Roaming around the booths here at Craft Brewers Conference and BrewEXPO America in Nashville, we stopped by the Festo booth (#1924) because, well, we like robots and tech. Festo is promoting the VTEM Motion Terminal — the world’s first “cyber-physical pneumatic automation platform” — to attendees this week. Wait, what is a cyber-physical pneumatic automation platform? The VTEM’s first-of-its-kind intelligent valves change functionality based on various combinations of downloadable applications. A single intelligent valve can replace 50 different components. Let’s let Shane explain.
“The VTEM is more than a new type of valve,” said Shane Loer, industry segment specialist for food and packaging at Festo. “The technology is an enabler of greater competitiveness through faster implementation of new beers, the ability to predict and correct component failure or pneumatic leaks before they cause major issues and more control over processes for brewers and packaging line managers. OEMs and system integrators gain faster time to market for their products and services.”
Still in the dark? Then head over to the Festo booth. A VTEM clean-in-place demonstration shows how altering valve functions via applications provides the ability to change a process without having to replace the hardware. For example, the cloud-based downloadable apps enable the intelligent valves within the VTEM valve terminal to replicate traditional valve functions, including 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 or 4/3 way as well as proportional technology and servo-pneumatic functions.
Festo is also showcasing its newly extended lines of pinch and butterfly valves. Available models of these automated brewhouse and packaging line workhorses feature FDA compliance for clean operation, NSF 61 certification for drinking water, and ISO 5211 certification for a standard interface that allows customers to mix and match valves with the quarter turn actuators of their choice. A Festo VZQA pinch valve has been incorporated into an automated hand sanitizer for a demonstration of liquid control.
Festo is also discussing its Stars of Automation program that guarantees 24-hour shipment of core products. Fast, guaranteed shipment lowers overhead as fewer replacement parts must be carried in inventory. This program also simplifies and speeds up ordering and rationalizes components, reducing time to market for OEMs. Check it all out at Festo booth #1924.