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From Woodworking Machinery Factory To Germany Business Cards, All Over The 176 Countries, This Company Depends On What Century?
Feb 25, 2018

At the 2017 World Robot Conference, a veteran German automation company called Festo unexpectedly outperformed a variety of industrial robot / service robot booths. Xiao Bian in painstakingly squeezed into three layers outside the crowd three days later, finally understand why.

I saw only like a dragonfly robot flutter with four thin as onion skin mechanical wings, speeding in the air and sometimes speed, and sometimes stop turning, and even regress flight occasionally, tricks, "show off." One side of the dragonfly robot is a floating giant bionic jellyfish robot, it has long antennae, the body is full of helium, floating in the air like floating jellyfish in the water. (Click to watch: Festo bionic jellyfish robot)

However, although Festo all kinds of cool bionic robot for it sucked a lot of "eyes", but the bionic robot is not its main business.

First, a nearly 100-year heritage of the business

Do not be too surprised to say Oh, this stylish business even more than many well-known global companies have a long history, has 92 years of history. Its main business includes pneumatic and electric drive technology, motion control and industrial training, etc. At present, it owns more than 30,000 products and operates in 176 countries with more than 18,000 employees and is the German Industry 4.0 revolution One of the business cards, the German Chancellor has become a regular project to lead the global elite to the Festo booth during the annual Hannover Messe in Germany.

how about it? Now look at those cute cool bionic robot, is not there a kind of respected grandfather selling Meng to you feeling?

In fact, Festo was first established in 1925 as a small woodworking machinery factory co-founded by Gottlieb Stoll and Albert Fezer (taking a close look at the names of the two people, together Festo), while Mr. Fezer gradually withdraws from management After the company mainly by the Stoll family management and operation, has been extended to now has nearly a hundred years of history.

Second, a German premier for the "endorsement" of the enterprise

Mentioned above, Festo's main business, including aerodynamic and electrical drive technology, motion control and industrial training, etc., currently owns more than 30,000 products, 2,900 world-class patents, as well as a series of bionic machines "black technology." In each of these areas, they all have bright blind achievements, but also the business 4.0 business card, one of the most frequently introduced by the German Chancellor to foreign dignitaries.

1) Electric, pneumatic technology world leader

As early as 1955, Festo produced the first German cylinder and then the first pneumatic training room in 1957. In 1975, Festo developed the world's first standardized cylinder DSN series. At the Hannover Messe 1980, Festo's world-first programmable controller FPC606 was unveiled to start the electric drive ...

Most noteworthy is that in 1987, Festo developed the world's first integrated electrical control unit intelligent valve "valve, for the first time to achieve the pneumatic wiring and air piping connections. In the subsequent industrial development process, the valve terminal has become an important technical means of realizing networked and modularized automatic control system. It has been widely used in various pneumatic and electric motor system solutions.

As the first pneumatic and pneumatic company in the world to pass the ISO9001 and DQS quality certifications, Festo products are not only "very useful" but also widely used in the industrial field and very "beautiful" (in other words, high color value) Repeatedly won the German Red Dot Design Award Best of the best, iF Product Design Award, the German science and innovation category the highest award - the future award and so on.

2) Long-term commitment to training and education

In addition to providing pneumatic drive technology to businesses, Festo also founded the Festo teaching and training system in 1955 to provide industrial technical training services to its customers. Currently, Festo Didactic has provided engineering training courses to 40,000 customers worldwide.

This "global 40,000 customers" naturally, ultimately, China.

In the previous visit to Festo's Shanghai Experience Center for Product and Solutions, Festo saw Festo's training facility for Industry 4.0, the CP Training Facility. The CP Training Factory was developed to simulate various areas of production such as Production Control and Planning, Lean Manufacturing, Logistics, Quality Control and Data Processing to meet the needs of Industry 4.0 for digital, flexible and efficient use.

In addition, Festo also cooperates closely with domestic key universities such as Tongji University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Chongqing University in China, including setting up scholarships, subsidizing the training and development of disciplines, and investing in the infrastructure of cooperative universities. Since 2004, Festo also set up the China-Germany Institute of Applied Automation Technology Foundation Chair at Tongji University.

In addition to supporting China's industrial automation education, Festo has also funded education on a global scale for a long time. In 2012, the owner of the firm, Stoll Brothers, won the Leonardo Prize for European Education of the year.

3) 10 years of continuous research "Bionic Learning Network"

In 2006, Festo launched a "Bionic Learning Network" project with a number of renowned universities, research institutes, agencies and research and development companies to design new technology platforms and products through the use of bionics.

Mentioned above have been bionic jellyfish, bionic dragonflies, in fact, Festo also introduced a series of bionic robots, such as seagulls, octopuses, kangaroos, ants, butterflies and so on. Among them, the "bionic grasping assistant" is based on the elephant nose developed a flexible auxiliary system. Made of lightweight plastic, weighs only 1.5 kg and is powered by compressed air and is regulated using intelligent control technology. It won the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2010 award.

Its successor, the upgraded BionicMotionRobot, inspired by the movement of the proboscis and octopus whiskers, uses a flexible pneumatic bellows structure with corresponding valve and control technology that effortlessly mimics the action of both prototypes. With 12 degrees of freedom, the aerodynamic light robot has a payload capacity of three kilos - comparable to its weight and sensitive, soft and powerful.

The latest Bionic Assistant version 3.0 has been able to identify, detect and track the target object, and finally issued at the appropriate time to crawl the command, independently grasping objects, without programming or manual operation.

