In this third of a series of articles looking at the challenges surrounding machine building, Dan Rossek and Richard Wilkins of Omron examine how safety can be an enabler for increased productivity and reduced total cost of ownership. There are few issues in machine design that are more emotively loaded than safety, and it is
It’s because high flexibility can ultimately offer ‘Lot size 1’, which means 100% customer satisfaction, much less waste, smarter branding, and better results. By being able to realize fast change-overs to exploit new trends and individual consumer demands, you can turn small numbers into big business.
Flexibility is a key aspect of our advanced automation systems, as we aim to make ‘Lot size 1‘ a reality. Several factors act together to enable efficient production including flexibility, customization, human-machine interaction and OEE. We constantly work on them all, so that we can offer you the capability to produce just the batch needed, delivered on time.
Flexibility begins at foundation level with our Sysmac Platform giving R&D engineers one connection, one software, one controller for everything from sensors to robots. This defines the multiple actions available to the operator for controlling the line’s machines and robots. Data management and analysis help optimize lines with real-time modification (and even predictive maintenance). Flow management is easily supported via our Enterprise Manager connected to the MES, while secure OPC UA communication ensures simple ordering via tablet or remote device.
The all-important final touch is a ‘natural’ interface between human, robot, and machine to ensure efficient and speedy change-over of operations. This natural interface is shared by our LD mobile robots, or autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs). They play an important role in seamless and smart co-operation between humans and machines to enable ultimate flexibility on demand.
Such is the outline for a complete, pull stock production line that enables flexible manufacturing and is the definitive route to delivering personalized products.