Harmonised automation is the future says Omron

New industrial automation products are always interesting and remain important for manufacturing. Yet it is external trends as well as innovative technologies that are often the drivers behind continued investment in automation. Omron predicts that harmonised automation is the key for future development.

Fernando Colás, CEO of OMRON’s Industrial Automation Business Unit Europe gives his predictions of the top automation trends for 2023 and beyond.

Manufacturing industries will continue to face many challenges and riding them out will involve building resilience and flexibility into business models. At the same time, companies must embrace emerging technologies like sensing, robotics, 5G and artificial intelligence to help them solve the problems they face due to societal challenges.

1          Value for money

Inflation will cause the cost of equipment and components to increase. Automation providers must focus on developing solutions that neutralise these cost increases by generating value for users. For example, OMRON Automation offers complete and connected solutions through the OMRON’s innovative-Automation approach, not just products

2          OpEx rather than CapEx investments

With business uncertainty and rising interest rates, organisations are reducing capital expenditure (CapEx) due to the longer payback periods. Moreover, this also improves their cashflow. Yet, businesses are aware of the need to invest in automation to grow, stay ahead of competitors and drive efficiencies. OMRON expects this trend to grow through 2023, and with leasing to gain popularity as it avoids CapEx. A new OMRON ROI Calculator with both Operational Expenditure and CapEx options assists companies who are considering investing in automation. It delivers a simple return on investment based on actual data and covers financing solutions such as leasing options.

3          Harmonised automation

Some see industrial automation as a replacement for labour. Yet, in collaborative automation, OMRON moves workers and machines alongside one another. The next stage of harmonised automation will help businesses maximise human capabilities through people-oriented automation technologies.

Accelerating data-driven operations through digitalisation will be key to this business transformation and people empowerment. Integrating AI will accelerate good decision making by newer workers and harmonised automation solutions for sustainable production.

4          Adapting to autonomous manufacturing

OMRON sees societal demand moving from a consumption driven model to an ‘autonomous’ society. One that prioritises quality, sustainability and the development and wellbeing of the individual.

A decade ago, mass consumption was the main driver for production and considered little else. Companies will transition away from this mindset with production moving over to ‘autonomous’ manufacturing. Automation solutions will reflect this trend, helping manufacturers to achieve carbon neutrality, digitalisation, and improved quality of life for staff.

5          Insulation against supply chain instability

Industry is working hard to insulate itself from supply shortages like those experienced with microchips in 2022. To insulate against future supply chain disruption, OMRON redesigned over 1,000 products to make them universally compatible in terms of components.

The company also built more flexibility into its production processes and adapted its capacity to address component scarcity cycles. Moreover, it has also duplicated production lines across the world to better protect against future supply uncertainties.

This has never been more applicable than today. We face a myriad of challenges, from climate change to an ageing population and the rising cost of living. In 2023, the OMRON harmonised automation approach will help industries to ease labour shortages, enhance productivity and achieve carbon neutrality.

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