4) into the German industry 4.0 card

The concept of "Industry 4.0" is very familiar to everyone. It was formally launched by the German government at the Hannover Messe in April 2013, with the aim of taking the lead in the new round of industrial revolution and keeping Germany a leader in the field of manufacturing equipment Sheep status. Festo is the management board and steering committee member of the Industry 4.0 platform.

In various organizations related to the Industry 4.0 theme, Festo joins a manufacturer-independent SmartFactory program to integrate new technologies and concepts into a factory automation environment and to test and develop smart components from different manufacturers together with other companies Cooperation between the.

In addition, Festo is involved in a number of key collaborative research projects in Industry 4.0, such as the OPAK project, which makes the development of complex systems easier, faster and cheaper. The ESIMA project simplifies the detection of equipment energy consumption with wireless sensors and transmits data through mobile devices in a production environment. As well as the MetamoFab intelligent network chemical plant project financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Festo is partnering with Siemens, Infineon, the Fraunhofer Production Systems and Design Institute (IPK), and others.

In the industrial 4.0 landing, man-machine harmony is an important direction. In the Festo plant in Scharnhausen, Germany, we saw the scene where the assembly robot and the worker live in harmony

According to the factory staff disclosed that the robot named USCHI, in German, USCHI is a woman, said slowly meaning. Although the name is very slow, but in actual work, it is not slow, only when people are 5cm away from it, it slows down too close to completely stop.

It is said that it is a product of a collaboration between Kuka (responsible for providing robots), MRK (responsible for safety), Fetso (Automation Control) and MÜKO (Equipment Integrator).

It was Festo such a dazzling achievements, every year during the German Hannover Messe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will bring the world's elite to visit Festo's booth, to introduce them to Festo's various innovative technologies.

Third, after a family of three generations and not bad business

Behind the eye-catching achievements, how has this company developed from a small carpentry factory in the town to an international automation technology leader with annual sales of nearly 3 billion euros in 92 years? How to become a representative of the German industry 4.0, but also how to maintain the company's growth and development over the past hundred years, Everlasting? What is the secret of Festo?

1) Never miss every technological change

Festo was the first company in Europe to recognize the importance of pneumatic to industrial automation. In the 1950s, with the development of automatic control technology and the continuous improvement of modern industrial level, the pneumatic components and pneumatic systems born from hydraulic components have a vast application space and development potential. Festo second-generation successors Dr. Kurt Stoll and Dr. Wilfried Stoll keen to find and comply with this trend, leading Festo in this area continue to grow and develop. In 1955, Festo officially put into the pneumatic product development and sales.

In recent years, the digitization of the industry has become an important trend. Against this background, Festo officially launched its new digital strategy this year, embracing the Internet of Things and digitalization through such means as hardware software, hardware digitalization, data cloud-based and customer communication data.

In the meantime, Festo unveiled its new product VTEM Digital Control Terminal at the Hannover Messe in April this year, a hardware-software product that integrates the functions of more than 50 individual components and modifies parameters only through software , You can achieve completely different functions, truly flexible production.

In addition, Festo launched the Bionic Learning Network project, drawing inspiration from nature and transforming efficient strategies in nature into automated technologies.

From woodworking machinery to pneumatic control technology, electric control technology, to digitization, and then to inspiration for bionic learning, Everlasting derives from the keen capture of the industry change and rapid action.

2) R & D high input, keeping up with the trend of technology development

Seize the opportunity of the change of the times at the strategic level. At the tactical level, we will ensure the continuous innovation and competitiveness of our products through high R & D investment and keeping up with the technological development trend.

It is understood that Festo 8% of annual turnover for new products and new technology research and development - far higher than the world-renowned enterprises. This is evident from the ever-increasing number of world-class patented products each year. Currently, Festo has 2,900 world-class patented products, each born hundreds of innovative products.

In addition, Festo is also working with global technology companies to test the latest technology research and applications.

Not long ago, Festo and Huawei jointly tested 5G cloud-based robots in Germany. Both parties will test scenarios in many industrial environments and verify whether 5G networks are the basic technology for future smart production.

Because for autonomous robots, the basic functions of robots must be decoupled from high-performance computing systems to cope with the expansion of system computing power and energy consumption, to modularize software applications and to select part of the migration from the robot side To create clouds, and then communicate through the 5G network. In the case of a network outage, the computer must ensure that the robot can continue to perform the necessary safety operations.

(A representative product of Festo and Huawei cooperation test - the balance ball platform, a robot system consisting of a Festo robot arm equipped with a five-axis robot, a resistive touch screen and a cloud)

3) to strengthen the creativity of staff training

R & D investment at the same time, Festo also attaches great importance to the cultivation of staff creativity and incentives. Each year Festo spends about 1.5% of its turnover on employee training and development, and since 2008, the second generation successor to Festo, Dr. Kurt Stoll, has set up and sponsored the annual "Invention Award" , In recognition of the emerging inventions within the company to encourage innovative culture.

In 2017, for example, there are 10 best patent awards for this year's Employee Invention Award and 1 special award.

Fourth, Germany's Festo, China's Festo, the world's Festo

In Germany, Festo is a business 4.0 business card and is the guest of German chancellor. In China, Festo owns its second largest subsidiary in the world and is a key concern of leaders at all levels. It has two global production centers and one Asia Pacific Technology Center; Festo has offices in 61 countries around the world, with more than 250 subsidiaries, as well as authorized agencies in more than 40 countries serving clients in 176 countries around the world.

From an insignificant woodworking machinery factory to a multinational family business that has not deteriorated for nearly a hundred years, Festo relies on the general trend of the industry, continued investment in cutting-edge technologies and continuous application of new products as well as continuous attention and input to talents .