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Brand Division Of Align Production Systems

Festo makes a pit(ch) stop at Align!


Festo MML parked at the Align parking lot as Align Engineers do their yearly shopping.

Going shopping can be a taxing experience, but it becomes much easier when the stores come to you! This afternoon, Align was visited for a second time by the Festo Mobile Mechatronics Lab (MML). Their last visit was in August of 2012. The difference this time? New products and hot fresh pizza. While everyone was drawn by the warm smell of the Italian super-food, we stayed for the technology.

For more than 80 years, Festo has been a leading manufacturer of pneumatic and electrical automation technology. Their line of 30,000 components includes actuators, motors, PLCs, sensors, grippers, vacuum components and more. The MML provides a rolling showcase for these cutting-edge automation solutions, allowing customers like Align Production Systems to view demos from the comfort of their own parking lot.

Staffed with experts in the field of automation, the MML has been visiting OEMs and large end-users around the country for almost two years. The 53-ft.-long, 25-ft.-wide trailer boasts 20 working displays, a 55-in. video screen, air conditioning, a 40-KW generator, a 5-HP compressor with 90-gallon reservoir, and a self-leveling feature that allows near-factory conditions.

This building-like truck takes about an hour to set up, and a little less to pack up. On a busy day, it will visit two different facilities.

I was really impressed with the capability of the equipment, especially from a repeatability and precision standpoint. — Align engineer Jordan Shafer.

Inside of Festo's Mobile Tradeshow DisplayThe Align associates who enjoyed their lunch break in Festo’s Mobile Mechatronics Lab liked what they saw. ”I was really impressed with the capability of the equipment, especially from a repeatability and precision standpoint,” said Align engineer Jordan Shafer. “I thought the best example of these qualities was the display that used a photo eye to separate yellow and green balls. The results were very consistent from run to run.”

Engineers at Axial and Airfloat were excited about certain products that could potentially improve their systems. Align Engineers were especially keen on Festo’s precision technology, seeing as many of our products revolve around accurate positioning.

CEO Jason Stoecker had a different take on the experience:

The idea of a mobile office is brilliant, and Align will take the necessary steps to ensure a mobile Starbucks arrives in the parking lot every morning.

On second thought… Jason didn’t say that.  But we can dream can’t we?

For more information on the Festo MML, including a schedule of upcoming stops, click here.

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