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Omron brings the factory of the future to PPMA 2019

20 June 2019

Omron will make the UK debut of its flexible production system at this year’s PPMA Total Show. The 60 square meter display will present a wide range of Omron’s automation and robotic solutions. It will showcase an end-to-end flexible automated manufacturing process, giving attendees an ambitious, in-depth look at the possibilities of the future of production. The ground-breaking system is driven by the industry-wide move towards more customisable, personalised manufacturing.

Providing a model of a fully-automated factory, the system brings the future to life using technology solutions that exist today. The fully automated production system, where component retrieval, assembly and quality inspection are entirely performed by autonomous robotic technologies, is the first of its kind. The system is also completely digitised, allowing all data produced by the system to be displayed on a dashboard and closely monitored by a supervisory system.

Attendees can interact with the system over the course of the event, designing their specification, placing an order and watching as the solution assembles their product in real time. Through an onsite dashboard, attendees can customise a product at every stage of the production process, from order entry to delivery, modelling the flexible production lines of the future.

Organisations have been using robotics to assemble complex components for years. However, Omron is taking the process a stage further with the combination of a roboticised arm, connected camera and mobile capabilities. The resulting collaborative mobile robotics solution with integrated machine vision can see the product it is working on, enabling increased precision and feedback that is shared with the supervisory system. The robots are also multipurpose and able to perform different tasks as needed. 

While high volume, low product mix manufacturing will always be a statutory requirement for the food & pharmaceutical market, the growing trend of more personalised solutions, available within a short lead time, is rapidly evolving. Whether it be food products customized for specific nutritional requirements or healthcare solutions personalised to the patient, consumer demand will drive manufacturers to evolve their product offering while creating new business revenue streams.

Product requirements and specifications are changing fast in manufacturing, with the trend towards specialised and personalised customer orders gathering pace, with no sign of slowing. It is impossible to match the speed and changeability of demand with a traditional production process. Omron’s solution will give manufacturers the flexibility and agility they need to personalise products at the point of assembly and meet ever-changing customer expectations.

Daniel Rossek, Regional Marketing Manager at Omron, said: “The factory of the future isn’t science fiction. It’s possible to achieve operational excellence and competitive differentiation with the technologies we use today. With an integrated production system, the potential is huge across the food and beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. You don’t need to build a new factory every time you develop a new product. It is now possible to simply input the specification into the system. In an age of ever-increasing personalisation, it’s vital companies can tailor their products to the segment of one in a way that is efficient and cost-effective.

Daniel added: “Enabling the future of production is not just about the technologies or the impact on product delivery – it’s also about driving innovation through enabling humans and machines to work seamlessly together. It’s no secret that UK industry is struggling under the weight of skilled labour shortages, which automation can help alleviate. Moreover, Omron’s automated production lines mean manufacturers can optimise personalised products through flexible manufacturing, while also achieving higher operational excellence and ensuring maximum safety and quality.”

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