Seeing the recent rise in demand and competition in the region’s manufacturing industry, we ask Festo about their strategy in helping customers achieve increased efficiency and improved productivity with automation solutions.
(L-R) Kelvin Tan, Product Marketing Manager, Festo; Lee Ee Sian, Head of Sales Cluster Southeast Asia and Pacific, Festo
Recently, Festo has been making headlines for winning the Industrial Automation Case Study of the Year Award for its work with Vietnamese automotive manufacturer, VinFast. Festo was entrusted to provide VinFast with highly intelligent industrial automation solutions to enable the Vietnamese carmaker to meet its ambitious production goals within an ambitious timeframe.
The trust endowed in Festo is in fact a fitting testament of the German automation expert’s commitment to delivering high standard solutions to improve the productivity of their customers’ manufacturing processes.
A specialist that continuously elevates the state of manufacturing with optimised motion solutions, Festo is a brand that has long been associated with advanced innovations in the factory automation and process control industry.
Meeting the Growing Needs of the Region
For decades, manufacturing has been a key economic growth driver in the Southeast Asian economy and is forecasted to continue growing rapidly. The rising incomes of the strong regionwide consumer base together with relatively lower operating costs has contributed greatly to the speedy growth of the industry. Lee Ee Sian, Head of Sales Cluster Southeast Asia and Pacific of Festo says that Festo sees great potential for automation in the manufacturing industry, especially so in Asia which is a fast-growing market.
In response to this growing trend toward automation in the region, Festo has further optimized its strategies to satisfy the demands of the rapidly evolving industry. Moving forward from the earlier years of focusing on pneumatics technology, Festo has now developed a complete range of products that accommodate various industry-specific needs. These products include electrical automation and process automation on top of its well-established pneumatic range. Moreover, the company is not just a component provider, it walks abreast its customers from beginning to end as a total solution partner in the full spectrum of manufacturing process.
Mr Lee concurs, saying “Our objective is to help improve customers’ productivity with our solutions and services. We have further strengthened our R&D capabilities to develop products that fit customers’ needs. Festo is well positioned to work closely with customers in providing them with solutions, knowledge and support.”
Observing the industry’s trend toward higher value chains, Mr Lee confirms that despite providing a more comprehensive range of products and services, the German automation firm is meticulous in ensuring the upkeep of consistent high quality for all of its provisions across the globe.
Fit for Your Everyday Automation Needs
With the long-running deliverable of high quality, Festo was formerly misperceived as solely a premium supplier associated with high pricing. However, Festo has recently made a deliberate attempt to debunk this misconception by shining the spotlight on its core product range. This range of quality-ensured everyday products has allowed the company to reposition itself as a value-adding yet affordable provider for its customers’ day-to-day operational needs.
The core product range comprises of components from every phase of the pneumatic and electrical control chain, with which around 80 percent of all applications can be fulfilled effortlessly and quickly. In accordance to Mr Lee, “This gives our customers additional convenience while maintaining the quality Festo is trusted for.With the recent expansion of the regional logistics centre in Singapore, a faster rate of delivery to all customers in the South East Asia and Pacific region is ensured,”.
Out of the core product range, the mini slide DGST is a great example of intertwining cost-effectiveness with uncompromised quality. Designed for precision, the compact DGST provides linear motion and can absorb large lateral forces during linear movements. Weight has a key impact on energy efficiency, and the lightweight DGST can reduce the payload for handling units, hence, enhancing cost efficiency.
Benefitting Customers through Technological Advancement
While maintaining affordability, Festo by no means falls short of providing advanced solutions to customers who convey a desire for cutting-edge technology. Festo continues to invest time and resources in R&D to stay ahead of the market and provide its customers with tailored solutions to meet their demands.
An example of this advancement can be seen in the development of valve technology. Keeping future market requirements in mind, such as efficiency, environmental friendliness, conducive production environment, extended life span and reduction in maintenance, Festo has developed the next-generation valves powered by piezo technology. These valves are small, lightweight, silent, energy-efficient and offer high-precision flow control. The piezo technology presents new opportunities in markets such as the life science industry which requires precision and accuracy – low error and high repeatability.
Beyond employing forward-thinking technology to increase the efficiency of their customers’ processes, Festo also keeps their customer’s demand for greater productivity in focus. Heightened productivity is synonymous with the adoption of smart manufacturing in the Industry 4.0 movement.
To enable its customers to realise greater productivity, Festo has evolved in conjunction to Industry 4.0 to ensure that every aspects of their customers’ production journey from conceptualisation to actuality are taken care of seamlessly. As Industry 4.0 is based on the vision of fully-networked, adaptive production, Festo is developing decentralised intelligence and control technology, sensors, applications and ready-made software modules that allow for the realisation of Industry 4.0.
Kelvin Tan, Product Marketing Manager at Festo Southeast Asia, says “Festo’s developments in Industry 4.0 is not confined to intelligent products, but includes the entire value chain from conceptualising all the way to production and maintenance. In addition to the hardware, particularly the software plays an important role in networking the virtual and real world.”
Promise to Customers
Keeping in mind the strides the company has made to provide the best solutions to its customers, Mr Lee Ee Sian emphasises that Festo’s goal is to become our customers’ long-term partners, “ Meeting customers’ needs is our priority. From identifying and addressing their challenges to supporting them in achieving their end targets, we are always by their side.”
Despite the fact that customers from different industries have different needs and requirements, Kelvin acknowledges that all of them essentially have the same over-arching goal of remaining competitive. By focusing on customers’ needs, Festo continues to advance in product development and value-creation. Here on, Festo is all set to help customers achieve their production goals with the highest levels of efficiency and productivity.
Innovative Adaption from Nature
Festo takes inspiration from our formidable natural environment in coming up with its newest innovations. Recently released, the Adaptive Shape Gripper DHEF is modelled on a chameleon’s tongue to pick up an object in a form-fitting manner. The project journey began in 2014 and after undergoing technical optimisation and visual fine-tuning, the prototype is finally ready to go into production this year.
At the Audi Technical Centre, the Audi team is using the adaptive shape gripper from Festo to test the handling of components with free shapes and geometries. With great flexibility and no sharp edges, it is ideal for gripping delicate objects such as air nozzles or trim strips.
In the future, it will be possible to use the adaptive shape gripper DHEF in any application where several objects need to be gripped at the same time or objects with different shapes need to be handled. Some applicable examples include small parts handling in classic machine building, feeder units for packaging systems, service robots in assembly tasks, and prosthetic supplement in medical technology.
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