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Automation blog

Operational Excellence
future of storing warehouse bboard comp

Transforming Logistics with Automation: Meeting Diverse Client Demands

05 June, 2024 The logistics landscape is evolving, with clients increasingly expecting comprehensive services, including personalised, customised, and seasonal packaging alongside various value-added services.Personalised Packaging:Consumers now want products that meet their exact specifications. This trend spans from everyday items to luxury goods, making it challenging to ensure the correct product is paired with the appropriate personalised packaging. The personalised packaging market is growing at over 5% annually. Surveys indicate that over half of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a vendor if they receive a product in personalised packaging.Customised Packaging:Customised packaging caters to specific client branding requirements to appeal to particular market segments, such as bulk-to-brand packaging in the retail sector for products like instant coffee, baby formula, or sealed foods. This often necessitates batch runs, which can be inefficient for manufacturers. Market research by Nielsen shows that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products designed for their segment or demographic group.Seasonal Packaging:Seasonal packaging significantly influences consumer buying decisions. A survey by the Paper and Packaging Board found that 44% of consumers say festive packaging increases their excitement about a product. Additionally, 60% of consumers are likely to share pictures of seasonally packaged products on social media, enhancing brand visibility and engagement.Many clients now request value-added services, including co-packing, labelling, and other enhancements that prepare the product for the consumer market.
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Operational Excellence
warehouse 5 bboard sol

The Future of Storing and Moving Stuff: Why Trying New Things and Teamwork Matter

10 April, 2024 In the rapidly evolving world of logistics, the industry dedicated to storing and moving goods is at a pivotal moment, marked by both unprecedented growth and daunting challenges. Over the last decade, storage space, particularly in the form of warehouses, has seen a remarkable expansion. Specifically, shed space has grown by 61% in the last decade and an impressive 22% in just the last three years. Despite the recent slowdown in e-commerce activity caused by the increased cost of living, the trend since 2015 is overwhelmingly positive and will continue to drive a strong demand for warehouse space in the future. However, as these storage spaces become more common, the industry faces a significant challenge: a growing labour shortage that threatens to slow down its expansion.
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Sustainable Manufacturing
women-in-automation-factory bboard sol

Industrial automation and robotics: still a man’s world?

07 February, 2024 What is it like being a woman in automation today? Three women from OMRON Europe talk about their experiences in the world of industrial automation, the challenges they face, and the tools and support that have helped them to thrive.When Wendy Tonks first started her career in engineering in the UK just over 20 years ago, one of the first ground rules that she had to lay down was that she wasn’t a tea lady.
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Flexible Manufacturing
flexible manufacturing for-at-in-the machine bboard sol

Embracing change: Breaking down the process of flexible manufacturing

30 January, 2024 The fast-moving consumer goods market is experiencing a transformative shift, driven by factors such as consumer empowerment, customization demands, health-conscious preferences, veganism, ethical concerns, and sustainability. We expect that it will undergo more changes in the next decade than it has in the previous 50 years. This necessitates the adaptation of production and supply chains to meet emerging trends. The future of fast-moving consumer goods factories will likely involve smaller, smarter facilities with autonomous movement of goods and interconnected systems.Machines, whether standalone or interconnected, need to be more flexible than ever before to ensure the timely supply of appropriate materials and packaging. Production has to be more agile, increasingly producing retail-ready items with a high mix-low volume approach with zero recalls. The question is how to realize this with minimal cost and fast ROI?
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
automotive bboard sol

Discover the Power of Flexibility: Navigating Complexity in the Automotive Industry

08 January, 2024 In the dynamic landscape of the automotive industry, adaptation is the key to success. Just as engineers refine vehicles for optimal performance, manufacturers must streamline their operations to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving market. Embracing flexibility has become a strategic imperative for automakers striving to customise products, boost output, and meet the specific demands of diverse market segments.Uncover the secrets to enhancing throughput and slashing time-to-market while swiftly responding to shifts in demand. While there are costs associated with flexibility – from equipment investments to a slight reduction in throughput during product changeovers – these pale in comparison to the potential expenses incurred by producing unsold vehicles or maintaining idle production lines.Our whitepaper delves into the latest flexible manufacturing trends shaping the automotive industry. Explore effective strategies for overcoming common challenges associated with implementing flexibility, including:
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
traceability barcode bboard sv sol

Revolutionise Automotive Manufacturing: Navigating the Traceability Frontier

08 January, 2024 The automotive industry is undergoing transformative shifts, marked by a transition to globalised platforms and standardised vehicle architectures. While this evolution enhances production efficiency, it simultaneously amplifies the impact of a single flawed part, raising the stakes for manufacturers. With the soaring costs of recalls and the intricacies of an ever-changing regulatory landscape, automotive production finds itself at the crossroads of complexity.Traceability emerges as a pivotal solution, promising to mitigate risks and enhance overall operational resilience. However, the prospect of marking up to 20,000 parts per vehicle triggers a valid concern among manufacturers. Is the effort truly worth the potential benefits? The challenge extends beyond mere marking to the implementation of reading and verification technology, coupled with the integration of sophisticated software solutions capable of harnessing the wealth of generated data. Download the whitepaper now to unlock a roadmap for success in navigating the intricate landscape of automotive traceability. Stay ahead of the curve and transform challenges into opportunities with the knowledge shared in this indispensable resource. Our whitepaper delves deep into the current trends and challenges of automotive traceability, unravelling the complexities that manufacturers face. Discover insightful strategies that not only justify the effort but also elevate the effectiveness of a real-time traceability system.
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
fmr pharma bboard en event

Unlock the Potential of UDI Compliance: Navigate the UDI Mandate with Confidence

08 January, 2024 Complying with the unique device identifier (UDI) system requirements is a critical milestone for medical device manufacturers, distributors, and end users. Ensuring compliance is not just about meeting a regulatory deadline; it's about safeguarding the integrity and safety of medical devices throughout their lifecycle in Europe and the United States.Our comprehensive whitepaper, "Ready for the UDI Mandate Deadline?" dives into the intricacies of UDI implementation, shedding light on the complexities beyond the surface. The ultimate goal is clear – to effectively identify and trace medical devices, from a simple bedpan to a lifesaving artificial heart, promoting safety across the healthcare landscape.However, the journey towards UDI compliance goes beyond merely affixing a printed barcode to a package. Establishing a robust system for verifying UDI markings, and ideally automating these processes, requires a thorough understanding of the means and methods involved. Inline verification during label generation and off-line validation in active service are pivotal components of a successful UDI system.In this whitepaper, we not only outline the UDI labeling requirements but also provide actionable insights into best practices. Discover how the medical device industry can ensure that marking methods are not only compliant but also meticulously verifiable. Elevate your understanding of UDI implementation and gain confidence in navigating the intricacies of the mandate.Don't miss out on this opportunity to empower your organisation with the knowledge needed to thrive in the era of UDI compliance. Download our whitepaper now to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of medical device regulations.
READ MORE
Operational Excellence
fernando colas trends 2024 image bboard en peop

What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
READ MORE
Industry 4.0
emobility b bboard misc

EV transition made easy: Top three challenges to overcome in automotive manufacturing

23 November, 2023 The transition to electric vehicles is a challenging path for automotive manufacturers. Long-established companies that have traditionally produced vehicles with combustion engines are now venturing into an entirely new realm of vehicle platforms. Let us investigate the top challenges facing the electric vehicle manufacturing industry and explore the latest innovative solutions on the horizon.
READ MORE
Operational Excellence
automotive-line-robot-simulation-side bboard sol

A meeting of minds: IT/OT convergence in industrial automation

22 September, 2023 Future-focused manufacturers are edging closer to their ideals of flexible, efficient and sustainable production by exploring digital transformation in earnest. However, as interest in digitalisation builds, it is becoming apparent that a huge gulf exists between the worlds of OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology). And this divide needs to be bridged if today’s visions for factories of the future are to become tomorrow’s reality.But before we look at why a convergence of IT and OT is necessary and how this can be achieved, let’s take a step back to basics and clear up some misunderstandings around the terminology.
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Operational Excellence
fernando colas trends 2024 image bboard en peop

