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Omron to Collaborate with Cisco in Manufacturing Innovations

Enhancing IoT Security in the manufacturing sites

Omron Corporation (HQ: Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto; President and CEO: Yoshihito Yamada) and Cisco Systems G.K. (head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President and General Manager: Miyuki Suzuki) have agreed to collaborate by integrating Cisco’s leading networking and security technology into Omron programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which are designed to deliver reliability under extreme conditions at manufacturing plants. Through this collaboration, the two companies will enhance the security of today’s increasingly intelligent manufacturing sites with IoT while helping manufacturers achieve safe and secure manufacturing.

As IoT becomes increasingly widespread, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020. Moreover, manufacturers around the world are working to strengthen their global competitiveness and corporate value by further improving their manufacturing capabilities. The industry is also rising to the challenge of making manufacturing sites intelligent through the active use of digital technologies. At the same time, manufacturing sites are facing more serious threats than ever before, as evidenced by reported cases of disrupted production due to ransomware and other malware attacks.

Furthermore, customers and the market are demanding higher levels of quality and safety through more stringent regulations on food and pharmaceutical products as well as traceability to ensure the quality of individual components in the electronic parts industry. Manufacturers face significant challenges in continuing to improve their manufacturing technologies while addressing the above issues in the manufacturing environment and fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.

Omron and Cisco will work together to construct a secure environment where PLCs, as core automation components, provide security authentication for three discreet elements, namely people at manufacturing sites, devices connected to machinery and production lines, and data exchanged. By integrating Cisco’s globally proven network and security technology with Omron’s controller technology, which brings together control and information, the companies will contribute to advances in manufacturing by enabling the safe and secure use of IoT at manufacturing sites.

Prior to forming this technological partnership, Omron developed the Machine Automation Controller NJ Series, the flagship PLC that comes standard with the OPC UA server and is compliant with the security enabled global communications standard. The new PLCs enables secure data communication with software and devices supporting OPC UA.

In addition, by combining Omron’s PLCs with Cisco’s network and security technology through this technological collaboration, the companies will expand the range of solutions available for the authentication of people and devices.

Concerning security authentication of people, devices, and data with PLCs

People (user) authentication:

  • PLCs will authenticate user access and grant secure remote access (VPN) only to authorized users, facilitating the safe monitoring of PLCs and machines at manufacturing sites. 

Device authentication: 

  • PLCs will detect device connections, block access from unauthorized devices, and issue alerts in real time. 

Data authentication: 

  • PLCs will encrypt communication data and ensure that data are transmitted appropriately, and they will also detect and record unauthorized access and security threats by monitoring and visualizing details of data in the network.

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