Superconductors and their potential for industrial automation


SupraMotion 2.0: Festo presents three new future concepts for the production of tomorrow at the HannoverMesse 2014.


First demonstrators were already presented by Festo AG & Co. KG at Hannover Messe 2013, the worlds most important technology fair. The three new exhibits surrounding SupraMotion 2.0 now demonstrate the contactless transport and the handling of hovering objects in all directions and positions as well as in sealed spaces. In addition, the superconductors on the exhibits are cooled down to there operation temperature of - 200 °C for the first time without using liquid nitrogen.

In the cryostats developed by evico, small and mobile Stirling-cryocoolers are used to achieve the operational temperature. The very low power consumption of 80 W per cryostat for cool down and much less for maintaining the operational temperature can be provided wether by cable or even wireless. With the inductive power supply that is working through an air gap or even through walls, mobile plug and play solutions are demonstrated.



SupraChanger: Festo AG & Co. KG

With the SupraChanger the rotational motion of a levitating magnet can be controlled touchless. It is amazing how simple different applications can run on the same superconducting module by linking the desired one in the frozen magnetic field. The applications only need to be equipped with identical  field systems.

Three different applications are shown at once: a centrifuge, a mixer and a rotary indexing table. The ring-shaped superconductor module is placed under the table top. The applications are mounted on identical magnetic rings, all generate the identical magnetic field which has initially been memorized in the actively cooled superconducting ring. The applications are alternately placed above the superconductor module. As soon as they come close to each other the magnetic ring is drawn into its memorized position and starts to levitate. A stepper motor controls the motion of the applicaton through a magnetic coupling.



Superconductor cryostatsYBCO actively refrigerated using a Stirling cooler
Cooling capacity3 W @ 80 K, 80 W input power
MagnetNdFeB magnetx in iron yoke ø 245 mm
Maximum load300 N axial, 150 N radial
Controler + DrivesFesto product line
SupraHandling 2.0

SupraHandling 2.0

SupraHandling 2.0: Festo AG & Co. KG

SupraHandling 2.0 demonstrates the contactless bearing and movement of objects saving energy and avoiding friction loss. A hovering slide glides across 2 magnetic rails. It is equipped with three electrically cooled cryostats with superconductors. The slide is coupled by a magnetic coupler with an electric axis which enables a controlled linear movement. The hovering slide is positioned by moving the electrical axis.

The cooling system on the three superconductor cryostats works very energy efficiently. It only needs 240 W. The power is transferred contactless by an induction loop which is installed in the track.
The complete system can be rotated by up to 180 ° along its longitudinal axis. This way, the hovering slide can be carried upwards by repulsive forces, hanging overhead by attractive forces and hanging sideward by a combination of attractive and repulsive forces.

A second slide can be carried and shifted independently from the first one on the same track.


Track length / track width   2500 mm / 800 mm
Inclination angle180°
Maximum load / 100 kg / 68 kg
Cooling capacity per cryostat (3)3.0 W @ 80 K, 80 W input power
Controler + DrivesFesto product line


SupraShuttle: Festo AG & Co. KG

The SupraShuttle shows the motion of levitating objects in all spacial directions. The superconducting module can be moved on a vertical as well as a horizontal electric axis while it is tilted by 90° during handover. A test tube holder is mounted on a magnetic structure levitating above the superconducting module. It follows every motion of the module in the predefined levitation distance. The magnetic structure can be driven easily in a hermetically sealed room. In the exhibit the sealed room is demonstrated by an acrylic dome which is put over the test tube holder.

When the module is driven to the back plane by a rotary drive the magnetic structure is also sliding seamless from the horizontal to the vertical orientation. A water muffler on the back plane stays untouched when it flows through the air gap between the superconducting module and the magnetic structure.

There are various possible applications. Processes in harmful environment or with sensitive media incorporated can be driven by actuators outside the working chamber.


Superconductor Cryostats

YBCO actively refrigerated using a Stirling cooler

Cooling capacity1,5 W @ 80 K, 80 W input power
Magnetic structureNdFeB magnets in iron yoke ø 76 mm
Pay load1 - 1.5 kg
Controler + Drives Festo product line