What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
READ MORE
AI
i-bots teamkids bboard event

Empowering the workforce: OMRON's approach to skills development in European manufacturing

06 September, 2023 Delving into OMRON's unwavering commitment to nurturing skills that empower the next generation, while the industry embarks on a transformative journey – a journey that unlocks the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while boldly moving towards the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR).In the halls of academia, the boardrooms of visionary business leaders, and the chambers of forward-thinking politicians, a fervent debate evokes. It revolves around the profound shift from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0 as it is also known, to Industry 5.0 will change the world in which we live.Historically the Industrial Revolution was the First Machine Age, and electricity the Second, then electronics was the Third, and the internet as platform the Fourth Machine Age. We are now entering the Fifth Machine Age, which highlights harmonious human-machine collaboration and the contributions of the industry to society. This is the moment to not only adapt but to lead, to pioneer, and to create a future where innovation knows no bounds. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has observed that: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. Our world is undergoing a transformative shift. Global production is evolving, driven by the automation of traditional industrial practices through smart technology, M2M communication, and IoT integration. This synergy fuels heightened automation, seamless communication, and intelligent machines that autonomously analyse and diagnose challenges.The rise of AI sparks debates, hinting at deeper transformations within our societal tapestry. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we are poised to embrace innovation and reshape our future. 
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AI
omron-founders-day-france-2023 b bboard event

From red lights to robots: OMRON celebrates 90 years of innovation

06 June, 2023 This year on Founder’s Day, OMRON looked back on 90 years of pushing technological boundaries, and looks forward to a future of automation innovation framed by sustainability, digitalisation and human-machine collaboration.May the 10th be with you… Every year, 10th May is probably the most important day in OMRON’s calendar. On this day, 30,000 OMRON employees around the world celebrate the life and legacy of the company’s founder, Kazuma Tateishi. They do this 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. Innovation Milestones OMRON's journey of innovation began in 1933 with the development of a high-precision timer for X-ray photography. This marked the company's first contribution to addressing societal needs. In 1960, OMRON unveiled the world's first non-contact proximity switch, revolutionizing advanced mass production capabilities. Since then, OMRON has continued to introduce groundbreaking technologies, including the first automatic traffic signal, unmanned train station system, wearable blood pressure controller, ultra-high-speed fuzzy logical controller, and automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment.
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AI
ai manufacturing conveyor belt bboard sol

Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) in robot systems manage the functional safety parts?

20 March, 2023 Authors: Josep Plassa, Safety Product Marketing Manager at OMRON Europe and Atsushi Oshiro, Manager at the OMRON Development CenterRobots and AI systems have become an integral part of industrial manufacturing sites. To ensure the safety of workers while using robots, a detailed risk assessment is necessary. This assessment is carried out from the perspective of Functional Safety, which examines the five main elements employed by robots to determine autonomous control actions: Environment recognition, Action planning, Trajectory generation, Motion control, and Measurement.
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Operational Excellence
robot whispering secret bboard comp

Artificial Intelligence: don’t call me stupid

08 February, 2023 Ten years ago I was quite proud of how smart the machines in our own factory were. Now, with my today’s definition of smart, I realise they were actually quite stupid.Why? Because although they were doing what they were designed to do, the minute they encountered anything unexpected or out of the ordinary they were stumped. They resorted to asking the operator ‘what is wrong with me?’.Troubleshooting and getting machines back up and running called for smart people. Highly skilled operators. Experienced software and hardware engineers. The problem is that in the last ten years, these people have become increasingly unavailable. There quite simply isn’t enough new talent entering the industry to offset the number of workers reaching retirement age. When they leave the business, retirees take with them their hard-earned on-the-job knowledge that is a culmination of years of experience. With each departing worker, businesses are faced with the prospect of a less productive and less skilled workforce. 
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Sustainable Manufacturing
circular economy concept b bboard sol

The path to net zero: talking tactics

01 February, 2023 The key to unlocking a net zero future in manufacturing is transforming the value chain through automation.In June 2022, New Scientist reported that a third of the world’s largest companies had net zero targets - significantly more than the same time last year.Whilst it is positive news that momentum is accelerating, the article went on to say that the details of how companies were planning to reach net zero were patchy.Which is not surprising really. Creating and implementing a net zero strategy is a huge undertaking for any business, especially with 80% of GHG emissions falling into Scope 3 - that is emissions that occur upstream or downstream in the value chain. This is a particular challenge for FMCG companies, whose supply chains and onward logistics are long and complex.Most of these businesses know what they need to do: decarbonise and circularise the value chain. And they have a strategy for doing this, which will generally cover: optimising the use of resources and energy, replacing high emission products and processes and eliminating waste.But translating intention into action is where the main challenge lies. This is where automation has a crucial role to play.Data collection and analysis is the key to successful net zero transition. Without it, how do companies know what their starting point is, where they need to improve, whether they have improved and by how much? Robust data is the foundation for turning a commitment into change, and for credibly and confidently communicating with stakeholders and delivering on climate ambitions.
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AI
factory mobile robot delivery bboard sol

Powering through the energy and fuel crisis with automation

07 December, 2022 To counter rising prices and meet environmental targets, industrial enterprises should explore how automation technologies from a single source might help contribute to their sustainability strategy.High energy and fuel prices are putting a strain on both households and industry. Not only is the situation negatively impacting financial plans and wallets, but the excessive prices are forcing some companies to cease production. According to Make UK 42% of manufacturers surveyed said that their electricity bills have increased by 100% in the past 12 months and 32% said that gas prices have increased by over 100% in the past year. A worrying 12% of manufacturers have already made job cuts as a direct result of increased energy bills.The war in Ukraine, Covid-19 pandemic, and gas pricing are only a few of the causes of the crisis, which impacts all sectors and has an impact on everything from power prices to supply chains. What should manufacturing companies consider now? Comprehensive automation strategies are essential for greater flexibility and energy efficiency. This includes innovative robotics paired with sensor and vision technology as well as artificial intelligence – AI at the Edge. In addition, real-time data from production plants can assist with detecting anomalies and improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
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AI
automotive bboard sol

Where is the future heading, intralogistics? Tips for more efficiency

15 November, 2022 Sometimes we focus so much on the big picture that we forget the smaller and yet so important processes that characterize smart production. One example is intralogistics, i.e. the flows of materials and goods that take place on a company's premises or in a production hall. A recent study found that more than 80 percent of the companies surveyed consider the increased use of AI and automation in intralogistics to be necessary to meet challenges such as the shortage of skilled workers or growth plans.Automotive companies that want to meet market and customer requirements, increase efficiency and become more sustainable must come up with new ideas. Energy costs, the gas crisis, and rising inflation make this task even more difficult. Smart factory concepts that combine innovative automation, digitalization, and smart intralogistics approaches can provide valuable support. Some speak of Industry 4.0 in this context, others of the “factory of the future”, still others prefer Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). But no matter which term you favor: The most important thing is to become active now and to rely on reliable partners. Intralogistics is a good starting point for quickly initiating change. Because action is urgently needed: many companies are currently severely limited due to the shortage of skilled workers. Modern technologies such as mobile robots can provide a remedy.
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AI
adaptive inspection bottles bboard sol

How can adaptive AI inspection contribute to flexible manufacturing?

