By Sharad Matade:
Omron, a global leader in advanced automation, sensing and control technology, with its 3-i concept provides comprehensive solution for smart manufacturing and enables companies to make world-class in India, meeting Industry 4.0 expectations.
Intelligent, Integrated and Interactive are the three main ingredients of Omron’s 3-I concept. The Intelligent aspect makes manufacturing processes smarter by utilizing information technology and creates additional value to the shop-floor by enabling the makers to collect, visualize and analyze data.
Integrated technology offers seamless integration of technologies to improve accuracy of the machines. Interaction between machines and humans creates manufacturing sites where machines adapt to human needs and work together to enhance productivity.
Omron, active in the Indian market since 1980, exhibited its key ILOR + S portfolio at the company’s Automation Centre in Mumbai. Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, Omron Automation, said, “The manufacturing industry may fall short of achieving the targeted contribution of 25 percent to GDP by 2020 and reaching 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, customized solutions and above all a perfect match with global standards – which is not feasible without the most optimum level of industrial automation. There is a need of a connected shop-floor with connected supply chains and connected customers.”
Installation of smart manufacturing components while setting up a factory will help leap-frog the learning curve. Smart manufacturing on the micro level improves quality, yield, accuracy, consistency and productivity. “It also helps understand the manufacturing performance of the plant and adopt needed changes quickly and improve compliance, traceability and build better configuration,” he said. In smart manufacturing, large amount of data is generated at every layer of the process through sensors, vision, robots, and safety equipment. “By using Omron’s EtherCAT network, a high-performance field network that connects drive devices, intelligent sensors and I/O devices using Ethernet technologies on the shopfloor, we are able to integrate all the layers at once. It means all data can be pulled up on PLCs and the PLCs can put them to ERP. Because of direct connections we are able pick up large data and put large images together to the server. Operators can utilize these data for performance analytics to improve quality continuously and proactively,” Gandhi said.
Omron’s safety solutions such as safety sensors, scanners, switches and doors also collect huge data which could be used to improve operations. “Trackability is getting important in the automotive industry. For example, Omron traceability helps one brake manufacturer in India to identify the root cause of the customers’ problems within few hours which earlier would have taken few days or a couple of weeks,” added Gandhi.
Global manufacturing companies, shifting to the Asian countries including India, are bringing faster machines. There is tremendous pressure for continuous manufacturing by reducing downtime and frequency of sudden failures, and improving efficiency. However, many manufacturers face unscheduled downtime. Hundreds of machines have thousands of components and it is challenging to trace the failed component. Omron did a survey and found that sensors face higher downtime for the machines followed by controllers, networks, safety devices, motors etc. The reasons vary from disconnection of cables, noise issues to mechanical reasons. Tracing and replacing of the failed component increases the downtime. With Omron IO link solution, a manufacturer can find the root cause of the downtime in real time. “Omron is the only company that gives a complete architecture to support IOT concept as we are present in components, modules and PLC. The IO link solutions identify the issue before it happens, inform the operators and save downtime. It means it switches from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance,” Harshal Shendurnikar, Product Manager, Sensors, Omron Automation India, said.
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.
Omron displayed both, fixed and mobile robot, solutions. Omron’s Viper ePLC comes in two models 650 and 850, based on their reach 653 mm and 855 mm, respectively. The six-axis Omron Viper, in the automobile sector, is offered in resin moulding, press operation handling, machine loading, sealing, measuring, inspection, testing and material handling applications. “Due to its flexibility compared to other robots, it has high accuracy in constrain paths,” Priyank Saxena, Senior Engineer (Robotics), Omron Automation India, said. The viper can be mounted on table, floor and inverted and has a payload of 5 kg.
Omron mobile robots like autonomous intelligent vehicles offer better collaboration between man and machine. These mobile robots are mainly used to increase efficiency of productivity in manufacturing and logistics by eliminating errors, reducing machine dwell time and improving material traceability.
These mobile robots are easy to operate, have excellent man-machine workspace sharing, are secure, accurate, reliable, scalable, light, easily programmable, cost-effective and flexible to adapt to the size of the floor. Since these robots are equipped with Omron’s patented Acuity technology, they have robust self-navigation systems even if there is constant movement of people, pallets, carts and forklifts, and emptying or restocking of shelves. Hence, they do not need any kind of shop-floor modification and can also dock and undock carts itself with the help of sensors.
These mobile robots can be used in thousands of applications across multiple industries. For the automotive industry, they can be used for tyre assembly where it can transport green tyres from intermediate storage to curing press stations. In the automotive electronics, these robots transport sub-assemblies from kitting to line-side replenishment and for automotive accessories and can be used to transport totes to and from injection molding stations.
Highlighting the utility of the Automation Centre in making these solutions to be experienced by the manufacturing and engineering fraternity, Gandhi introduced the facility as the one-point destination presenting Omron’s end-to-end solution capabilities curated on the mission. “You create a concept and we will help you make it work,”Gandhi said.