The Festo Group - Life Science market
Festo is both a global player and an independent family-owned company based in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company has become the global market leader in its sector over the past 60 years thanks to its innovations and problem-solving competency, as well as a unique range of industrial training and vocational education programmes. 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. 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 began setting up a development centre in Boston at the end of 2017.
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.
Product range for laboratory automation
Festo develops intelligent, tested subsystems for the automation of liquid media and sample handling applications.
The focus is on:
- Feeding and identification of test tubes
- Opening and closing of test tubes
- Feeding of liquid media and solids
The applications involve the use of both electric and pneumatic actuators with motors, controllers and handling systems, as well as grippers, sensors and camera systems.
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.
New among the dispensing heads is the VTOI dispensing head. With its eight channels and a grid size of 9 mm, it is ideally suited for filling microtitre plates in laboratory automation. The eight channels are controlled simultaneously via only one valve. Thanks to the VAEM valve control module, this is done quickly and with high precision. The temporal resolution of the control signal is only 0.2 ms. Another plus point is the holding current reduction. This saves energy and at the same time minimises heat input.
Product range for medical technology
In the field of medical technology, Festo develops products and subsystems for medical devices.
Attention is focused on efficient open and closed-loop control of medical gases, for example:
- Flow control with compact valves for ventilation and anaesthesia devices
- Pneumatic integration solutions for surgical devices
- Closed-loop control of fluids in dental stations
One 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 VYKB is used.
The lightweight, compact proportional solenoid valve VPWS with a 6mm nozzle was last launched in 2021. It is predestined for applications with small installation space, for example when it comes to mixing ventilation gases in ventilation and anaesthesia systems. It is also suitable for dental drills and other compressed air-operated surgical instruments. Whenever gas flows of up to 270 l/min need to be precisely controlled.
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 es un actor global y una empresa familiar independiente con sede en Esslingen am Neckar (Alemania). Desde sus inicios, Festo ha marcado pautas en la tecnología de automatización industrial y en la formación técnica, contribuyendo así al desarrollo sostenible del medio ambiente, la economía y la sociedad. La empresa suministra tecnología de automatización neumática y eléctrica a 300.000 clientes de automatización de fábricas y procesos en más de 35 sectores. El sector LifeTech, con la tecnología médica y la automatización de laboratorios, es cada vez más importante. Los productos y servicios están disponibles en 176 países de todo el mundo. En todo el mundo, unos 20.800 empleados en cerca de 60 países con más de 250 sucursales generaron unas ventas de aproximadamente 3.810 millones de euros en 2022. De esta cantidad, alrededor del 7% se invierte anualmente en investigación y desarrollo. En la empresa de aprendizaje, las medidas de formación y desarrollo representan el 1,5% de la facturación. Festo Didactic SE es un proveedor líder de educación y formación técnica y ofrece a sus clientes de todo el mundo soluciones integrales de aprendizaje digital y físico en el entorno industrial.