04 October, 2022 Consumers today demand customized products to meet their personal needs and tastes. Instead of producing items that are ‘made to shelve’ and ‘sent to stock’, manufacturers must personalize products that are ‘made for me’ and ‘sent to me’. This is revolutionizing production and forcing companies to rethink their processes. At the same time, ensuring zero complaints and zero defects is a must.The trained eye of an experienced vision inspector is quick to spot errors, but a routine task like this is tiring, and cannot be carried out at each step of the production, especially due to the current labor shortages in many industries. But could this task be automated also in high-mix low-volume production? Could a smart vision system or an ‘electronic eye’ replicate the discernment of the human eye, with the added benefit of repeatability and robustness? The latest AI-enabled adaptive inspection can overcome the challenges of automated quality inspection, with improved flexibility, productivity, and adaptability.  
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AI
ai article bboard sol

Artificial Intelligence: hope, hype and FOMO

22 September, 2022 Ten years ago when we received enquiries about AI-based projects, they were mainly driven by hype or FOMO. When I asked why they wanted to get into AI, the answer, more often than not, was either ‘because my boss asked me to’, ‘because we have a lot of data’ or ‘because it seems like an interesting area’. None of these were particularly solid reasons and certainly didn’t justify the hefty investment that AI applications would have required at that time.That is changing, and hope, rather than hype or ‘FOMO’, is the driver. Customers don’t ask whether we can help them with AI anymore. They ask us whether we can help with predictive maintenance, quality control or process optimisation. They come to us with a problem that they want us to help solve. The adoption of AI is no longer a motive or an aim in itself. Instead, AI has become an ‘enabler’.Whatever the industry - whether food & drink, pharmaceutical, electronics or automotive - the end goal is the same: producing high quality, defect-free products at a lower cost, using less energy and less labour. And AI can be one of a suite of solutions for achieving those objectives.
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Sustainable Manufacturing
europe battery industry 1 background bboard misc

Powering the European automotive industry

29 January, 2021 The European automotive industry is facing strong competition from Asia, as well as the economic challenges of the pandemic. It needs to develop innovative, future-proof strategies and technologies that will boost both efficiency and sustainability. Tony Seba from Stanford University believes that by 2025, no more new vehicles with (pure) combustion engines will be sold and there will be a move towards battery or hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Meanwhile, the industry faces falling sales, increasingly strict emissions regulations, new technologies, digitisation and changing consumer needs. Companies must respond by converting their production lines; becoming more agile; and introducing innovations that provide a competitive edge.
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Flexible Manufacturing
flexible manufacturing for-at-in-the machine bboard sol

Embracing change: Breaking down the process of flexible manufacturing

30 January, 2024 The fast-moving consumer goods market is experiencing a transformative shift, driven by factors such as consumer empowerment, customization demands, health-conscious preferences, veganism, ethical concerns, and sustainability. We expect that it will undergo more changes in the next decade than it has in the previous 50 years. This necessitates the adaptation of production and supply chains to meet emerging trends. The future of fast-moving consumer goods factories will likely involve smaller, smarter facilities with autonomous movement of goods and interconnected systems.Machines, whether standalone or interconnected, need to be more flexible than ever before to ensure the timely supply of appropriate materials and packaging. Production has to be more agile, increasingly producing retail-ready items with a high mix-low volume approach with zero recalls. The question is how to realize this with minimal cost and fast ROI?
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
fmr pharma bboard en event

Unlock the Potential of UDI Compliance: Navigate the UDI Mandate with Confidence

08 January, 2024 Complying with the unique device identifier (UDI) system requirements is a critical milestone for medical device manufacturers, distributors, and end users. Ensuring compliance is not just about meeting a regulatory deadline; it's about safeguarding the integrity and safety of medical devices throughout their lifecycle in Europe and the United States.Our comprehensive whitepaper, "Ready for the UDI Mandate Deadline?" dives into the intricacies of UDI implementation, shedding light on the complexities beyond the surface. The ultimate goal is clear – to effectively identify and trace medical devices, from a simple bedpan to a lifesaving artificial heart, promoting safety across the healthcare landscape.However, the journey towards UDI compliance goes beyond merely affixing a printed barcode to a package. Establishing a robust system for verifying UDI markings, and ideally automating these processes, requires a thorough understanding of the means and methods involved. Inline verification during label generation and off-line validation in active service are pivotal components of a successful UDI system.In this whitepaper, we not only outline the UDI labeling requirements but also provide actionable insights into best practices. Discover how the medical device industry can ensure that marking methods are not only compliant but also meticulously verifiable. Elevate your understanding of UDI implementation and gain confidence in navigating the intricacies of the mandate.Don't miss out on this opportunity to empower your organisation with the knowledge needed to thrive in the era of UDI compliance. Download our whitepaper now to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of medical device regulations.
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
traceability barcode bboard sv sol

Revolutionise Automotive Manufacturing: Navigating the Traceability Frontier

08 January, 2024 The automotive industry is undergoing transformative shifts, marked by a transition to globalised platforms and standardised vehicle architectures. While this evolution enhances production efficiency, it simultaneously amplifies the impact of a single flawed part, raising the stakes for manufacturers. With the soaring costs of recalls and the intricacies of an ever-changing regulatory landscape, automotive production finds itself at the crossroads of complexity.Traceability emerges as a pivotal solution, promising to mitigate risks and enhance overall operational resilience. However, the prospect of marking up to 20,000 parts per vehicle triggers a valid concern among manufacturers. Is the effort truly worth the potential benefits? The challenge extends beyond mere marking to the implementation of reading and verification technology, coupled with the integration of sophisticated software solutions capable of harnessing the wealth of generated data. Download the whitepaper now to unlock a roadmap for success in navigating the intricate landscape of automotive traceability. Stay ahead of the curve and transform challenges into opportunities with the knowledge shared in this indispensable resource. Our whitepaper delves deep into the current trends and challenges of automotive traceability, unravelling the complexities that manufacturers face. Discover insightful strategies that not only justify the effort but also elevate the effectiveness of a real-time traceability system.
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
automotive bboard sol

Discover the Power of Flexibility: Navigating Complexity in the Automotive Industry

08 January, 2024 In the dynamic landscape of the automotive industry, adaptation is the key to success. Just as engineers refine vehicles for optimal performance, manufacturers must streamline their operations to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving market. Embracing flexibility has become a strategic imperative for automakers striving to customise products, boost output, and meet the specific demands of diverse market segments.Uncover the secrets to enhancing throughput and slashing time-to-market while swiftly responding to shifts in demand. While there are costs associated with flexibility – from equipment investments to a slight reduction in throughput during product changeovers – these pale in comparison to the potential expenses incurred by producing unsold vehicles or maintaining idle production lines.Our whitepaper delves into the latest flexible manufacturing trends shaping the automotive industry. Explore effective strategies for overcoming common challenges associated with implementing flexibility, including:
READ MORE
Operational Excellence
fernando colas trends 2024 image bboard en peop

What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
READ MORE
Flexible Manufacturing
people puzzle bboard en misc

Top 4 Ways to Tackle Labour Shortage with Automation

06 September, 2023 Automation is a pathway to supporting manual workforce and not replacing them.Labour shortages in manufacturing are a growing cause of concern worldwide. While financial incentives and targeted workforce qualifications have been used as countermeasures, more innovative solutions are needed. Many manufacturers choose to automate repetitive activities but to what extent is it supporting the existing taskforce or is it taking away their jobs altogether?In 2023, Reuters disclosed an alarming trend: a record-high 53% of companies grapple with hiring difficulties. Staff shortages, soaring energy costs, combined with the pursuit of climate neutrality create new challenges. In the quest for sustainable manufacturing, innovative strategies to address labour gaps and enhance existing talent are the beacon of progress.Let us go over the top four ways to addressing the labour shortage and supporting the current workforce with automation:
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Flexible Manufacturing
realistic pick and place bboard sol

Easy programming

21 June, 2023 Omron Automation robotics are designed to be easy to program, even for users who have little or no experience with robotics. The robots can be programmed using intuitive software, and they can be taught new tasks through a simple "teach and playback" process. This makes it easy for manufacturers to integrate robotics into their production processes and improve their Pick & Place operations. With easy programming, manufacturers can reduce the learning curve and training time for operators, allowing them to get up and running quickly.
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Flexible Manufacturing
realistic pick and place bboard sol

High-speed and precision movements

14 June, 2023 Omron Automation robotics are designed for high-speed and precision movements, which make them ideal for Pick & Place applications. The robots can pick up and place objects quickly and accurately, reducing cycle times and increasing productivity. Omron robots can move at high speeds without sacrificing precision, which is essential for Pick & Place applications where objects need to be placed in precise locations. With Omron Automation robotics, manufacturers can improve their production efficiency.Pick & Place applications are a common task in industrial settings, where objects need to be moved from one place to another quickly and accurately. This can be a repetitive and time-consuming task that can be automated using robotics solutions. In this blog post, we will explore how robotics can help with Pick & Place applications and improve productivity
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Flexible Manufacturing
paprika robot 02 fcard sol

