DEMCON’s strength lies in collaboration: between all (internal) mechatronic disciplines and with partners in the mechatronic chain. An illustration of this last aspect is Smart Industry 4U, where DEMCON and four other partners combine their expertise to help industrial clients with smart engineering, smart manufacturing and smart customisation. The originator of this joint venture is Festo, supplier of automation technology.
In anticipation of larger joint projects, Festo asked DEMCON to work with it on developing an exhibition demonstrator. This needed to highlight various aspects of smart industry in an appealing manner. Alongside collaboration, this assignment placed a heavy emphasis on another of DEMCON’s competences: project management to achieve a working system in a short time.
The idea for an exhibition demonstrator involved an automated warehouse from which model cars would be delivered for personalisation. The input from this comes from exhibition visitors who would, so to speak, provide their personal ‘message’ on a beer mat. Festo took on the warehouse and the delivery of the little cars; DEMCON developed the personalisation unit, a laser engraving station. In this way both partners acted as system integrator, Festo was able to demonstrate various components and systems, and DEMCON could show its mechatronic project approach.
DEMCON created the camera system that recorded the message from the exhibition visitor, and arranged the translation of this picture into the laser engraver’s controller. DEMCON also automated the handling of the car in the station, for which of course it used Festo components. The mini vehicle was introduced with a platform moving vertically in a lightproof unit and then underwent a quarter-turn, after which the laser processing could be performed safely. The car was then ejected, and Festo could deliver it to the visitor.
DEMCON thus succeeded in integrating all the components in a short time and aligning them with each other. The entire unit was created as a ‘black box’ with its own control, which Festo could easily connect to the rest of the installation – plug & play.