The Festo Group

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April 14, 2021

Festo is deploying its products and services to meet the challenge of smart production for the future in the course of digitalisation. The company also relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Established in 1925, the independent family-owned company based in Esslingen a.N., Germany, has been a driving force in automation for over 60 years and with its unique range of offers has become the world market leader in technical education. 300,000 customers worldwide in factory and process automation put their trust in the company’s pneumatic and electric drive solutions. In addition, Festo Didactic provides state-of-the-art training solutions for 56,000 industrial companies and educational institutions throughout the world. The Festo Group registered sales of €2.84 billion in the 2020 financial year and is represented at 250 locations throughout the world with a total of 20,000 employees. 8% of its annual turnover are invested in research and development.

As a family-owned company, Festo thinks and acts responsibly and with a long-term perspective. Festo stands for clear values, utmost quality and customer-oriented innovation. It has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society.

Festo is advancing digitalisation in all its corporate divisions. Festo is leading its customers and employees into the digital future. To this end, the company is developing new future-oriented concepts founded on the triad of innovative and energy-efficient technologies, intuitive human-machine collaboration, and education and further training.

Productivity – Festo’s core competency

Innovation for the best possible productivity, a global presence and close, long-term partnerships with its customers are the hallmarks of Festo. In the 1950s, Festo became the first company in Europe to use compressed air as a drive medium in automation. The company now offers over 30,000 products and system solutions for pneumatic and electrical automation technology which, thanks to a large variety of modular systems, can be tailored to specific customer applications in many different factory and process automation industry segments.

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These include pneumatic and electric drives, valves, servo controllers, motion control, valve terminals, installation-saving connection technology, handling and assembly technology, air preparation equipment, fittings, vacuum technology, position and quality inspection, sensors and control technology.

The core product range comprises components from every phase of the pneumatic and electrical control chain, with which around 80% of all applications can be accomplished effortlessly and quickly. Festo also offers a wide range of modular systems solutions and standard handling systems.

Important industry segments are the automotive sector, the food and packing industries, electronics and assembly, biotech, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, medical engineering and laboratory automation, the chemical industry and water treatment and, with growing importance, the medical technology and laboratory automation (LifeTech) segments, which have been in focus since the pandemic. Festo also supports all automated process steps in the field of electromobility, from battery production to the production of electric vehicles.

Added value through digitalisation

Smart products, connectivity, the mining and interpretation of data, including via the cloud, and dashboards for visualisation, already offer added value for customers. Products like the energy efficiency module E2M, IO-Link-capable components, the CPX-IOT gateway or interfaces like OPC-UA contribute to this process. Another basic requirement for successful and consistent digitalisation is mechanical, electrical and intelligent connectivity through software solutions, enabling all customers to find their bearings quickly and intuitively.

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Festo is promoting this with an open automation architecture and a large product portfolio made up of axes, motors and controllers. Standardised software tools are also being developed: configurators for smart engineering, the Festo Automation Suite for easy commissioning and the digital maintenance manager Smartenance for reliable operation. Digitalised pneumatics such as the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM makes pneumatics more flexible than ever before. The reason: apps define the function, the hardware remains the same.

In addition, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are shaping the agile product development of the future. Since 2018, the competence in the field of AI has been strongly expanded. The Festo AX (Festo Automation Experience) software platform is an AI-based software solution that allows production processes to be improved, e.g. with preventive maintenance of assets and machines, monitoring of quality in production or energy consumption. With AI-based solutions for operations and maintenance processes, the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of customers is to be improved.

Qualification in the digital transformation

As a leading provider of technical education and training, Festo Didactic is responding to current megatrends such as digitalisation and the energy transition. Because these trends are changing industry and production processes. Festo Didactic supports its customers with learning solutions and supports them to ensure the employability and productivity of employees and companies.

Even at a young age, children and teenagers should be inspired to pursue a technical career through their love of experimentation. This succeeds with robots inspired by bionics. The competence-oriented qualification in vocational training and higher education teaches relevant skills for specific job roles, such as mechatronics engineers or the development of electricians.

Festo Didactic offers a comprehensive range of learning solutions. Learners acquire technology knowledge and soft skills both in team-oriented and practical training on physical learning systems with industrial components, but also location- and time-independent through digital online learning opportunities. The new digital learning portal Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX) creates individual learning experiences for learners and teachers.

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