Flexible configurations

07 June, 2023 Omron Automation robotics can be configured in a variety of ways to suit different Pick & Place applications. The robots can be mounted on a fixed base or on a mobile platform, and they can be equipped with different end effectors to handle a wide range of objects. With Omron Automation robotics, manufacturers can customise the robots to meet their specific needs, allowing them to handle objects of different sizes, shapes, and weights.
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Flexible Manufacturing
pick & place food sol

Collaborative capabilities

31 May, 2023 Omron Automation robotics can be used in collaborative applications, where they work alongside human operators to pick up and place objects. The robots are designed to be safe to work around, with sensors and other safety features that prevent collisions and other accidents. This allows manufacturers to use collaborative robotics in a wide range of applications, improving productivity and efficiency while maintaining a safe work environment. With collaborative capabilities, manufacturers can take advantage of the benefits of automation while still maintaining a human touch in their production processes.
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Flexible Manufacturing
traceability fhv7-eye fcard en sol

Traceability

13 April, 2023 During this series of blogs focusing on Traceability we will discover how traceability in manufacturing has evolved over time from its first iteration to today’s evolution Traceability 4.0.Traceability definitions have been evolving since the invention of automatic data capture equipment – primarily barcode readers – over 40 years ago. Since then, traceability applications have evolved to support industrial development from both a product technology and business process perspective.The breadth and scope of traceability has expanded significantly over the years along with advances in technology, making it a critical application for today’s world-class manufacturers. In this post will explore the evolution of traceability and explain why the latest phase, Traceability 4.0, is not just about tracking products throughout the supply chain but also optimising productivity, quality and brand reputation within the manufacturing operation by tying product to process parameters.
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Operational Excellence
fernando colas trends 2024 image bboard en peop

What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
READ MORE
Industry 4.0
emobility b bboard misc

EV transition made easy: Top three challenges to overcome in automotive manufacturing

23 November, 2023 The transition to electric vehicles is a challenging path for automotive manufacturers. Long-established companies that have traditionally produced vehicles with combustion engines are now venturing into an entirely new realm of vehicle platforms. Let us investigate the top challenges facing the electric vehicle manufacturing industry and explore the latest innovative solutions on the horizon.
READ MORE
Operational Excellence
automotive-line-robot-simulation-side bboard sol

A meeting of minds: IT/OT convergence in industrial automation

22 September, 2023 Future-focused manufacturers are edging closer to their ideals of flexible, efficient and sustainable production by exploring digital transformation in earnest. However, as interest in digitalisation builds, it is becoming apparent that a huge gulf exists between the worlds of OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology). And this divide needs to be bridged if today’s visions for factories of the future are to become tomorrow’s reality.But before we look at why a convergence of IT and OT is necessary and how this can be achieved, let’s take a step back to basics and clear up some misunderstandings around the terminology.
READ MORE
AI
i-bots teamkids bboard event

Empowering the workforce: OMRON's approach to skills development in European manufacturing

06 September, 2023 Delving into OMRON's unwavering commitment to nurturing skills that empower the next generation, while the industry embarks on a transformative journey – a journey that unlocks the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while boldly moving towards the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR).In the halls of academia, the boardrooms of visionary business leaders, and the chambers of forward-thinking politicians, a fervent debate evokes. It revolves around the profound shift from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0 as it is also known, to Industry 5.0 will change the world in which we live.Historically the Industrial Revolution was the First Machine Age, and electricity the Second, then electronics was the Third, and the internet as platform the Fourth Machine Age. We are now entering the Fifth Machine Age, which highlights harmonious human-machine collaboration and the contributions of the industry to society. This is the moment to not only adapt but to lead, to pioneer, and to create a future where innovation knows no bounds. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has observed that: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. Our world is undergoing a transformative shift. Global production is evolving, driven by the automation of traditional industrial practices through smart technology, M2M communication, and IoT integration. This synergy fuels heightened automation, seamless communication, and intelligent machines that autonomously analyse and diagnose challenges.The rise of AI sparks debates, hinting at deeper transformations within our societal tapestry. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we are poised to embrace innovation and reshape our future. 
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AI
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From red lights to robots: OMRON celebrates 90 years of innovation

06 June, 2023 This year on Founder’s Day, OMRON looked back on 90 years of pushing technological boundaries, and looks forward to a future of automation innovation framed by sustainability, digitalisation and human-machine collaboration.May the 10th be with you… Every year, 10th May is probably the most important day in OMRON’s calendar. On this day, 30,000 OMRON employees around the world celebrate the life and legacy of the company’s founder, Kazuma Tateishi. They do this 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. Innovation Milestones OMRON's journey of innovation began in 1933 with the development of a high-precision timer for X-ray photography. This marked the company's first contribution to addressing societal needs. In 1960, OMRON unveiled the world's first non-contact proximity switch, revolutionizing advanced mass production capabilities. Since then, OMRON has continued to introduce groundbreaking technologies, including the first automatic traffic signal, unmanned train station system, wearable blood pressure controller, ultra-high-speed fuzzy logical controller, and automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment.
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Industry 4.0
eu traceability solutions 3 fcard sol

Transitioning from manual record keeping to fully automated traceability

11 May, 2023 In the fifth and final blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how machine vision technology has been taking on an increasingly important role in traceability because thanks to its effective way of maintaining complete product integrityVision inspection includes a wide variety of functionality such as detecting defective products in real time and performing both OCR and OCV to verify that the data on labels and packages adds up. By functioning as a complete solution for ensuring that non-conforming products don’t go out into the market, vision systems are vital for brand protection.The hurdle that manufacturers face in implementing a machine vision system is twofold. Such systems are often expensive to implement, and the complexity of the technology can overwhelm operators. Many applications require special programming. However, these challenges are offset by the fact that a single product recall or fine for tainted product – preventable by a vision system – could cost more than the vision system itself.The avoidance of unwanted complexity isn’t just a deterrent to using machine vision – it’s often a reason why manufacturers forego upgrading their traceability systems in any way. Because implementing a new system seems inordinately complex, many manufacturers prefer to stick with cumbersome and error-prone record keeping methods that rely on manual processes. It’s understandable that companies want traceability to be easy. However, failing to upgrade the system with automation actually leads to more work in the long run.Manual record keeping is far more widespread in the food and beverage packaging industry than it should be, especially when one considers the huge costs associated with certain types of mistakes. Unfortunately, not all companies have the budget to invest in good traceability software. Budgetary constraints and the fact that traceability solutions need to be scalable are major barriers to automating the system.OMRON strives to make traceability as easy as possible, just as it strives to make its machine vision technology intuitive enough for the average operator to use. Its MicroHAWK barcode readers keep things simple by working right out of the box – in fact, the browserbased WebLink interface allows manufacturers to start using the readers without needing to install any software whatsoever. OMRON also has extensive knowledge of how traceability works in a variety of industries, and its focus on providing comprehensive solutions with complete line integration lets companies rest assured that the upgraded system will “just work.”Although often perceived to be challenging and somewhat expensive at the outset, a robust traceability system is the single most important means of complying with industry regulations and reducing the incidence and cost of recalls. OMRON’s traceability solutions address various pain points that manufacturers face in the food and beverage packaging industry so that real-time, automated traceability is within the reach of any company that needs to comply.
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Industry 4.0
traceability icons touch sol

