FROM RED LIGHTS TO ROBOTS: OMRON SET TO CELEBRATE 90 YEARS OF INNOVATION AT PPMA 2023 

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Marking 90 years of innovation during which OMRON has continuously pushed technological boundaries from the development of automated traffic signals to cancer cell diagnostic solutions, the global leader in industrial automation is set to celebrate its anniversary at PPMA 2023.

Looking forward to a future of automation innovation framed by sustainability, digitalisation and human-machine collaboration, OMRON will showcase its latest solutions, designed to help industry operate more efficiently and profitably, while prioritising sustainability, the development and wellbeing of the individual, and quality over quantity.


May the 10th be with you…

Celebrating the life and legacy of OMRON founder Kazuma Tateishi every year on 10th May, the company’s 90th anniversary meant that Founder’s Day 2023 took on even greater significance for OMRON’s 30,000 employees. They mark the day by recommitting to Tateishi’s vision of using technology to create a better world and by giving back to society, often by participating in volunteer and charity projects in their communities.

Here, OMRON looks at how Tateishi’s vision, embedded in the OMRON mission of improving lives and contributing to a better society, has shaped OMRON’s innovation and evolution for nine decades, and will continue to be a guiding force.


Innovation milestones

Inspired by Tateishi, a visionary entrepreneur who believed in the power of technology to improve people’s lives, OMRON has a rich history of innovation.

The company’s very first innovation was a high-precision timer for X-ray photography, developed in 1933 in response to a need from hospitals. This marked the beginning of OMRON’S journey in pioneering solutions to societal challenges, and set the tone for future developments.

The unveiling of the first non-contact proximity switch at the Osaka International Trade Fair in 1960 was another major breakthrough, contributing to the creation of advanced machines capable of mass production without failure or wear.

Since then, OMRON has developed many more groundbreaking technologies that have transformed industries and improved people’s lives. These have included the world’s first automatic traffic signal, unmanned train station system, wearable blood pressure controller and ultra high speed fuzzy logical controller as well as automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment.

OMRON has made significant contributions in a wide variety of fields such as industrial automation, home appliances & office equipment, automobiles, social & financial systems and healthcare.

 

Focus on factory automation

The development of relays, timers, switches and other components essential for the automatic operation of manufacturing machines 50 years ago signalled the start of a long term commitment to accelerating and advancing industrial automation.

In more recent history, this has evolved into a focus on factory automation, and OMRON has made great strides in conceiving sensors, controllers, robots and other devices that help advance manufacturing processes. This has yielded several world firsts, including the first high performance smart camera with multi-colour light, SCARA robot with predictive maintenance functions and robotic integrated controller.

 

Automation that addresses present day challenges

In the last five years the world has witnessed a series of historic events – from Covid-19 to Brexit – that have disrupted societal norms and created unprecedented challenges for industries worldwide.

For the manufacturing industry, some of the repercussions have been labour shortages, supply chain instability, rising input costs and inflation squeezed margins – all of which are ongoing.

Factory automation has been key to helping industrial settings to counteract these issues.

Integration of factory devices through the IoT is helping manufacturers to unlock the benefits of Industry 4.0, which include greater efficiency through data monitoring and analysis, and improved collaboration between humans and machines. Meanwhile, the adoption of AI is helping to automate decision-making processes and optimise production schedules, leading to improved efficiency and reduced waste.

OMRON is at the forefront of this movement, combining core automation platforms, such robotics, control, sensing and vision, with emerging technologies such as AI and 5G – to equip the manufacturing industries with creative solutions to the problems they face as a result of macro-environmental factors.

Innovations such as OMRON’s AI-powered predictive maintenance solutions and collaborative robots are helping to accelerate data-driven operations through digitalisation and create a blueprint for the next generation of smart factories.

 

A new dawn: autonomous society

Going forwards, OMRON believes that automation will play an even more important role in the future of industry, as a route to operating more sustainably, efficiently and profitably.

The world is witnessing an interesting and far-reaching shift in its approach to manufacturing. A decade ago, China was the factory of the world, mass consumption was the main driver for production and very little consideration was given to raw materials usage and the environment.

Today we are transitioning away from this mindset towards an ‘autonomous’ approach that prioritises sustainability, the development and wellbeing of the individual, and quality over quantity.

In this new world, harmonised automation solutions that improve productivity and help to solve ongoing labour shortages whilst reducing carbon footprint will be the way forward.

Through OMRON’s Shaping The Future 2030 strategy, Tateishi’s vision of using technology to create a better world will live on, as OMRON helps various industries to ease labour shortages, enhance productivity and achieve carbon neutrality. Ultimately, its aim is to build an efficient production floor where both harmony with the environment and worker satisfaction are achieved.

Fernando Colás, CEO of OMRON’s Industrial Automation Business Unit (IAB) in Europe, says: “Faith in the belief that social challenges spur on technological development and vice versa is the lifeblood of our business. This has never been more applicable than today, when we face a host of challenges, from climate change to an aging population and the rising cost of living. Founder’s Day provides an opportunity for us to reiterate our commitment to ensuring that our efforts in automation innovation are channelled into creating a more sustainable, prosperous and harmonious world.”


Omron will be at PPMA 2023, 26-28 September 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham – Stand B34.

 

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