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The ‘3-i’ automation concept from OMRON assures smarter factories



OMRON, global leader in advanced industrial automation, reaffirmed its unique ‘3-i’ concept for making the Indian factories smarter by exhibiting its key ILOR + S portfolio at the company’s Automation Centre located in Mumbai. The brand has the widest portfolio of smart sensors, robots, vision, machine safety, PLCs, servos and drives -automation solutions, based on this concept, in the industry and the collation aimed to substantiate the company’s commitment towards ‘enabling the manufacturers to make world-class in India’ in the wake of the speedily rising and demanding Industry 4.0 expectations.
 
The first ‘i’ in the ‘3-i’ concept stands for the ‘Intelligent’ aspect encompassing solutions to make manufacturing smarter by utilising information technology. It aims the creation of additional value to the shop- floor by enabling the makers to collect, visualize and analyse data.
The 2nd ‘i’ communicates ‘Integrated’ technology which involves the seamless integration of technologies through advanced control aiding the makers to pursue maximization of machine performance and accuracy.
The 3rd ‘i’ expresses the ‘Interactive’ element. The solutions based on this component help manufacturers achieve the right harmony between humans and machines leading to the creation of those manufacturing sites where machines adapt to human needs and work together to enhance productivity. 
 
These ‘3-i(s)’ were collated and made to experience in the form of demonstrations comprising of Omron’s big data/IIoT, traceability, robotics, motion-control, quality and inspection, safety, and engineering solutions.
 
Omron’s IIoT based solutions – one of the most notable aspects of a ‘Connected Factory’- create a seamless interface between all machine layers and information technology leading to transparent supply chains based on real-time data based production management enabling the manufacturers to successfully cope up with three of their biggest challenges: reducing downtime, decreasing frequency of sudden failures and improving changeover efficiency. This was corroborated with some of the successful case studies executed by Omron in the automotive sector.
 
Elucidating his thoughts on the progress and role of smart manufacturing in India, Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, OMRON Automation, said, “The manufacturing industry may fall short of achieving the targeted contribution towards the GDP (25% by 2020 and reach USD 1 trillion by 2025) if the automation industry does not work in tandem to help the machine builders make a continuous transition towards smart manufacturing. This ambitious target requires them to achieve unprecedented levels of productivity, efficiency, reliability, perfection, uniformity, flexibility, customised solutions and above all a perfect match with global standards – which is not feasible sans the most optimum level of industrial automation. Not only this, the rapidly evolving end-customer landscape demands a strong push to the Indian manufacturing capabilities in the form of design and energy optimisation, finest asset utilisation, big data and analytics, worker and machine safety and not to forget zero-defect production. For all this, a connected shop-floor with connected supply chains and connected customers is the need of the hour.”
 
Another significant and enthusing part of the whole experiential display stood out to be Omron’s advanced robotics solutions denoting flexible automation for creating super-productivity and super-flexibility at the shop floors of the future factories.
 
Driven by the perceptible shift, in the manufacturing arena, from ‘hard-tooled robotic cell’ to ‘flexible integrated cell’ and from ‘Hard Coded conventional AGV with limited Flexibility’ to ‘Flexible AIV Autonomous Navigation’, Omron has been making rapid strides in the field of robotics. The company experts talked about its range of ‘vision-guided robots’ which are helping makers reduce development time without proving, taxing for the installation space. Not only inspection, they also help in making a record of data and images for future analysis.
 
The experts also gave a show-around of the world’s smartest and most productive Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AIVs) – Omron Mobile Robots. Living up to the vision of the 2nd ‘i’, that is ‘Integration’, these robots harness collaboration between man and machine to increase productivity in shop-floor and warehousing operations.
 
They are easy to operate, have excellent man-machine workspace sharing, secure, accurate, reliable, scalable, don’t weigh much, can be easily programmed, are cost-effective and flexible to adapt to the size of the floor. The robots could be very well placed for the jobs which are mundane, high-precision, hazardous, burdensome, or the tasks that do not require critical thinking.
 
Equipped with Omron’s patented Acuity technology, they have a robust self-navigation system even if there is constant movement of people, pallets, carts, and forklifts, and shelves being emptied and restocked. Hence, they do not need any kind of shop-floor modification and can also dock and undock carts itself with the help of sensors.
 
Highlighting the utility of the Automation Centre in making these solutions to be experienced by the manufacturing and engineering fraternity, Mr. Gandhi introduced the facility as the one-point destination presenting Omron’s end-to-end solutions capabilities curated on the mission ‘You create a concept and we will help you make it work’. 
 
He also expressed positivity towards the sector-based initiatives like Make in India besides stating his concerns that the newly introduced reforms in policies and the positivity in the economic atmosphere may lose steam if the manufacturing capabilities are not developed in the right manner. Industrial Automation has a great role to play in developing these capabilities and helping the makers realize the full potential of smart manufacturing.

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