Every motion stops in 0.05 seconds and innovation starts on the factory floor

Every motion stops in 0.05 seconds and innovation starts on the factory floor

The changing state-of-the-art in manufacturing

Today, there is a technology that manufacturers across the world are eagerly employing. This trend is seen not only in the semiconductor sector, which demands an exceptional degree of precision and quality, but in the pharmaceuticals, food, and other industries as well.

That technology is Omron's vibration control technology. As clear from its name, it is a technology to control vibrations. This Omron technology in fact is a "one and only" breakthrough that is respected by anyone who is engaged in manufacturing.

Suppose you are driving your car when a person suddenly runs in front of you. Watch out! You hit the brake hard and the drink in the cup holder spills out of the cup. Many people have had a similar experience.

Omron's vibration control technology makes sure the cup of liquid stops its motion completely with no spillage, even if you were driving at a high rate of speed and made a sudden stop. It is a technology that has embedded all the know-how that humans employ to control their limbs to keep vibrations down to an absolute minimum, making sure that you never spill a drop of your favorite beverage.

What to change in manufacturing?

In the past, we had to take time to move a cup slowly to prevent a drink from spilling. We also had to wait until the shaking comes to a stop. With Omron vibration control technology, it takes a mere 0.05 seconds—nearly zero—to stop motion completely, no matter how fast the vehicle is moving.

If you compare this to conventional control technology, which usually requires about 13.5 seconds until the vibration comes to a stop under the same conditions, you can see how amazing Omron technology is.

One can say, "It's still only 13.5 seconds. What's the big deal?" But when accumulated, the amount of time that Omron technology can save adds up to many minutes in a day, or even several hours. In other words, Omron's vibration control technology can dramatically increase the quantity of products produced without increasing the quantity of production equipment in use. So you don't have to invest as much in equipment as you used to, and you can invest more in new product development. That is why manufacturers are so excited to shorten the time—even for a second.

But that's not all. Omron's vibration control technology is showing amazing results in other areas as well. Incorporating this technology into a device can prevent items from shaking, fluid from sloshing or spilling, cargos from being fetched away or collapsing, fragile materials from falling over and breaking, etc. It can even handle various combinations of these applications, which means that higher-precision process control is possible without costly investments in equipment. This means you can respond to society's needs more accurately and quickly, produce products of higher quality at lower costs, and invest extra money in the development of new products—benefits that make both the management team and the production staff happy.

It is Omron Automation Center's engineers who lead the development of this unique technology available only from Omron. With the determination to develop only that technology that no one else can create, these engineers have produced a stock of control technologies within the last few years. In fact, a new technology appears on the scene nearly on a monthly basis.

What makes it possible to create such a technology that companies at the forefront of manufacturing are eager to adopt?

To Ryuichiro Nakanishi, leader of the engineer team, the answer to this question is obvious. "Our customers are looking to enrich people's lives and make their lifestyles more convenient by creating manufacturing innovation," said Mr. Nakanishi. He speaks decisively, as if he were actually at the production sites of customers. "We have directly faced the issues of each customer's production site and tried to bring our hearts together as we worked to solve them. Because of the accumulation of these experiences, we can produce the control technology that can transform manufacturing."

He continues, "Omron has many technologies that can transform manufacturing. If we have more people aware of these technologies, we should be able to speed up innovation in the world."

The remaining 90% technologies that were shelved will eventually take center stage

Omron engineers continue to test and verify technologies they have developed at testing labs, with machines in use at Omron factories and at each customer's production site, while listening to issues faced by customers around the world. The engineers believe that someday technologies that they keep in stock during the course of this endeavor will be spotlighted by presenting a solution to a customer's issue.

This worked for vibration control technology as well. While repeating experiments on a daily basis, an engineer accidentally discovered the point at which shaking comes to a stop in a shorter-than-usual period of time, which triggered the development of this innovative technology.

He thought it might be possible to stop any vibration occurring on the factory floor. This would raise production efficiency if he could apply the same control method. Based on this discovery, the team pictured issues of production sites and analyzed vibration mechanisms to develop a new vibration control technology. During the three years after the concept design, the technology underwent various revisions and improvements, finally being completed as a technology now used in many factories.

This revolutionary development was possible because Omron engineers had continuously challenged themselves to create products capable of incredibly high-speed control. They also built up a great deal of experience by putting this control technology into use at Omron's production sites.

"It's not our job to sell products. Our job is to persistently reshape manufacturing so as to make our world a better place to live in," Mr. Nakanishi concluded.

The control technology that was born in Japan, where manufacturers had experienced fierce competition in technology development, has been refined and evolved to become an essential technology for manufacturing everywhere, helping improve people's lives behind the scenes.

Automation can do much more to benefit people…
This is our belief, which drives our efforts.
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