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Flexible transport system can future-proof industry

Flexible transport system can future-proof industry

A new transport system, designed with the electronics industry in mind, meets today’s requirements while ensuring a solution that is future-proofed to become part of an Industry 4.0 installation.

The massive, rapid market growth in energy storage and printed electronics – and the equally huge pressures of time, quality and cost – have driven requirements for new and more flexible conveying solutions. Bosch Rexroth has looked to address these requirements with its flexible transport system (FTS). Launched at the Hannover Fair, the FTS distils Bosch Rexroth’s engineering know-how, automation experience and problem-solving abilities into a single solution that makes production of flexible batteries, displays and electronics fast, accurate and future-proof.

Designed to increase productivity through greater standardisation, and to quickly adapt to changing requirements or batch sizes, the FTS is a scalable system that conveys products weighing from 1g to 2,000kg independently of one another, on workpiece carriers with maximum acceleration. Switch points allow processes to be run in parallel to increase productivity. Where rollers, chains or belt systems reach their limit for any reason, the FTS offers the perfect solution, delivering high accuracy and allowing for freely programmable individual and synchronised movements. It is also faster than traditional systems.

An example of this in practice: increasing battery production by almost 200% without any impact on time to market. The FTS version suitable for vacuum applications can be also used for production of the latest display types, such as OLED, or as an efficient, high-performance solution with clean room capability for semiconductor production. In particular, the completely non-contact drive concept ensures particle-free transport in vacuum.

The FTS is one part of a wider system of easily integrated solutions through which Bosch Rexroth has set out its ambition to future-proof the manufacturing industry. It is complemented by its precision motion control (MPC) system, which increases both accuracy and speed in hybrid and printed electronics production, de-livering maximum perform-ance in roll-to-roll processes and motion tasks in the sub-micro to nanometre range.

The MPC features open hardware and software for trouble-free integration, and pre-programmed functions to speed engineering, as well as enabling users to explore simulation, virtual commissioning and big data analysis. This, together with the FTS and web handling control algorithms, means the company now offers a complete suite of fully connected, IoT-ready solutions fit for the age of Industry 4.0.

Speaking about the launch, Paul Streatfield, product manager at Bosch Rexroth, said: “Hannover Messe gave us the perfect platform to launch our flexible transport system in tandem with our wider suite of solutions. Looking to the future, we’re focusing on flexible machine concepts that support the continuous development of new technologies, and that open up the full potential of productivity in manufacturing. The FTS is one essential part of this, and we’re excited about where we can take this concept alongside our customers.”

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