OMRON, a global leader in factory automation, including Industry 4.0 solutions, has announced the opening of its first Automation Center exclusively catering to the Logistics Industry in Singapore, South-East Asia, and Oceania. This is OMRON’s second Automation Center in Singapore, the sixth in APAC, and the 38th worldwide.
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Named as OMRON AUTOMATION CENTER SINGAPORE for Logistics, it is one of the first solution development centers to support the adoption of Robotics Middleware Framework (RMF) in the logistics sector. It will enable and showcase interoperability between complex and heterogenous multi-robot systems (MRS). This is an important step towards enabling stronger and seamless human-machine collaboration, where mobile robots using natural or existing infrastructure within the warehouse perform autonomous movement of goods (handling, moving and storing warehouse assets) as they work alongside the human workforce on the shop floor.
Catalysed by the Singapore National Robotics Programme (NRP) to address interoperability issues among heterogenous fleets of robots and infrastructure in hospitals initially, RMF has moved beyond the healthcare industry to other sectors, such as facility management, manufacturing and logistics, where different robots are needed for various applications. The ROS-Industrial (ROS-I) Consortium Asia Pacific, managed by A*STAR’s¹ Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), has been actively supporting the growth of RMF adoption in these sectors.
Expressing his enthusiasm while inaugurating the center, Mr Junta Tsujinaga, Company President, Industrial Automation Company of OMRON Corporation said, “The move indicates a big leap for OMRON towards realising our vision of “Enriching the Future for People, Industries and the Globe by innovative-Automation” through expanding the presence & reach of OMRON AUTOMATION CENTERS in niche but growing industries. Our long-term vision—Shaping the Future 2030 (SF 2030)—takes into account the dynamic, diversified, and complex world of manufacturing led by Industry 4.0 and digitisation. With the region’s diverse knowledge and maturity levels in automation, we believe that our unique capabilities based on human-machine harmony and collaborations with like-minded organisations will enable the evolution of technologies to realise the transformation of the Logistics industry to Logistics 4.0 and more warehouses being automated.”
Mr. Lionel Lim, Vice President & Head- Technology Hardware & Equipment, Singapore Economic Development Board, “The launch of OMRON’s new AUTOMATION CENTER focusing on logistics is an addition to Singapore’s vibrant and collaborative robotics ecosystem of technology providers, research institutes and sophisticated end users. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with OMRON to develop innovative robotics solutions that can drive industry transformation and growth to better serve end-users in Singapore and the region.”
The center aims to work closely with partners in the robotics and automation eco-system to catalyse the uptake of Logistics 4.0 in Asia Pacific’s by addressing some of its biggest issues—such as labour scarcity, limited space, supply chain disruptions, and the pressing urgency to leverage sustainable technologies to stay resilient while maximising competitiveness. It will help to address the region’s growing needs for warehouse automation, which is expected to rise with a compounded annual growth rate of over 14% over the next 5 years, with a higher increase in both developed and emerging countries in Asia Pacific.²
“Today’s event marks an important milestone in reinforcing OMRON’s commitment to answer social issues and needs of its focus sectors with its innovative-Automation solutions. The logistics industry across Singapore and many more countries of Asia Pacific continues to experience unprecedented growth despite many challenges. I believe that a dynamic and resilient supply chain is one of the most important requisites for the region to stay globally competitive and future ready,” said Mr Don Teng, Managing Director, OMRON Asia Pacific. “OMRON AUTOMATION CENTER Singapore for Logistics will enable players in Asia Pacific to test, develop, and deploy innovative automation solutions to revolutionise workflows and streamline operations, that will act as a big driver to their future growth.”
The center is a unique facility housing many solutions for intralogistics such as demonstration of an end-to-end fulfilment center operation using collaborative robots and custom mobile robot solutions using natural feature navigation to perform autonomous movement of materials, 3D-vision-guided pick, and palletize solutions, interoperability of mobile robots using RMF, logistics training cells as well as assortment of technologies enabling sustainable operations. OMRON plans to actively work with technology companies, system integrators and start-ups with technology offerings relevant to the logistics industry to pioneer warehouse automation solutions catered to the specific needs of 3PL and 4PL fulfilment centers, e-commerce providers and other warehouse management end-users.
In conjunction with the launch, OMRON also initiated a partnership with the ROS-I Consortium Asia Pacific to facilitate the incubation and development of capabilities and applications that leverage the Robotics Middleware Framework (RMF) for the logistics industry. The partnership also aims to develop common standards for robotics and automation that can be applied globally leveraging OMRON’s custom mobile robot solutions and use the center as a test-bedding facility to model the RMF in logistics. This partnership is initiated through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OMRON and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), A*STAR, which manages the ROS-I Consortium Asia Pacific.
“ARTC’s partnership with OMRON, through our ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific, signifies an industry readiness to adopt the Robotics Middleware Framework currently employed in other industries such as healthcare and facility management. We look forward to working closely with OMRON in leading the adoption of the framework in the logistics industry, while encouraging implementation at scale for the industry and other cross-sectorial applications,” said Dr Wong Chow Cher, Assistant Chief Executive, ARTC, A*STAR.
¹ A*STAR: Agency for Science, Technology and Research
² Source: (IQ Research Report, 2021)