Omron has unveiled its vision of future industrial manufacturing at the first day of this year’s PPMA Total Show.
We presented a largescale demonstration of our end-to-end, flexible and automated production line. At the centre of the showcase was Omron’s new hybrid concept robot, the innovative Mobile Manipulator (MoMa).
Manufacturers have been using robotics in their assembly lines for years. However, their application has been limited due to the physical restrictions of the technology. While a collaborative robot arm can remove the physical barriers of traditional robots and work alongside operators, it cannot independently move between different production cells for example. Mobile robots, or AIVs (automated intelligent vehicles) on the other hand are ideal for automating intralogistics operations and provide a mobile platform for a flexible production workflow.
Daniel Rossek, Regional Marketing Manager at Omron, commented: ‘Today, collaborative and mobile robots can both add value to a manufacturing process, but they both have some restrictions. This is problematic at a time of increasing personalisation and greater demand for customised products. Across the pharmaceutical, electronics, food and beverage industries, customer specifications are growing more demanding with short lead times as standard. Manufacturers are under consistent pressure to make their production lines more agile and adaptable.’
Omron has created an innovative answer to this problem through its MoMa hybrid solution. Combining the discrete technologies, the MoMa is a new breed of robots with all the benefits and none of the limitations of collaborative and mobile robots. It consists of a mobile, wheeled base, a highly dexterous collaborative robotic arm, together with integrated machine vision technology. This is Omron’s concept for the future of industrial robotics, and offers a glimpse of what’s possible when previously disconnected robot systems are unified into one.
The MoMa provides total flexibility in handling and operational mobility. It functions as a comprehensive robotics solution, able to perform various tasks including machine tending, automated kitting, assembly, packing and palletising automated pick and retrieval as well as gluing and sealing. When part of an integrated production line, the MoMa can be automatically redeployed for multiple tasks as needed, increasing its value and operational utility.
As a component of Omron’s flexible production line demo, attendees will be able to see MoMa in action at the Omron booth B36 at the PPMA Total Show. They can place orders into the system and watch as the MoMa inspects the final specification in real-time.
Dan Rossek, said: ‘Industrial robotics has so much untapped potential. What’s holding it back is a lack of connectivity and flexibility. Manufacturers today may have production cells with robots performing their own individual tasks but lack a way to easily connect different steps in the process.’
‘We believe that the MoMa offers a fresh way to sidestep this issue. It is able to handle tasks that have been challenging to automate in the past and connect various steps in a production process into one. It’s all about creating a fully autonomous production line that’s agile and can adapt to any sudden change in the market, with robots working alongside people. We’re excited to see how the mobile manipulator can contribute to the harmony between humans and machines in the factory of the future.’