Intelligent Connectivity for Electric Automation

Connectivity is at the core of modern automation in manufacturing and beyond. System links between devices, controls, machines, and the cloud facilitate the use of data so important to IIoT (Industrie 4.0) functionalities. Here, leading trends include the rise of edge computing (including the use of industrial gateways), services that support cloud connectivity, Ethernet-based networks, wireless communications for industrial components, various forms of standardized protocols, open-source programming code, and unifying software environments to facilitate interoperability.


When conjuring such systems, most engineers are likely to picture the traditional automation-communications pyramid. Such architectures include data exchanges between field-level sensors and higher implementation layers … as well as some communications between controls … finally rising to the pinnacle of the enterprise level. But as we illustrate in this Classroom, several technologies have facilitated distributed and intelligent systems with flatter machinery communication structures.

Lisa Eitel

Senior Editor, Design World

Intelligent Connectivity for Electric Automation Classroom Sponsored by:

Basics of Industrial Connectivity

Wireless in predictive maintenance 

Trends in Ethernet, PoE, IO-Link, HIPERFACE, and single-cable solutions

Connectivity and IoT in motion

Edge computing and gateways proliferate for industrial machinery

Connectivity is at the core of modern automation in manufacturing and beyond. System links between devices, controls, machines, and the cloud facilitate the use of data so important to IIoT (Industrie 4.0) functionalities.

Declining sensor costs and improved wireless communication protocols (fueled by the megatrend of IoT) have created an ever-growing mix of suppliers, distributors, and service providers using wireless technologies for machine condition monitoring. 

Industrial Ethernet-based protocols continue to overtake traditional fieldbuses for the messaging of data in automated installations

Actuators, sensors, and other edge devices are fundamental to edge computing. 

IDE and other software for connectivity and IoT design work

Motion control + MQTT, OPC-UA, and other protocols for cloud services

Software that unifies various aspects of automation development is key to IIoT connectivity

Consider the various protocols and communications leveraged in IIoT connectivity — for example, SCADA, MES, and ERP architectures. 

FEATURED RESOURCES Intelligent Connectivity for Electric Automation

Simplified Motion Series - SMS

The simplicity of pneumatics combined with the advantages of electric automation.


The Simplified Motion Series axes are ideal for simple positioning and pressing/clamping movements.

Quick and easy commissioning using the integrated buttons on the motor or via IO-Link

Connection via IO-Link for enhanced functionality including diagnostics

Simple control with 2 digital inputs for basic functions or enhanced control with IO-Link for additional functions

CPX-AP-I Interconnectivity for pneumatics and electric automation

The new decentralized remote I/O system CPX-AP-I enables powerful I/O modules and existing valve manifolds to be directly integrated to a fieldbus.

80+ I/O modules per bus interface, including IO-Link masters

Up to 50 m cables between modules

Simplified integration using L5X export/import into Rockwell-based systems

CMMT-AS Servo drives for industrial ethernet!

The new servo drive CMMT-AS offers connectivity of the hardware and software, great efficiency, compact design and easy operation.

For point-to-point and interpolated motion with focus on dynamic motion and precise positioning

Direct fieldbus integration

Quick and easy commissioning with the Festo Automation Suite

MORE ON INDUSTRIAL ETHERNET

Power over Ethernet (PoE) and M12 connectors in motion designs

What is IO-Link and how is it used in motion control applications?

Increased market share for Industrial Ethernet; wireless stays stable

What is Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) and how is it used in industrial applications?

Connectivity is the basis of all this IIoT — providing the power and data transmission required by controls, devices, machines, and the cloud to execute IIoT functionalities. 

Industrial network connectivity for devices and machines is key to achieve smart connected factories.

Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offer significant benefits to automation and processing plants.

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is a technology that provides Ethernet transmission over a single pair of copper wires.

Trends: PC-based controllers enable easy IoT connectivity, predictive maintenance

Pneumatic actuators and systems taking advantage of next generation data

Rather than traditional standalone systems, modern motion systems are integrated into the overall machine environment, making for easier connectivity and IoT implementations. 

Many industrial applications require linear motion during their operating sequence. 

Realize Your Vision for Intelligent Automation


For nearly 100 years, Festo has provided industry leadership, superior products and global support. From servo motors to process valves, our portfolio includes over 33,000 electric, pneumatic and process automation products engineered to the highest industry standards.


In 2018, we acquired Fabco-Air Inc. and have since worked closely with this Florida-based company to produce high-quality inch-dimension actuators. Through these joint efforts, we’ve released new standard products—all while integrating the same high quality that is synonymous with the Festo name.