OMRON Corporation recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Sentech Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of industrial cameras (hereinafter referred to as ‘ST’), to acquire ST and make ST and its subsidiaries members of the OMRON Group. This acquisition is part of OMRON's drive to reinforce its development capabilities for factory automation technologies in its industrial automation business. This acquisition will be completed on July 3, 2017 and the name of the new company is intended to be Omron Sentech Co., Ltd.
As a leading manufacturer specializing in industrial cameras, ST develops machine vision systems for industrial applications, as well as cameras for various medical and laboratory applications, and markets them globally. ST offers a comprehensive range of industrial cameras, including more than 200 models, developed through its advanced camera design technology that enables compact design, high speed, and superb image quality.
With ST joining its group, OMRON will acquire ultra-compact high-resolution cameras, along with related design and development technologies. By combining OMRON's image processing controllers with ST's technologies and products, which have not been available at OMRON until now, OMRON will be able to further strengthen its business.
By combining OMRON's various industrial robots and quality inspection systems with ST's cameras, it will become possible to integrate these advanced cameras into any stage of manufacturing, from processing and assembly to inspection. This will enable exchange of image data between many different processes. In this way, OMRON will aim to realize innovative manufacturing environments with significantly enhanced quality and productivity.
In recent years, soaring labour costs in emerging nations and the rapidly aging population of developed countries have made it difficult for manufacturers to maintain human-operated assembly and visual inspection systems. As a result, manufacturing sites are seeking new ways to improve appearance inspection systems to ensure higher quality, and to reduce labour requirements for assembly processes through the use of robots. This in turn has resulted in a steadily increasing need to implement advanced automation in manufacturing processes, especially those processes which have previously relied on human vision.
Through the acquisition of ST, OMRON will work to develop an ultra-compact and high-definition smart camera1 that can be easily installed virtually anywhere. This can be achieved by combining ST's design technology for creating compact, high-resolution, and high-speed cameras with OMRON's high-speed and high-accuracy image processing technology. Moreover, OMRON will be able to develop and incorporate an ultra-compact camera into a pick-and-place robot arm to enable 3D recognition of objects.
The combination of OMRON's technologies and ST's one will also enable new automation systems that eliminate the dependence on human vision. This will help free operators from demanding visual inspection tasks, while allowing OMRON to develop new markets. A variety of applications are possible, such as using robots to reduce labour in the assembly process; integrating optical sensors in simplified camera configurations; and creating individual product management systems for product quality traceability.
As a leader in factory automation, OMRON offers a wide variety of products, ranging from input devices such as vision sensors to output devices such as controllers and servo motors, as well as safety devices and various industrial robots. By combining these devices, OMRON has supplied manufacturing sites throughout the world with sophisticated automation technologies.
Through the acquisition of ST, OMRON expects to further evolve its world-leading role in automation. By continuously working to bring innovation to manufacturing through partnerships with various manufacturers, OMRON will promote further growth in order to achieve the goals of its long-term vision, ‘Value Generation 2020’.