Using traceability to analyse and optimise productivity

04 May, 2023 In the fourth blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how the use of traceability can add value to the production process by optimising productivity.In addition to helping companies avoid recalls and other disruptions to their profitability, traceability systems are also a great way to optimise processes and evaluate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). By collecting and analysing operational data, manufacturers can figure out which machines are under-performing and pinpoint precisely where bottlenecks are occurring in production.In order to gather this data, manufacturers need to set up numerous code reading stations at various points across the production line. Barcoding helps track vital productivity information such as throughput and quality based on package type, machine, shift and product. In many cases, this means that barcode readers need to be embedded within machinery. This poses a challenge, since most manufacturing equipment is designed to take up as little space as possible and therefore doesn’t have much extra room for barcode readers. This creates the need for ultracompact readers.These ultra-compact industrial barcode readers and smart cameras are designed to be highly flexible and configurable within an exceptionally compact casing. This means that they can be easily embedded within machinery while still providing fast and accurate reading. Thanks to their liquid lens autofocus technology, the readers eliminate constraints on camera positioning. The same camera can be used for machine vision inspection, enabling the expansion of automation as a facility’s needs evolve without investment in new hardware.Once traceability data is gathered via the barcode readers, it needs to be communicated to the rest of the system. This poses a new challenge – that of using this data without hampering control performance. When traditional controllers are tasked with processing large amounts of traceability data, they are liable to slow down the production cycle time.Automation manufacturers have addressed this issue by developing controllers that can maintain high-speed control while handling all the information a traceability system provides. For example, controllers can be used for a packaging machine with the capability of handling 1,000 products per minute and can collect all traceability data in synchronisation with the production cycle while performing motion control. This means that traceability doesn’t need to slow down other aspects of production while fulfilling the purpose of collecting important data. Barcode readers provide direct connectivity via Ethernet/IP to the controllers, making it simple to integrate traceability data into the automated system. When it comes to utilizing traceability information, the data collection is one challenge. It’s another matter altogether to transfer that data to the business and enterprise systems that store and use the data. Controllers can make this easy thanks to the seamless incorporation of SQL and OPC-UA.
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Industry 4.0
traceability barcode bboard sv sol

Combatting counterfeiting, promoting ethical sourcing and minimising recalls

26 April, 2023 In the third blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how counterfeiting has become a major issue in the food and beverage sector and how effective labelling can aid in a host of verification related tasks.Counterfeiting has become a major problem in the food and beverage industry as the market becomes more globalised. Several types of fraud exist, they can appear alone or in a combination in food fraud.Dilution - mixing a liquid ingredient of high value with a liquid of lower value.Substitution - replacing an ingredient, or part of the product, of high value with another ingredient, or part of the product of lower value.Concealment - hiding the low quality of food ingredients or product.Mislabelling - placing false claim on packaging for economic gain.Unapproved enhancement - adding unknown and undeclared materials to food products to enhance the quality attributes.
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Industry 4.0
traceability communication implementation bboard sol

Complying with industry regulations

20 April, 2023 In the second blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how complying with industry regulations is essential in today’s manufacturing process, especially in industries like food, beverage and pharmaceutical and what the legal requirements are set out by the FSA.A lack of a comprehensive traceability system can potentially have disastrous outcomes for everyone in the supply chain, from producer to consumer. Paper does not control anything. It is just a written record, there’s no validation, and no control.In the food and beverage industry, authenticity is essential. Consumers need to know that the foods they are purchasing consist of the things listed on their labels, as food allergies and expired foods can cause serious illness and possibly death. Since both public health and consumer satisfaction depend so heavily on product integrity, the food and beverage packaging industry is highly regulated.One of the main things mandated by food and beverage regulation is “traceability” the practice of maintaining thorough records on the origins and whereabouts of products and raw materials by scanning printed barcodes, direct part marks (DPMs) or radio frequency identification (RFID) tags throughout the production process and the supply chain. From raw materials supplier to production line to supermarket to customer, the creation and distribution of a particular food item should be as transparent as possible.Food and beverage manufacturers also benefit directly from traceability protocols that minimise the occurrence and effect of costly issues such as product recalls by providing real-time data on supplier materials, processes and machinery involved in production. These protocols can significantly reduce cost of a recall by isolating tainted items and making it unnecessary to pull large amounts of non-tainted product off the shelves.Regulations are one of the primary forces spurring food and beverage manufacturers to adopt robust traceability systems. In the United Kingdom, the foremost source of regulation is the Food Standards Agency.After a number of high-profile outbreaks of food related illnesses in 2000, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was established as an independent government department working to protect public health and consumers’ wider interests in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.In the wake of Brexit, food and beverage regulations in the United Kingdom have changed and evolved while retaining some relevant provisions laid out in EU legislation. While Northern Ireland remains subject to EU law alone, Great Britain, Wales and Scotland fall under the provision of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as the government organisation responsible for setting and enforcing traceability requirements.A quick reference guide published by FSA specifies that food business operators (FBOs) must maintain traceability information for suppliers and customers—equivalent to the “one step forward, one step backward” model which means they must be able to identify the businesses to which their products have been supplied and to trace food chain inputs back to the immediate supplier.
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Operational Excellence
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4 Steps to Optimise Manufacturing Operations Using Production Data

17 April, 2023 Bottlenecks and other production issues are the scourge of efficiency, costing businesses thousands, if not millions, a year through delays, disruptions, wasted resources, and lost output. Based on your assets (staff, equipment, facilities, etc.), what should your business be capable of producing? Most businesses have at least done a back of an envelope calculation on what their optimum output could be, if not taken the time to do a detailed analysis breaking down every process in the production chain. How far off is your actual throughput compared to the best-case scenario? In highly competitive markets with shrinking margins and a challenging economic forecast, businesses have to find ways to maximise their operations, getting as close as possible to optimal performance. They can no longer accept inefficient processes such as:Unbalanced assembly linesLong changeover timesMinor discrepancies compounding to increase the failure ratePoor equipment efficiency or extended maintenance downtimeUntrained staff slowing productionThankfully, manufacturing has come a long way. With the integration of new technologies (robotics, IoT, AI, etc.), companies can generate and track considerable production data. However, having data is just the start. To impact your operations for the better, businesses must derive actionable insights from it. Listed below are four steps to help businesses identify and resolve production issues.
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Operational Excellence
robotics service & maintenance training fcard sol

3 Reasons Leasing De-Risks Investments in Robotics

17 April, 2023 With skyrocketing energy bills, supply chain chaos, high interest rates, staff shortages, and the cost of living crisis reducing consumer demand, UK businesses feel like they are being hit from all sides at the moment.The economic outlook is challenging. Rising costs are squeezing profit margins forcing companies to charge higher prices or reduce output. In fact, the UK economy is the only G7 member yet to rebound to its pre-pandemic size. Industries struggling include manufacturing, which shrank by 4% in 2022 and is expected to decline another 3.2% in 2023, and logistics, which saw low levels of new warehousing space requirements at the end of last year. Companies looking to upgrade or expand are being held back by difficult economic conditions, in particular higher borrowing costs. When credit is cheap and readily available, businesses can make significant capital expenditure (capex) investments, transforming their operations to reduce costs in the long run or increase output and boost revenue. For manufacturing and logistics companies, high interest rates reduce the viability of investing in new technologies such as collaborative robots (cobots) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). In competitive industries where productivity is key, this puts many operations at risk of falling behind the competition. Thankfully, there is another option available. OMRON offers leasing options to help businesses acquire market-leading equipment without the risks associated with capex investments during tough economic times. Leasing advanced robotic equipment provides critical financial and operational benefits for companies looking to upgrade their operations.
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Industry 4.0
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How Remote Connectivity can help your company through challenging economic times

27 February, 2023 What was supposed to be a period of recovery for the manufacturing industry post-pandemic has turned into anything but. Labour shortages persist, except now they’re compounded by high inflation, a looming recession, the conflict in Ukraine, and political mayhem at home. It can feel like every day brings another challenge to overcome. UK manufacturing was already at an inflection point, with businesses looking to transform their operations, introduce new technologies, and find ways to increase automation. Unfortunately, this can require an injection of capital that is harder to find at a time of financial uncertainty.As we round out 2022 with our third government of the year, we are still not sure how the new premiership of Rishi Sunak plans to solve the black hole that is the nation’s finances. But one thing is for certain, costs will rise, and UK manufacturing has a tumultuous road ahead. However, even when market conditions are tough, opportunities remain. In this blog, we will discuss the challenges of investing in new machinery, particularly given the economic outlook and how remote connectivity can help maximise its use while also minimising operational costs.
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Brand Protection
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Vadain automates the inspection of curtain fabrics with machine vision

