 PM
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Thanks TJ, I really apprecaite the link. Good video.

GlennA
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Gold
transport / tumble ?
GlennA   1/23/2014 12:49:12 PM
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The conveyor belt is stationary, but the 'delicate' fruits or vegetables will move with the 'wave' ?  I have an image of apples going in one end, and after a distance of rolling, tumbling, and bumping into the other apples, exiting as apple sauce.  I think delicate produce may be better off with a moving belt.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: transport / tumble ?
Rob Spiegel   1/27/2014 12:58:44 PM
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That's an interesting image, GlennA. I guess the next video we should see of this is one with actual fruit.

bobjengr
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FESTO AND WAVE HANDLING
bobjengr   1/25/2014 11:49:04 AM
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Great Post.  I have used Festo equipment for the past 25 years.  They have always provided excellent quality and great technical support.  I did not realize their wave handling technology existed so I really appreciate the information.  I can certainly understand the great need for providing conveyors used to move delicate materials.  The video of their device transporting an egg really says it all.  Many thanks Rob for the great information.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: FESTO AND WAVE HANDLING
Rob Spiegel   1/27/2014 10:28:51 AM
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Thanks Bobjengr. Yes, the wave technology for conveyors really came out of the blue. But lots of developments are coming out of the  blue in automation these days. 

taimoortariq
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smart conveyer system
taimoortariq   1/26/2014 12:00:29 AM
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What an exciting application. Festo is really concentrating alot on its R&D department and is definitely contributing towards the advancement on the automation industry. They truly have great minds.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: smart conveyer system
Rob Spiegel   1/27/2014 11:53:09 AM
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That's pretty good, Taimoortariq. Yes, Festo has delivered a very interesting way of bringing natural movement to the automation world.

cookiejar
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I don't get it.
cookiejar   2/4/2014 12:30:34 PM
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Since the only motion in the conveyor is the up and down of the actuators, that would mean that the delicate produce would have to advance by rolling.  Produce is odd shaped so it would tumble down the conveyor bumping into other delicate produce and having a mind of its own as to its path, bouncing off the sides etc.   Is the intent for the delicate produce to slide?  But that would abrade its delicate skin and not keep it from tumbling.
Perhaps there's no provision for programing the actuators as that would be an impossible task.
Is there something I have missed?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: I don't get it.
Rob Spiegel   2/6/2014 12:57:41 PM
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These are good questions, Cookiejar. I think we would need to see a video of actual delicate items on this conveyor.

cookiejar
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Re: I don't get it.
cookiejar   2/7/2014 8:26:45 AM
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Assuming that the product does reduce damage to delicate produce, perhaps they are talking about water conveying floating produce using waves generated by the actuators located on the bottom of an elongated tank.   
Their website however does show perfect spheres rolling down the waves  created by actuators deforming the conveyor surface.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: I don't get it.
Rob Spiegel   2/7/2014 11:14:14 AM
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You're right, CookieJar45. We do n't get to see ripe pears of eggs. However, if it's like wood floating down a stream, they probably won't crash into each other. They're just bump each other softly.

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