Function integration saves time

By P Wahl, Festo

 

Published in:

Electricity+Control, January 2014 (pages 4 - 7)

Enquiries: pwhl@de.festo.com or tracey.swart@za.festo.com

 

Download the full article on Function integration saves time in PDF format.

 

When electrical and pneumatic sub-systems are separated, all the phases of building, even relatively simple systems, can take a great deal of time. This can result in delays and dissatisfied customers.

In machine building, the scale and the technical complexity of automated systems increase constantly. Electrical and pneumatic drive and control technology, decentralised intelligence and special safety and diagnostic functions are mixed and combined with an ever higher level of customisation.

To solve this properly would require a degree of harmonisation that takes up time. The additional stress this can cause often unnecessarily damages relationships between colleagues, which is why integrated solutions that are more efficient are the answer. Small changes at the start of a project are often enough to simplify the processes for all other departments.

Specialised function integration and the knowledge needed to implement it are becoming more and more important. For a perfect combination of all the different technologies, both multi-disciplinary approaches and flexibility are musts.

Good project processes avoid interface conflicts and optimise the processes. The project process for building a machine or system involves a wide range of departments, from design, purchasing, warehousing and assembly to commissioning. As global competition intensifies, the hours allocated to these tasks in the project budget are constantly reduced; this goes for designers, assembly technicians and commissioners alike.

In keeping with the vision of a flexible, self-managing, productive Industry 4.0 (or Integrated Industries) much more intelligent, interconnected processes and models with standardised networks are needed. Companies that are basing their models on intelligent, modular platforms have an advantage, as they are keeping all their options open for tomorrow and beyond.

Valve terminals with function integration and decentralised intelligence support this multi-disciplinary approach, as they create synergies between staff and between the various technologies, and also provide options for Industry 4.0.

 

Take note:

  • Integrating systems can lead to enhanced efficiency.
  • Valve terminals represent a practical example of an integrated system.
  • Specialised function integration and the knowledge needed to implement it are becoming more and more important.