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Omron opens Robotic Innovation Lab, boosting packaging lines

Omron opens Robotic Innovation Lab, boosting packaging lines

Omron opens Robotic Innovation Lab, boosting packaging lines

Omron has opened a new Robotic Innovation Lab at the company’s UK headquarters in Milton Keynes.

The lab, which represents an investment of £600,000 with a creation of five new jobs, is set to demonstrate how robots can enhance individual applications.

The issue of labour shortage, particularly since the Brexit vote, is something that can be addressed by implementation of robotics at the production plant.

Omron said the lab provides a ‘proof-of-concept’ demonstration that replicates a given application, which helps prospective customers make any financial commitment.

Dan Rossek, marketing manager at Omron UK, said through the lab, Omron now has a platform to showcase its complete portfolio of industrial robots, including SCARA, 6-Axis and high-speed Delta robots for handling goods in the production line.

Omron showcased its LD series, a small automated intelligent vehicle and fundamental to i-automation, flexible manufacturing, and batch manufacturing.

“The intelligent part is gathering information at machine level and turning it into high value information,” said Rossek. “The predictive maintenance allows us to understand when components or machines could fail – before that catastrophic failure happens while running.”

The LD series also helps to enhance the traditional linear manufacturing lines, from raw materials to finished product.

“There is usually a bottle neck somewhere – that’s where inefficiency is. Using non-sequential resource allocation actually allows us to use machines in non-linear fashion.

“It is a supervisory system that monitors all the different elements of the production but allows the material transfer to the area where there is allocation for production. For example, if a bottleneck exists on a flow wrapper on one line, but another line has capacity, material flow could automatically be re-routed to improve efficiency and productivity.”

The key areas of packaging that these machines are focused on are food, food to go, and pharmaceuticals.

“There is a huge opportunity to increase throughput and quality using robots,” said Rossek. “Omron robots pick and place fresh produce, as well as small packs into other packs. End of line packaging is the most common place for robots, but with new hygienic designed robots they are now often being used in primary packaging applications i.e. handling raw product.”

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