Festo shows new Future Concepts for superconductor technology. At the Hannover Messe 2015 trade fair, the company will once again be showcasing three new, innovative application concepts.
Superconductors are opening up possibilities for entirely new, previously unthinkable applications in automation technology. They allow contact-free, frictionless manipulation of objects – efficiently and with minimal energy consumption. Their dust- and abrasion-free operation is ideal for the protective transport of workpieces in highly clean environments. Objects can even be moved from behind walls. Festo has already been investigating superconductor technology and its industrial application for several years. At the Hannover Messe 2015 trade fair, the company will once again be showcasing three new, innovative application concepts.
Superconductors are materials which below a certain temperature can “freeze” the field of a permanent magnet at a predefined distance and can thus hold it in suspension. The resulting air gap remains stable in any spatial position. By this means, objects can be stored contact-free without any control technology and be moved with minimal expenditure of energy. “There are already various solutions for storing and moving objects without contact. But only with superconductivity is it possible at the same time to execute a rotation through 360° in any spatial direction – without the need for intricate control technology,” explains Georg Berner, Head of Strategic Corporate Development, Group Holding Festo. In addition to classic fields of automation such as the suspended low-energy transport of workpieces in production, automation with superconductors can even make inroads into areas of application that until now have been regarded as not or only hardly accessible to automation. Objects can now be manoeuvred from behind walls, for example, or be conveyed across system boundaries without contact.
Festo, the first supplier of automation technology to investigate this potential, is once more demonstrating three potential applications at the Hannover Messe 2015: the storage and movement of an object on suspended rollers; a suspended rotating conveyor shaft with contact-free electric drive; and the active, controlled conveyance of a suspended magnetic object carrier from one superconductor automation module to the next.
SupraCycle – contactless transfer
SupraCycle for the first time demonstrates how a suspended permanent magnet can be actively transferred from one superconductor automation module to another. Three cryostats with superconductors rotatable through 360° are mounted on a base plate. Two magnetic object carriers are suspended in the cryostats at a distance of a few millimetres to the superconductors and then transferred in turn from one cryostat to the next. A device on the cryostat provides the necessary integrated intelligence. A possible application based on SupraCycle is the contactless transfer of an object carrier between two systems or across system boundaries, as this exhibit demonstrates using glass bottles as an example. Arbitrarily long process chains are thus made possible for the first time.