Innovative Machines Start With Components

Jan. 8, 2009

The importance of efficient machines and higher-quality products through the use of innovative automation components was the theme of Festo’s annual conference, held in Amsterdam in December.

Festo partnered with Dutch horticulture equipment manufacturer Visser group, which relies on Festo’s automation components. Visser’s Rosaline sleeving machine uses conveyors, scan cameras and other sensors, and robotic and pneumatic components to efficiently package potted live plants into plastic sleeves. See the sleeving machine in action at

A special double-pressure circuit ensures that the six pairs of cutters are moved gently toward the asparagus in Hepro’s HSM 9.000.
Source: Festo

Other Visser packaging applications discussed include cardboard sleeving machines, flow packers, stretch-foil wrapping machines, ultrasonic lid-placing machines, case packers, handle inserters, stick inserters, taggers and labelling machines.

Another successful partnership to improve industry production efficiency and product quality is the one established by Festo with Hepro, which manufactures asparagus-peeling machines. The HSM 9.000 peels up to 10,000 asparagus stalks per hour using pneumatically operated cutters. The asparagus stalks are washed, cut-to-length and put into carriers on a feed conveyor. Pneumatically controlled gripper systems remove the asparagus from the conveyor belt and insert them in specially developed, tulip-shaped containers. The asparagus then is held by the head using air-filled silicon bellows, and six pairs of stainless steel cutters are moved toward the asparagus to make a complete and even cut all around the asparagus stalk.

Hepro hopes to optimize its machines by making them less sensitive to moist, acidic ambient conditions.
Dr. Eberhard Veit, chairman of the board at Festo, revisited Festo’s partnership with Lely Industries this past year. The introduction of the Astronaut A3 robotic milking machine into the agricultural sector yielded a higher quality milk product, and the precision of the automated components integrated in the robotic arm is what helps maintain the purity of the milk, said Veit. View a video demonstration at

Festo combines technologies such as mechatronics, miniaturization, piezo technology and systems technology, that lead to efficient machine and equipment concepts.