Exact and Festo establish fully automated test factory

Exact and Festo signed an agreement at the Hannover Messe to establish a test environment for a digital factory in Delft. A few of these Cyber Physical Factory (CP Factory) already exist in Germany. The alliance between the two companies makes it possible for the concept to come to the Netherlands. The demo plant will be located at the Festo location in Delft.

The production environment will be driven by a fully automated and flexible assembly line. Everything in the manufacturing process will be automated; from entering the sales and production order to the actual manufacturing process and processing of the final product in stock management. “In this environment it will be possible to instruct the production environment directly through the business software without human interference”, says Pieter Hamans, Principal Product Marketing Manufacturing at Exact. “Theoretically, it is possible to place an order through the web shop at 3:00AM, which will come off the production line an hour later. This all in a manufacturing environment where the order of assembly is completely flexible. As a result you can vary the way products are assembled and use a different sequence of arranging manufacturing operations.”

Festo and Exact will begin setting up the installation next month. The digital factory is expected to be up and running after this summer. The CP factory will be made available for educational use. Students of the Delft Technical University can perform factory set-up practicals.

“Robotisation and automation are the future of manufacturing”, Dennis van Beers, Manager Director at Festo Netherlands. “By setting up this environment, Exact and Festo aim to deliver a contribution of the development of Smart Industry in the Netherlands. A lot of companies are looking into possibilities to incorporate new technology like intelligent machines and robots in manufacturing processes. We see it is important that both the production environment and the supporting software are ready to support this kind of initiative. Therefore, we are jointly moving forward in this area with Exact.”

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