A combination of digital control systems and advanced pneumatic valve technology is driving further integration in digital manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

Connected pneumatics for I4.0


achine safety, connectivity and Industry 4.0 are the three concepts at the heart of new product technology at automation company, Aventics. The company is using the Motex automation trade fair in Germany this year

to introduce its latest approach.

TOOLS FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 According to Wolf Gerecke, the Director of Strategic Product Management at Aventics, the event will demonstrate the way in which the company is partnering with its supplier base in the quest for digitised industry and manufacturing automation. The approach taken by Aventics extends to the provision of online engineering tools on all aspects of pneumatics to help engineers to tackle complex and time-consuming challenges. The recently launched “Smart Pneumatics Analyser“ (SPA) provides engineers with a specific demonstration of the benefits of Industry 4.0. It is a digital diagnostic tool displaying the operating, service and energy data of a compressed air system decentrally and in real time on a tablet. Using this, engineers can set the parameters of their pneumatic environment for efficiency and cost reduction remotely and based on live parametric data.

OPTIMAL CONTROL An example of the kind of product featuring in the new range of connected pneumatic devices is the EV12 pressure regulator, a high-flow variant of the company’s range of electro-pneumatic control valves within the AS3 device series. With a flow of 6500 litres per minute, the new EV12 pressure regulator can be used as a standalone product, in the AS3 device series, or as a battery for block assembly. The spectrum of applications for pressure regulation

stretches from extremely fast changes in the set point, to reliable, constant pressures, to smooth transitions that are made with pinpoint accuracy. Electro-pneumatic pressure regulators ensure sensitive pressure control by combining

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digital control electronics with innovative proportional technology, a task fulfilled by the new EV12 regulator. According to Hans Renders, Strategic Product Management

at the pneumatics specialist, the EV12 offers customers the first pressure regulator that fits precisely into the grid dimension of the AS series, the maintenance units from Aventics. “In addition, the control valve communicates with the control, transforming it into an intelligent maintenance unit,” he says. A further advantage offered by the unit is that the compressed air can be set up to flow either from right to left or from left to right, depending on the mounting orientation and requirements of the individual system. The display enables set values and parameters to be read

directly on site. The EV12 also offers a wide range of electrical connection options using single wiring or an IO-Link or even via I/O modules from the AV valve system. Electrical pressure regulators offer another key advantage compared to manual regulators: they remain stable, even at increased loads.

INTEGRATED DIGITAL ENVIRONMENTS The profusion of connected elements within a digital manufacturing environment includes sensors, meters, valves, regulators, actuators and controllers to name just a few. With such a large volume of data flow between these elements, clarity of information is essential and the ability for engineers to have swift, accurate and remote access to such information defines the notion of I4.0 as a driver of effective operations. With pneumatic elements playing such a predominant role

in factory automation, the integration of valves and regulators into the Industry 4.0 environment represents a step forward in achieving the goals of digital manufacturing. n

❱ ❱ The EV12 pneumatic regulator from Aventics meets the needs of connected automation in an Industry 4.0 environment

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