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OMRON mobile robots ready to ramp-up efficiency

OEM-Sept-17---Pg-No-26

Compared to traditional AGVs, OMRON mobile robots can self-navigate entirely based on the natural features of the facility.

Industrial automation major OMRON showcased its innovative and futuristic solutions including IIoT and robotics at the recently concluded Automation Show held in Mumbai. On the sidelines of the event, Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, OMRON Automation India speaks to Subhajit Roy and explains the advantages of the company’s newly introduced mobile robots.

At the Automation Show-2017, you have displayed mobile robot. Could you brief us about its unique features?
OMRON mobile robot is amongst world’s smartest and most productive Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles designed to create collaboration between human beings and machines to increase productivity in varied shop-floor and warehousing operations. This robot is called intelligent because compared to traditional AGVs (automated guided vehicles), OMRON mobile robots can self-navigate entirely based on the natural features of the facility. Equipped with our patented Acuity technology, the robots have robust self-navigation system even if there’s constant movement of people, pallets, carts and forklifts, and shelves being emptied and restocked.

What are the potential application areas of your mobile robots?
OMRON mobile robots can be used for machine tending and material movement applications. For example a tyre company uses it to move green tyres from one location to another. Digital companies use it to move semi-finished or unfinished products. It can pull carts which can be further used in carrying out the loading and unloading operations.

What is the capacity?
OMRON mobile robots come in various models and can pull up to 130 kgs of load.

How is the acceptance?
It is fairly well-accepted in Europe, the US and in Singapore. We have a couple of installations in India and now the demand is gradually picking up. We are seeing a lot of positive response and interest at the end-users segment.

What are the 5 key advantages of OMRON mobile robots over the AGVs?
Firstly, an OMRON mobile robot does not need any kind of shop-floor modification. Secondly, it can adjust to a dynamic shop-floor change – so even if you change the machine or change the path it can adjust to that. Thirdly, it can self navigate itself which means it can move around freely and can find the optimum path. Fourthly, it can work in a fleet and lastly, it can dock and undock carts itself with the help of sensors.

What about the pricing?
Of course one should not compare it with AGVs on the cost parameters. One of the most important things that have to be understood is that we are delivering the robots which are essentially safety-compliant. It uses high-end safety scanner unlike other products that are available in the market. Inclusion of the safety scanner adds to the production costs but then again we can’t put a price tag to human safety. Also, it is much more flexible in terms of operations as compared to AGVs and other similar products.

Is there a kind of shift in the robots demand?
The concept of harmony between man and machine is slowly catching up in India. Robots are well accepted in the automotive sector as the manufacturers are using it for many years. Our target is the non-automotive sector; the demand for robots is expected to pick up there.

Has ‘Make in India’ started delivering?
Nobody should expect a sudden step-change but I must say that there is a positive movement happening on the ground level. Vibes are very positive within the industry and we can see more investment in the sector in the near future.

What about OMRON India’s performance?
We have achieved a good double digit year-on-year growth during the past few years and about 20 per cent last fiscal. Our focus industries are: Automotive, F&B, FMCG, Packaging and Infrastructure.

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