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31 October 2012

Ahead of some groundbreaking technical developments expected to be announced at the SPS exhibition in Nuremberg (27th to 29th November), which we will report on in detail in the next issue of CDA, once the embargo has been lifted, Omron invited us to have a detailed look round its new automation centre in Barcelona.

 This is the fourth such automation centre that Omron has established globally, the first three being in Kusatsu (Japan), Shanghai (China) and, most recently, Fremont (USA).

The centre provides technical support to the company’s Sysmac automation platform, launched a year ago. It will provide training on Sysmac, undertake development of software libraries for target markets, demonstrate technologies and machine models, and facilitate discussions with customers about new prototypes. There is also a Robotics development team setting up kinematics algorithms to handle robotics, with a demo of three Deltas and one SCARA robot in line.

But with the Omron European HQ already established in s'-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands (den Bosch for short!), why Barcelona? Part of the answer lies in Omron’s two main European markets being Spain and Italy, which must be giving a few headaches around the Euro crisis. However, divisional manager Fernando Colás insists that Omron is more concerned with raising the automation bar across the whole European region: "The only route to success in a high technology business is to continually develop new product solutions to automate the widest range of applications,” he says.

Barcelona benefitted massively from the development that emanated from its own Olympic Games experience 20 years ago in 1992. Now, the city has attracted further investment, as Barcelona launches itself as one of the main gateways of Europe for Chinese business. A year ago, in October 2011, a Chinese delegation of 30 companies and four investment agencies spent three days there to find out first-hand the business opportunities and advantages that the Catalan capital offers. Barcelona is one of the leading centres in the Euro-Mediterranean Area, well connected with North Africa and an excellent platform to do business with South America.

It is no coincidence that prior to the Vision show in Stuttgart, the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) is hosting a Fiesta Española to celebrate its new headquarters in Barcelona and set the mood for the upcoming EMVA Business Conference 2013 next year in the capital of Catalonia. This conference will mark the 10th anniversary of the EMVA which was actually founded in Barcelona in 2003.

We cannot invite you to Barcelona, but you are welcome to pop in and meet us in Hall 3 Stand 538 at SPS in
Nuremberg and we hope to see you there.

Andy Pye, consulting editor