Automation as a catalyst for industrial transformation

How can industrial transformation be achieved at an acceptable cost? What ecological innovations can industry expect in the coming years? Automation provides answers to these questions. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024 (22-16 April), Festo will be showcasing many solutions for electromobility, green hydrogen and bioreactors.

The industrial transformation is currently most evident in electromobility. But what actually happens to batteries at the end of their life cycle? After around 15,000 charging cycles, the question of recycling the materials they contain arises. By 2025, an estimated 600,000 tons of used batteries will be ready for recycling. Only automation makes it possible to manage the dismantling and recycling process economically. Festo already offers a portfolio of solutions for the clean and economical dismantling and recycling of used batteries – and will be showcasing it alongside many other developments at HANNOVER MESSE 2024.

Mechanical dismantling in four fully automated steps

In the first step of the battery recycling process, the packs are mechanically dismantled into modules, battery cells and other components. In recycling plants, for example, space-saving gantries with electric and pneumatic axes from Festo are in operation. These gantries offer the necessary flexibility, as the batteries are designed differently depending on the manufacturer and vehicle model. Mechanical dismantling is fully automatic. This usually involves four steps: First, the cooling circuit is checked and then the adhesive bead is cut open, which serves as a sealing compound between the upper and lower parts of the housing. Linear swing clamps then reliably fix the upper part of the housing in place. In the final step, the upper part of the housing is lifted. Vacuum suction cups are used here.

Ways to recycle rare minerals

Most electric vehicles run on lithium-ion batteries. If they are not disposed of properly at the end of their life cycle, they are dangerous for people and the environment. The EU Battery Directive stipulates that batteries must be reused, reconditioned or recycled at the end of their life. The recycling process is based on a chemical precipitation method using acid. This recovers rare minerals from the black mass as metal salt. The battery manufacturers receive the metal salt for the production of new batteries. Various Festo process automation components are used in a recycling plant for this purpose, such as angle seat valves that reliably shut off gaseous or liquid media in piping systems. Butterfly valve units meter the fluid flows precisely. Robust and corrosion-resistant linear actuators are available for actuating process valves such as knife gate and knife gate valves or valves without housings. The classic modular valve terminal with CPX-MPA electrical terminal is ideal for decentralized automation solutions to control the pneumatics.

Automation concepts for green hydrogen

Hydrogen will play a key role in the future energy landscape and in the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries such as the chemical, steel and cement industries. Many safety requirements must be taken into account in production and infrastructure. Depending on the type and nature of production, centralized and/or decentralized automation concepts, space-saving control cabinet solutions or modular concepts can be considered. In Hanover, Festo is showcasing a broad portfolio that supports the industrial transformation of the energy sector with the right technological innovations.

Safe hydrogen production with electrolysis

The electrolyzer is the central element along the hydrogen value chain. Electrolysis with sustainable electricity is already being used as an established technology to produce hydrogen with zero emissions. An electrolyser uses products that are certified for SIL and global use in hazardous areas. These include robust and corrosion-resistant solenoid valves VOFC, but also the valve terminal VTUG with 48 valve functions per valve terminal. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024, Festo will be showcasing products that cover the specifics of hydrogen production.

BioTech Automation: Products and solutions for bioreactors

Bioprocesses are becoming increasingly important for industry, as they offer sustainable alternatives to conventionally manufactured products. Festo’s product portfolio can already serve the growing biologization market in many areas, particularly in gassing, liquid handling and the holistic automation of bioreactors. In Hanover, Festo will be demonstrating how selected cultivation processes can succeed with more than 30 automation technology catalog products.

Visit Festo at HM2024 on in Hall 7, Stand D31

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