08 April, 2022 Vadain, the market leader in custom curtains in the Netherlands, needed a solution to detect errors as early as possible in kilometers of curtain fabrics. Together with software developers from Sycade, OMRON machine vision technology, and machine builder Eisenkolb, they developed an automated solution to detect and analyze errors in curtain fabrics, making the time-consuming manual inspection process a thing of the past.
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Operational Excellence
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Factory automation: four tips for the future of food & beverage manufacturing

16 July, 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has posed major challenges to organisations of all types and sizes. In the food and commodity industry, companies have faced significantly reduced consumption and disrupted supply chains, while at-home consumption increased, and out-of-home consumption came near to a standstill. But how can manufacturers adapt their business strategies and production processes both now and in the longer term? The pandemic may provide an opportunity for rethinking outdated processes and procedures and enhancing them with concepts such as innovative robotics, sensor technology and holistic automation strategies.
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Brand Protection
free vision traceability webinar fcard event

Six challenges for brand protection

19 November, 2019 Brand protection is an important topic for any business. But as industrial companies invest in new technology, such as smart robotics, artificial intelligence and vision systems, are they aware of the key challenges that could affect their brand?
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Brand Protection
automotive industry bboard sol

Legacy of machine vision

16 October, 2019 Did you know that for more than 40 years, Omron has developed vision sensing technologies for factory automation, surveillance and transport systems, and more recently for facial recognition and image processing for mobile phones, and even driver monitoring for autonomous driving?
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Brand Protection
brand protection misc

Late-stage customization in pharmaceutical manufacturing

16 October, 2019 As a result of serialization legislation, pharmaceutical manufacturers must now ensure that labels printed at a late stage contain all of the data required for compliance. This includes customizing product labels for certain markets, customers or products by adding variable data to labels or packaging. This avoids the need to stock individual packaging materials for each variant.
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Brand Protection
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Barcodes: keeping track of product quality

02 October, 2019 For many years, barcode technology has proved to be an economical and flexible identification technology. It has continued to develop and as a result, 1D and 2D codes (such as Datamatrix) are now used almost universally. Their versatility have made them a popular choice for streamlining many key supply chain processes, including production, logistics and item traceability.
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Brand Protection
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Is your production line ready for inspection?

12 September, 2019 Quality inspections are a critical requirement for all manufacturing and packaging lines. Being able to identify defective products before they are shipped to customers can bring significant savings in both time and money. It prevents costly product recalls, wasted production and potentially expensive legal costs.For perishable products – from food to pharmaceuticals – quality inspection of the packaging is also vital. An unreadable barcode or a wrong expiry date could lead to perfectly good products being discarded. And increasingly strict legislation is making clear marking a top priority for all types of products.
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Operational Excellence
future of storing warehouse bboard comp

Transforming Logistics with Automation: Meeting Diverse Client Demands

05 June, 2024 The logistics landscape is evolving, with clients increasingly expecting comprehensive services, including personalised, customised, and seasonal packaging alongside various value-added services.Personalised Packaging:Consumers now want products that meet their exact specifications. This trend spans from everyday items to luxury goods, making it challenging to ensure the correct product is paired with the appropriate personalised packaging. The personalised packaging market is growing at over 5% annually. Surveys indicate that over half of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a vendor if they receive a product in personalised packaging.Customised Packaging:Customised packaging caters to specific client branding requirements to appeal to particular market segments, such as bulk-to-brand packaging in the retail sector for products like instant coffee, baby formula, or sealed foods. This often necessitates batch runs, which can be inefficient for manufacturers. Market research by Nielsen shows that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products designed for their segment or demographic group.Seasonal Packaging:Seasonal packaging significantly influences consumer buying decisions. A survey by the Paper and Packaging Board found that 44% of consumers say festive packaging increases their excitement about a product. Additionally, 60% of consumers are likely to share pictures of seasonally packaged products on social media, enhancing brand visibility and engagement.Many clients now request value-added services, including co-packing, labelling, and other enhancements that prepare the product for the consumer market.
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Operational Excellence
warehouse 5 bboard sol

The Future of Storing and Moving Stuff: Why Trying New Things and Teamwork Matter

10 April, 2024 In the rapidly evolving world of logistics, the industry dedicated to storing and moving goods is at a pivotal moment, marked by both unprecedented growth and daunting challenges. Over the last decade, storage space, particularly in the form of warehouses, has seen a remarkable expansion. Specifically, shed space has grown by 61% in the last decade and an impressive 22% in just the last three years. Despite the recent slowdown in e-commerce activity caused by the increased cost of living, the trend since 2015 is overwhelmingly positive and will continue to drive a strong demand for warehouse space in the future. However, as these storage spaces become more common, the industry faces a significant challenge: a growing labour shortage that threatens to slow down its expansion.
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Operational Excellence
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What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
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Operational Excellence
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A meeting of minds: IT/OT convergence in industrial automation

22 September, 2023 Future-focused manufacturers are edging closer to their ideals of flexible, efficient and sustainable production by exploring digital transformation in earnest. However, as interest in digitalisation builds, it is becoming apparent that a huge gulf exists between the worlds of OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology). And this divide needs to be bridged if today’s visions for factories of the future are to become tomorrow’s reality.But before we look at why a convergence of IT and OT is necessary and how this can be achieved, let’s take a step back to basics and clear up some misunderstandings around the terminology.
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AI
i-bots teamkids bboard event

Empowering the workforce: OMRON's approach to skills development in European manufacturing

06 September, 2023 Delving into OMRON's unwavering commitment to nurturing skills that empower the next generation, while the industry embarks on a transformative journey – a journey that unlocks the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while boldly moving towards the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR).In the halls of academia, the boardrooms of visionary business leaders, and the chambers of forward-thinking politicians, a fervent debate evokes. It revolves around the profound shift from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0 as it is also known, to Industry 5.0 will change the world in which we live.Historically the Industrial Revolution was the First Machine Age, and electricity the Second, then electronics was the Third, and the internet as platform the Fourth Machine Age. We are now entering the Fifth Machine Age, which highlights harmonious human-machine collaboration and the contributions of the industry to society. This is the moment to not only adapt but to lead, to pioneer, and to create a future where innovation knows no bounds. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has observed that: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. Our world is undergoing a transformative shift. Global production is evolving, driven by the automation of traditional industrial practices through smart technology, M2M communication, and IoT integration. This synergy fuels heightened automation, seamless communication, and intelligent machines that autonomously analyse and diagnose challenges.The rise of AI sparks debates, hinting at deeper transformations within our societal tapestry. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we are poised to embrace innovation and reshape our future. 
READ MORE
AI
omron-founders-day-france-2023 b bboard event

From red lights to robots: OMRON celebrates 90 years of innovation

06 June, 2023 This year on Founder’s Day, OMRON looked back on 90 years of pushing technological boundaries, and looks forward to a future of automation innovation framed by sustainability, digitalisation and human-machine collaboration.May the 10th be with you… Every year, 10th May is probably the most important day in OMRON’s calendar. On this day, 30,000 OMRON employees around the world celebrate the life and legacy of the company’s founder, Kazuma Tateishi. They do this 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. Innovation Milestones OMRON's journey of innovation began in 1933 with the development of a high-precision timer for X-ray photography. This marked the company's first contribution to addressing societal needs. In 1960, OMRON unveiled the world's first non-contact proximity switch, revolutionizing advanced mass production capabilities. Since then, OMRON has continued to introduce groundbreaking technologies, including the first automatic traffic signal, unmanned train station system, wearable blood pressure controller, ultra-high-speed fuzzy logical controller, and automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment.
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Industry 4.0
eu traceability solutions 3 fcard sol

