Virtual tour around 'the factory of the future'

A virtual exhibition from OMRON enables visitors to walk through a 360 degree virtual tour, guiding them around ‘the factory of the future’ – one in which different innovations have been introduced to increase flexibility, enhance efficiency and boost productivity. 

The solutions that are highlighted in the tour include all new robotics, vision and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. These are all based around OMRON’s ‘innovative-Automation’ concept, which enhances co-operation and understanding between machines and people, using intelligent, integrated and interactive solutions.

The demonstrations show how people and machines can work together in a new type of harmony, by illustrating how manufacturing innovations can be put to practical use in collaborative production. Among the exhibits, visitors are shown an intelligent High-Mix Low-Volume Cell Line Control System that combines AI with the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D vision, intelligent sensing and control, and robotics, with the aim of optimising production and minimising errors.

Visitors will also experience 3D bin picking, which is used to automate complex picking operations during assembly. The tour continues with demonstrations of safe machine tending with cobots, AI inspection of potential defects in products, and the high-precision alignment of items. It concludes with a demonstration of laser machining technology, which can improve laser processing times by over 35%.

Fernando Colas, General Director Marketing at OMRON Europe, said: “While many trade shows cannot take place in these difficult times, we wanted to bring our latest technology to customers in the virtual exhibition and give them the opportunity to experience the factory of the future online, wherever they are. This underlines the commitment of OMRON to further advancing and promoting the future of productive manufacturing.”

Summary of exhibits:

OMRON core technology ‘Sensing, Control + THINK!’ OMRON has been integrating advanced control technologies such as AI, vision, and control, and is working to develop the ability of robots to change their move according to the surrounding situation and to extract human potentials. That is what FORPHEUS, ping-pong concept, is all about. It is possible to play with people according to the player’s returning ping-pong ball, and it is possible to give advice for the players to improve their ping-pong skill. This technology has been translated to manufacturing, offering the factory of the future by the Cell Line Control System, an intelligent system enabling interactive human and machine collaboration, joint learning and training.

3D bin picking  - Self-adapting 3D Vision guided robot for Pick and Place applications. Assembly machines often rely on humans in complex applications where a large variety of objects need to be picked and placed. A robot would need to be equipped with eyes that can recognise multiple items, as well as calculate the needed force and movements to pick it up correctly. As a solution to these challenges, OMRON has developed a very light, small-size 3D camera that can be mounted directly on the robot hand, along with smart vision algorithms. These tools are built on top of the company’s vision system, so you can mix the new ones with the standard ones.

AI sensory inspection - Automating visual inspections that depended on the sensitivity and experience of skilled inspectors is achieved by adopting Omron-unique AI technology for image processing:

1) ‘AI Fine Matching’: Extracts connector flaws and stably judges normal/abnormal. The stability of “AI Fine Matching” is shown by comparing the AI with conventional method, using the rate of over-detection that determines a normal product as abnormal.

2) ‘AI Scratch Detect Filter’: Extract scratches on metal surface. Achieves "senses inspection" that approaches the sensitivity of skilled inspectors.

Other exhibits include safety fence-less Machine tending, allowing collaborative robots to improve productivity of existing machine tools by 20%, and non-stop and high precision alignment, helping to achieve shorter cycle times by combining ‘On-the-Fly Control’ with trajectory motion control.

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