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Harmonised automation in an industrial context

23 February 2023

IN AN evolution of its industry-renowned FORPHEUS AI-based table tennis robot, OMRON will show, for the first time at Hannover Messe, how the emerging concept of harmonised automation can be applied in an industrial context to help ease labour shortages.

The highlight of OMRON’s booth, celebrating 90 years of innovation, will be a flexible assembly machine with AI-powered learning, which is making its debut appearance at the Hannover Messe. Visitors will be invited to don AR (Augmented Reality) glasses and try their hand at learning an assembly task with a digital twin. The demo illustrates a harmonised automation approach whereby robots or cobots can learn from and teach humans to develop their skills with OMRON’s core ‘Sensing & Control + Think’ technology.

The robot learns how to execute the assembly task by following the hand movements and learning from the mistakes made by a human operator. From the knowledge it gleans, the machine is able to develop the optimal strategy for assembling this product. A digital twin of the robot is then created to train other operators in a virtual environment. This advanced collaboration between human and machine promotes continual performance improvement.

Fernando Colás, CEO of OMRON's Industrial Automation Business Unit (IAB) in Europe, says: “It is no secret that the shortage of labour is a major concern across all manufacturing sectors. Businesses therefore need to maximise human capabilities through people-oriented automation technologies. Moving towards a harmonised automation approach that balances productivity, sustainability and worker wellbeing is one part of the solution, and the flexible assembly demo is a great example of this approach in action.”

The flexible assembly machine is one of seven demonstrations that will be live on the booth, illustrating how OMRON is combining automation technologies such as robotics, control, sensing and vision with emerging technologies like AI, AR and 5G, to develop advanced solutions that support sustainable manufacturing.

Super-human performance

As well as focusing on scenarios where humans and machines can work harmoniously, OMRON will showcase innovative automation solutions that can elevate performance and productivity to new levels.  

OMRON's collaborative robot will perform a palletising operation together with the LD-250 250kg payload autonomous mobile robot (AMR), providing a talking point for how collaborative robotics technology can dramatically increase productivity in manufacturing and logistics operations.

In a neighbouring cell, OMRON’s MoMa Mobile Manipulator hybrid - a new breed of robot that combines the benefits of collaborative and mobile robot tech - will be hard at work on a flexible manufacturing application with 3D bin picking. A compact and high-speed 3D camera is attached directly to the robot arm, enabling the system to recognise and process the parts at the same speed as humans. This flexible assembly line will also incorporate OMRON’s AI-driven inspection technology, which captures defects with human-like sensitivity. This technology has advanced the automation of inspection into applications that up until now have been forced to rely on human vision.

OMRON’s AI-enhanced defect inspection solution will also be demonstrated in tandem with its breakthrough Flying Trigger technology. This technology enhances inspection precision through its ability to achieve positioning accuracy when capturing images, without stopping the camera or the products.

Digital engineering innovation

Supporting businesses on their digitalisation journeys will be another theme in evidence on the OMRON booth. The automation leader’s innovations in areas such as data science, AI-assisted troubleshooting and sensor-based monitoring and inspection can support the shift to smarter factories and help companies advance from engaging in binary data collection to a position of digital intelligence.

A bottle filling line will highlight the dramatic efficiency and uptime improvements that can be gleaned by deploying AI in two areas: intelligent machine control and fault detection and remediation. On-board edge-based AI within the Sysmac controller allows the system to flag up any anomalies in the filling process in real time, while OMRON’s i-BELT Data Service solution streamlines the management and manipulation of that data.

Using AR glasses, visitors can experience first-hand how it is possible for factory personnel to monitor line performance remotely and work with a remote expert to correct machine malfunctions, reducing unplanned downtime.

A live data space connection on the booth will track real-time CO2 production at two of its factories, one in the Netherlands and one in Japan, to improve energy efficiency in both factories by comparing the CO2 emissions when producing similar products. Data sharing accelerates such innovation, enabling seamless exchange of information.

For information and tickets, please visit: https://industrial.omron.eu/en/news-events/events/hannover-messe-2023