The Festo Group
Festo is both a global player and an independent family-owned company based in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company has become one of the global market leaders in its sector over the past 60 years thanks to its innovations and problem-solving competency, as well as a unique range of technical education. Festo has been developing components and system solutions for equipment manufacturers who specialise in the automation of laboratory processes and the manufacture of medical devices since 2004.
Due to its annual double-digit growth rate, the LifeTech business area has been a separate division of Festo since 2015 and is being continuously expanded. In addition to standard components, the LifeTech division develops separate components with new technologies that are designed specifically for the Life Science market. In the development of customised automation solutions for its customers, Festo’s approach involves the joint development of engineering concepts together with the customer, beginning already with the very first planning phase. Since the United States is at the forefront of the global life science market, it’s there that most industry-relevant innovations and new technologies emerge. In order to participate in these developments at an early stage, Festo set up a development centre in Boston.
Product range for laboratory automation
Festo develops intelligent, tested subsystems for the automation of liquid media and sample handling applications.
The focus is on:
- Sample Handling: Feeding and identification as well as opening and closing of test tubes
- Liquid handling: high-quality components and flexible subsystems for reliable and precise pipetting and dispensing.
- In-vitro diagnostics: compact components for the automation of point-of-care applications
One example is the compact rotary gripper module EHMD, which can grip and rotate sample vials, it is unique on the market so far. It opens and closes the smallest sample vials with a volume of up to 15 millilitres without any problems.
The smart pipetting system with DHOP pipetting head impresses with its intuitive operation and easy setting of the target volume - regardless of changing ambient conditions or changing liquids. The smart closed-loop pipette is supplied with pressure and vacuum by the decentralised PGVA generator and has a closed control loop in which precise piezo technology takes over proportional control. Many functions are already integrated, making the system a true plug-and-work solution for the customer, and ensuring reproducible results with high process reliability - in a volume range from 1 to 1000 µl. The smart pipetting system is combined with the disposable pipette tips DHAP, which Festo also offers.
Another product highlight is the VYKA, a media-separated solenoid valve for precise dispensing of liquids or controlling liquid flows in manifold duct plates. The media separation ensures highest possible safety standards and chemical resistance. With a width of only 7 mm (NW 1.2 mm), VYKA controls very small, even aggressive liquid quantities (µl, ml) with high precision. The holding current reduction of the plug-in VAVE electronics prevents sensitive media from heating up. For higher flow rates, the variant VYKB is used. The pneumatic version, the VZDB valve, is used in environments where electrical signals should be avoided.
Also new is the miniature valve VOVK. Due to its small size of only 5.9 mm width and its extremely low energy consumption, it is ideally suited for operating many switching valves side by side in the smallest space. Possible applications include in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) for small point-of-care (POC) devices. The miniature valves activate the process that ensures that the liquid reagents react with each other, and the analysis process starts. Similarly, it can be used to control the flow of fluids in dialysis machines to actuate membrane switches that keep contaminated fluids separated from the system.
Festo LifeTech: www.festo.com/lifetech
Regular news on our LifeTech Blog: https://www.festo.blog
Festo is a global player and an independent family-owned company with headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. Festo 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. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 35 industries. The LifeTech sector with medical technology and laboratory automation is becoming increasingly important. The products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 20,700 employees in over 250 branch offices in 61 countries worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €3.36 billion in 2021. Each year around 7% of this turnover is invested in research and development. In this learning company, 1.5 % of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Festo Didactic SE is a leading provider of technical education and training and offers its customers worldwide comprehensive digital and physical learning solutions in the industrial environment.