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Multi-Carrier-System delivers flexible, Industry 4.0-ready intralogistics

07 October 2016

Festo 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’ controls expertise. It delivers numerous 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. 

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 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 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 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.” 

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