Transitioning from manual record keeping to fully automated traceability

11 May, 2023 In the fifth and final blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how machine vision technology has been taking on an increasingly important role in traceability because thanks to its effective way of maintaining complete product integrityVision inspection includes a wide variety of functionality such as detecting defective products in real time and performing both OCR and OCV to verify that the data on labels and packages adds up. By functioning as a complete solution for ensuring that non-conforming products don’t go out into the market, vision systems are vital for brand protection.The hurdle that manufacturers face in implementing a machine vision system is twofold. Such systems are often expensive to implement, and the complexity of the technology can overwhelm operators. Many applications require special programming. However, these challenges are offset by the fact that a single product recall or fine for tainted product – preventable by a vision system – could cost more than the vision system itself.The avoidance of unwanted complexity isn’t just a deterrent to using machine vision – it’s often a reason why manufacturers forego upgrading their traceability systems in any way. Because implementing a new system seems inordinately complex, many manufacturers prefer to stick with cumbersome and error-prone record keeping methods that rely on manual processes. It’s understandable that companies want traceability to be easy. However, failing to upgrade the system with automation actually leads to more work in the long run.Manual record keeping is far more widespread in the food and beverage packaging industry than it should be, especially when one considers the huge costs associated with certain types of mistakes. Unfortunately, not all companies have the budget to invest in good traceability software. Budgetary constraints and the fact that traceability solutions need to be scalable are major barriers to automating the system.OMRON strives to make traceability as easy as possible, just as it strives to make its machine vision technology intuitive enough for the average operator to use. Its MicroHAWK barcode readers keep things simple by working right out of the box – in fact, the browserbased WebLink interface allows manufacturers to start using the readers without needing to install any software whatsoever. OMRON also has extensive knowledge of how traceability works in a variety of industries, and its focus on providing comprehensive solutions with complete line integration lets companies rest assured that the upgraded system will “just work.”Although often perceived to be challenging and somewhat expensive at the outset, a robust traceability system is the single most important means of complying with industry regulations and reducing the incidence and cost of recalls. OMRON’s traceability solutions address various pain points that manufacturers face in the food and beverage packaging industry so that real-time, automated traceability is within the reach of any company that needs to comply.
READ MORE
Industry 4.0
traceability icons touch sol

Using traceability to analyse and optimise productivity

04 May, 2023 In the fourth blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how the use of traceability can add value to the production process by optimising productivity.In addition to helping companies avoid recalls and other disruptions to their profitability, traceability systems are also a great way to optimise processes and evaluate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). By collecting and analysing operational data, manufacturers can figure out which machines are under-performing and pinpoint precisely where bottlenecks are occurring in production.In order to gather this data, manufacturers need to set up numerous code reading stations at various points across the production line. Barcoding helps track vital productivity information such as throughput and quality based on package type, machine, shift and product. In many cases, this means that barcode readers need to be embedded within machinery. This poses a challenge, since most manufacturing equipment is designed to take up as little space as possible and therefore doesn’t have much extra room for barcode readers. This creates the need for ultracompact readers.These ultra-compact industrial barcode readers and smart cameras are designed to be highly flexible and configurable within an exceptionally compact casing. This means that they can be easily embedded within machinery while still providing fast and accurate reading. Thanks to their liquid lens autofocus technology, the readers eliminate constraints on camera positioning. The same camera can be used for machine vision inspection, enabling the expansion of automation as a facility’s needs evolve without investment in new hardware.Once traceability data is gathered via the barcode readers, it needs to be communicated to the rest of the system. This poses a new challenge – that of using this data without hampering control performance. When traditional controllers are tasked with processing large amounts of traceability data, they are liable to slow down the production cycle time.Automation manufacturers have addressed this issue by developing controllers that can maintain high-speed control while handling all the information a traceability system provides. For example, controllers can be used for a packaging machine with the capability of handling 1,000 products per minute and can collect all traceability data in synchronisation with the production cycle while performing motion control. This means that traceability doesn’t need to slow down other aspects of production while fulfilling the purpose of collecting important data. Barcode readers provide direct connectivity via Ethernet/IP to the controllers, making it simple to integrate traceability data into the automated system. When it comes to utilizing traceability information, the data collection is one challenge. It’s another matter altogether to transfer that data to the business and enterprise systems that store and use the data. Controllers can make this easy thanks to the seamless incorporation of SQL and OPC-UA.
READ MORE
Industry 4.0
traceability barcode bboard sv sol

Combatting counterfeiting, promoting ethical sourcing and minimising recalls

26 April, 2023 In the third blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how counterfeiting has become a major issue in the food and beverage sector and how effective labelling can aid in a host of verification related tasks.Counterfeiting has become a major problem in the food and beverage industry as the market becomes more globalised. Several types of fraud exist, they can appear alone or in a combination in food fraud.Dilution - mixing a liquid ingredient of high value with a liquid of lower value.Substitution - replacing an ingredient, or part of the product, of high value with another ingredient, or part of the product of lower value.Concealment - hiding the low quality of food ingredients or product.Mislabelling - placing false claim on packaging for economic gain.Unapproved enhancement - adding unknown and undeclared materials to food products to enhance the quality attributes.
READ MORE
Operational Excellence
buying leasing bboard comp

Buying or Leasing? How to finance your new cobot

26 April, 2023 Food for thought for SMEs when funding automation projectsSkills shortages, digitization, sustainability, and energy-saving plans are accelerating automation projects in many companies. Once manual processes that lend themselves to automation have been identified, the next question that usually follows is: And what does it all cost?It can make sense to consider options such as leasing or robot-as-a-service. One example of tools that give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular a better overview the financial aspects of automation is the ROI calculator from OMRON. Anyone currently considering the purchase of a cobot or AMR can use this tool to reveal the return on investment.
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Industry 4.0
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Complying with industry regulations

20 April, 2023 In the second blog in this series on Traceability we will discover how complying with industry regulations is essential in today’s manufacturing process, especially in industries like food, beverage and pharmaceutical and what the legal requirements are set out by the FSA.A lack of a comprehensive traceability system can potentially have disastrous outcomes for everyone in the supply chain, from producer to consumer. Paper does not control anything. It is just a written record, there’s no validation, and no control.In the food and beverage industry, authenticity is essential. Consumers need to know that the foods they are purchasing consist of the things listed on their labels, as food allergies and expired foods can cause serious illness and possibly death. Since both public health and consumer satisfaction depend so heavily on product integrity, the food and beverage packaging industry is highly regulated.One of the main things mandated by food and beverage regulation is “traceability” the practice of maintaining thorough records on the origins and whereabouts of products and raw materials by scanning printed barcodes, direct part marks (DPMs) or radio frequency identification (RFID) tags throughout the production process and the supply chain. From raw materials supplier to production line to supermarket to customer, the creation and distribution of a particular food item should be as transparent as possible.Food and beverage manufacturers also benefit directly from traceability protocols that minimise the occurrence and effect of costly issues such as product recalls by providing real-time data on supplier materials, processes and machinery involved in production. These protocols can significantly reduce cost of a recall by isolating tainted items and making it unnecessary to pull large amounts of non-tainted product off the shelves.Regulations are one of the primary forces spurring food and beverage manufacturers to adopt robust traceability systems. In the United Kingdom, the foremost source of regulation is the Food Standards Agency.After a number of high-profile outbreaks of food related illnesses in 2000, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was established as an independent government department working to protect public health and consumers’ wider interests in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.In the wake of Brexit, food and beverage regulations in the United Kingdom have changed and evolved while retaining some relevant provisions laid out in EU legislation. While Northern Ireland remains subject to EU law alone, Great Britain, Wales and Scotland fall under the provision of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as the government organisation responsible for setting and enforcing traceability requirements.A quick reference guide published by FSA specifies that food business operators (FBOs) must maintain traceability information for suppliers and customers—equivalent to the “one step forward, one step backward” model which means they must be able to identify the businesses to which their products have been supplied and to trace food chain inputs back to the immediate supplier.
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Operational Excellence
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4 Steps to Optimise Manufacturing Operations Using Production Data

17 April, 2023 Bottlenecks and other production issues are the scourge of efficiency, costing businesses thousands, if not millions, a year through delays, disruptions, wasted resources, and lost output. Based on your assets (staff, equipment, facilities, etc.), what should your business be capable of producing? Most businesses have at least done a back of an envelope calculation on what their optimum output could be, if not taken the time to do a detailed analysis breaking down every process in the production chain. How far off is your actual throughput compared to the best-case scenario? In highly competitive markets with shrinking margins and a challenging economic forecast, businesses have to find ways to maximise their operations, getting as close as possible to optimal performance. They can no longer accept inefficient processes such as:Unbalanced assembly linesLong changeover timesMinor discrepancies compounding to increase the failure ratePoor equipment efficiency or extended maintenance downtimeUntrained staff slowing productionThankfully, manufacturing has come a long way. With the integration of new technologies (robotics, IoT, AI, etc.), companies can generate and track considerable production data. However, having data is just the start. To impact your operations for the better, businesses must derive actionable insights from it. Listed below are four steps to help businesses identify and resolve production issues.
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Sustainable Manufacturing
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Industrial automation and robotics: still a man’s world?

07 February, 2024 What is it like being a woman in automation today? Three women from OMRON Europe talk about their experiences in the world of industrial automation, the challenges they face, and the tools and support that have helped them to thrive.When Wendy Tonks first started her career in engineering in the UK just over 20 years ago, one of the first ground rules that she had to lay down was that she wasn’t a tea lady.
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Operational Excellence
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What’s in store for automation in 2024? Six predictions from OMRON Europe

13 December, 2023 The succession of shocks over the last few years has heralded a new era of heightened geopolitical and economic risk. This is prompting manufacturers to build resilience and flexibility into business models and rethink global supply chains and relationships. At the same time, pressure is mounting to incorporate ESG principles into operational decision making. AI, data science, digital twins and sensing, monitoring and vision technology will all be essential to developing automation and control solutions that can help the manufacturing industry adapt to this new reality. In this context, I would like to share the top six trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2024 and beyond.
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AI
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Empowering the workforce: OMRON's approach to skills development in European manufacturing

06 September, 2023 Delving into OMRON's unwavering commitment to nurturing skills that empower the next generation, while the industry embarks on a transformative journey – a journey that unlocks the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while boldly moving towards the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR).In the halls of academia, the boardrooms of visionary business leaders, and the chambers of forward-thinking politicians, a fervent debate evokes. It revolves around the profound shift from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0 as it is also known, to Industry 5.0 will change the world in which we live.Historically the Industrial Revolution was the First Machine Age, and electricity the Second, then electronics was the Third, and the internet as platform the Fourth Machine Age. We are now entering the Fifth Machine Age, which highlights harmonious human-machine collaboration and the contributions of the industry to society. This is the moment to not only adapt but to lead, to pioneer, and to create a future where innovation knows no bounds. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has observed that: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. Our world is undergoing a transformative shift. Global production is evolving, driven by the automation of traditional industrial practices through smart technology, M2M communication, and IoT integration. This synergy fuels heightened automation, seamless communication, and intelligent machines that autonomously analyse and diagnose challenges.The rise of AI sparks debates, hinting at deeper transformations within our societal tapestry. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we are poised to embrace innovation and reshape our future. 
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AI
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From red lights to robots: OMRON celebrates 90 years of innovation

06 June, 2023 This year on Founder’s Day, OMRON looked back on 90 years of pushing technological boundaries, and looks forward to a future of automation innovation framed by sustainability, digitalisation and human-machine collaboration.May the 10th be with you… Every year, 10th May is probably the most important day in OMRON’s calendar. On this day, 30,000 OMRON employees around the world celebrate the life and legacy of the company’s founder, Kazuma Tateishi. They do this 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. Innovation Milestones OMRON's journey of innovation began in 1933 with the development of a high-precision timer for X-ray photography. This marked the company's first contribution to addressing societal needs. In 1960, OMRON unveiled the world's first non-contact proximity switch, revolutionizing advanced mass production capabilities. Since then, OMRON has continued to introduce groundbreaking technologies, including the first automatic traffic signal, unmanned train station system, wearable blood pressure controller, ultra-high-speed fuzzy logical controller, and automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment.
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Operational Excellence
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Accelerating socially driven innovation

28 March, 2023 Society is built on cultural norms and values that shape how people think, behave, and interact with each other. These cultural factors can influence everything from consumer preferences and business practices to political beliefs, which in turn affect how manufacturing evolves.Manufacturing is one of the most important sectors of any economy, yet in the UK it can fairly claim to be underrated - despite our being the world’s 9th largest manufacturing nation. According to MAKE UK research, manufacturing provides 2.7 million jobs, has an annual output of £191 billion, and offers wages 13% higher, on average, than the rest of the economy.The sector also has a multiplier effect which extends far beyond the jobs and wealth it creates directly, supporting the growth of other industries and creating a positive cycle of economic growth - boosting the overall productivity of the country and improving lives. 
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Flexible Manufacturing
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Top 5 automation predictions for 2023 from OMRON Europe

01 February, 2023 While a new year is upon us, with all its opportunities, I'd like to highlight some of the top trends that will impact and shape industrial automation in 2023 and beyond. The manufacturing industries will continue to face many challenges, and riding them out will involve building resilience and flexibility into business models. At the same time, companies must embrace emerging technologies - sensing, robotics, 5G and artificial intelligence - to help them solve the problems they face due to societal challenges.
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Sustainable Manufacturing
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The path to net zero: talking tactics

01 February, 2023 The key to unlocking a net zero future in manufacturing is transforming the value chain through automation.In June 2022, New Scientist reported that a third of the world’s largest companies had net zero targets - significantly more than the same time last year.Whilst it is positive news that momentum is accelerating, the article went on to say that the details of how companies were planning to reach net zero were patchy.Which is not surprising really. Creating and implementing a net zero strategy is a huge undertaking for any business, especially with 80% of GHG emissions falling into Scope 3 - that is emissions that occur upstream or downstream in the value chain. This is a particular challenge for FMCG companies, whose supply chains and onward logistics are long and complex.Most of these businesses know what they need to do: decarbonise and circularise the value chain. And they have a strategy for doing this, which will generally cover: optimising the use of resources and energy, replacing high emission products and processes and eliminating waste.But translating intention into action is where the main challenge lies. This is where automation has a crucial role to play.Data collection and analysis is the key to successful net zero transition. Without it, how do companies know what their starting point is, where they need to improve, whether they have improved and by how much? Robust data is the foundation for turning a commitment into change, and for credibly and confidently communicating with stakeholders and delivering on climate ambitions.
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Industry 4.0
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Riders of the storm: navigating economic uncertainty by turning social challenges into tech opportunities

06 December, 2022 One of the questions I am often asked is what our strategy is, as an industrial automation business, for maintaining stable growth in a volatile and increasingly unpredictable global economy. My answer, as you might imagine, is not one sentence, although it is rooted in one concept: SINIC. SINIC stands for ‘Seed-Innovation to Need-Impetus Cyclic Evolution’ and is a theory that was developed by OMRON's founder, Dr. Kazuma Tateisi, in 1970. According to this philosophy, science, technology and society share a cyclical relationship, mutually impacting and influencing each other. Scientific breakthroughs help society to advance and social needs spur on technological development. OMRON Europe has always followed this philosophy, and has spent the last decade laying the foundations for creating value-adding solutions to present day social and economic challenges.
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Sustainable Manufacturing
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Digitalization in the automotive industry: Seven tips for smart production

02 November, 2022 If you want to grow and master crises, you have to be digitally fit – this also applies to the important automotive sector. There is no way around digital tools for addressing customers or productivity. Artificial intelligence (AI) and sustainability are key drivers and focus topics, as a study by Capgemini shows. Experts from Gartner point out the importance of open-source collaboration approaches, holistic ecosystems, and technology partnerships. But what should we look out for in digitalization and intralogistics in the production of the future? We want to answer this question in two parts. We start with tips on digitization in the smart factory. As an automation expert, OMRON has been accompanying manufacturers and suppliers on their way to more digitalization sophistication for many years.
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