Festo is an Esslingen am Neckar-based global research and development company supplying electrical and pneumatic automation technology for factory automation. The company also specializes in providing technical training and development solutions. Festo was founded in 1925 by Albert Fezer and Gottlieb Stoll and is headquartered at Esslingen am Neckar, Germany.
The company started as a wood machinery repair service provider in 1925and quickly started making their own tools. As of 2019, the company develops factory process automation technology and tools for industries to accelerate their productivity. These include factory automation robots, saws, sanders, drills, and mechanical parts.
The products can be purchased from over 250 branch offices in 176 countries, with national companies in 61 countries. The company provides equipment for multiple industries, which include automotive, semiconductor, food processing, textile, laboratory, mining and medical sectors. In 2000, the company formed a subsidiary named Festool to manage and manufacture electric power and air tools for carpentry.
As of April 2019, the company is also developing bionic tools and technology as a part of its Bionic Learning Network Program to operate intricate automation tasks.
Since Festo's products are used in various sectors, they must be adaptable to a wide range of production scenarios. They perform very different functions and are operated by personnel with various levels of qualification. Festo’s designers work in close cooperation with the engineering department in developing products. Festo's products are designed with the intention to provide numerous outcomes, such as:
- ease of operation to minimize time requirements of processes;
- user-friendly surfaces with maximum technical functionality;
- straightforward and intuitive operation to make working conditions safer;
- long product life cycle to stabilize customers' processes, ensured by durable materials and design; and
- consistent shape characteristics and coloring structure across the broad range of products to establish product families and create recognition value.
Superconductor technology enables objects to be moved and handled contact free, making it suitable for applications and industries requiring exceptionally high sanitary standards, such as laboratory automation, medical technology, the food and pharmaceutical industries, and packaging technology.
Festo's SupraSensor concept is a levitating weighing pan that uses magnetic field-based levitation, illustrating one of the possibilities of superconductor technology. This concept involves a cryostat and a superconductor permanently fixed on a set of precision scales under the work area.
A weighing pan levitates above the surface with a permanent magnet on its underside, which is contactlessly coupled with the superconductor and by extension with the scales. This process is enabled by the special property of superconductors, which causes magnets to levitate at a defined gap upon being cooled to a certain temperature.
The SupraModule makes it possible to wirelessly control functions on a magnetic levitating carrier with an autonomous power supply. The same system can be used to levitate a variety of applications at a distance of ten millimeters above a cryostat equipped with superconductors. Depending on the needs, various systems can be attached to the carrier, for instance a compact gripper or pipettor.
In this concept, a permanent magnet attached to the underside of the SupraTransport’s L-shaped workpiece carrier allows it to levitate at a considerable distance above a magnetic rail. Another magnet is permanently attached at a 90° angle to the platform, which is coupled with and stabilized by a superconductor, thus fixing the position of the workpiece carrier above the magnetic rail.
Coverings are fitted between the carrier and the superconductor, as well as the rail, completely isolating the working space from its surroundings. Electrical axes allow both the cryostat with the superconductor and the levitating carrier to be moved along the magnetic rail. In addition, the carrier can levitate over small obstacles.
Festo develops custom automation solutions for the process industry, providing support to its clients in all project phases, from consultancy and engineering to operation and maintenance. The process industry encompasses, for instance, the transport, handling, treatment, purification, filling, and waste disposal of liquids, gases, pourable solids, and other substances.
Festo offers products, systems, and services related to pneumatic, servo-pneumatic, and electrical control and drive technology, as well as valves and manifolds for factories and the process automation sector. The company provides sensors, intelligent compact-camera systems, and controllers to set up communications in the control chain, as well as systems for treating and monitoring compressed air.
Festo's main product groups are the following:
- Cylinders, valves and manifolds
- Electrical, pneumatic, and servo-pneumatic drives
- Appliances for compressed air treatment and vacuum technology
- Grippers and handling systems
- Motors and controllers
- Sensors, positioners, and image-processing systems
- Control technology and remote I/Os (inputs and outputs)
Festo operates across a wide range of industries, offering solutions for the production and assembly areas of various industrial segments, such as the automotive or electronics, printing and packaging technology, semiconductor, biotech and pharmaceutical, water and sewage technology, chemical engineering, food and beverages, oil and gas, mining process engineering, power generation, paper production, and the solar industry.
Festo considers the varying technical specifications and regulations imposed by the requirements of each particular sector in the application of its solutions. Across all industries, the company's aim is to measure, control, and regulate fluid media in manufacturing processes.
Machines weighing tonnes occupy an area covering approximately 17,000 square yards on the ground floor of Festo's Technology Plant and employ machining processes such as turning, milling, drilling, and grinding to manufacture precision components out of metal for further processing in assembly.
The highly automated facilities are in operation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, producing the basic elements for Festo products—such as valve assemblies, cartridges and individual handling technology components for linear units, and rotational drives. In the case of many parts, the processing route from the warehouse for the delivered metal bars to the surface finish in the electroplating department runs slightly over 130 yards.
A wide range of solenoid valves and valve terminals are produced in the assembly department, automatically or manually in the case of custom solutions. The facilities each produce over fifty individual types of different sizes. When it comes to assembling the valves to make valve terminals, manual work is still required. A variety of 1040 types is possible in the case of many products, which are made according to individual customer specifications in a short space of time.
Festo Didactic is a subsidiary of Festo that specializes in industrial education, offering training and consultancy services to technical training institutes and processing industrial companies. Festo Didactic's learning systems are used worldwide to train specialists by schools and universities, institutes, and corporations.
Festo focuses on practical learning with real products and industry-oriented learning systems through open seminars, in-house training courses, workshops, or corporate business games. Festo's experts teach learning material on the topics of people, technology, and organization. The company's portfolio ranges from general technical education and teacher training to the training and development of technicians and engineers. Festo offers the following certified qualification programs:
- Mechatronics engineer
- Production manager
- Maintenance manager
Festo's range of equipment for learning covers many aspects of automation in the form of basic and more advanced systems, such as simple simulation software and individual training packages. The aspects of automation covered by Festo's equipment includes: pneumatics, electro-pneumatics, hydraulics, electro-hydraulics, electronics, electrical engineering, sensor technology, robotics, CNC technology, PLC and fieldbus technology as well as mechatronics, production, and process engineering. Festo Didactic's product range comprises:
- E-learning, learning and simulation software
- Training documents, textbooks and manuals
- Workplace systems and laboratory furniture
- Training packages and appliance sets
- Mobile robot platforms for training and research
- Modular production systems
- Hybrid learning factories and turnkey training centers
Festo Didactic has over forty years of experience in the field of training and twenty years of experience in process optimization. Approximately 42,000 people take part in Festo Didactic's seminars and training courses every year.
Festo supports the customer in the tracking of the complete information and product route through the customer’s business for process optimization and organization purposes. Festo's consultants develop, accompany, and evaluate the necessary changes so the customer can then take over the process and continue to manage it on their own. Festo's consultancy fields include the following:
- Production and logistics
- Management and collaboration
- Skills development
- Procurement and supply chain management
- Product development
Festo has been a supporter of FIRST Robotics, which organizes a high school level robotics competition in the United States. The company provides financial support to organize the competition and discounts for participants.
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
Festo - Bionic Learning Network
- AutomationUse of various control systems for operating equipment
- PneumaticsUse of pressurized gas to produce mechanical motion
- CompanyA company, abbreviated 'co.', is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise.