The ‘3-i’ Automation Concept for Smarter Factories


Omron recently organised a media roundtable on “Smart Manufacturing Lines – The need of the hour” with an experiential rendezvous with Mobile Robots.

  • Client


  • Services

    To substantiate the Omron’s commitment towards ‘enabling manufacturers to not just Make in India, but to ‘Make world-class in India’ in the wake of the speedily rising and demanding Industry 4.0.

  • Technologies

    Industrial Automation

  • Dates




Smart Manufacturing is the need of the hour for India if the country has to achieve its goal of raising the contribution of manufacturing sector to the GDP. “The manufacturing industry may fall short of achieving the targeted contribution towards the GDP – 25% by 2020 and reach USD 1 trillion by 2025 – if the automation industry does not work in tandem to help the machine builders make a continuous transition towards smart manufacturing,” observed Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, Omron Automation India.


The venue was Omron’s state-of-the-art Automation Centre (ATC) located in Mumbai where Mr Gandhi was holding forth on the company’s offerings for making Indian factories smarter with its unique ‘3-i’ concept, along with ILOR+S portfolio of products. ILOR+S stands for Input-Logic-Output-Robotics+Safety, representing some of the world’s most sophisticated technologies including Omron’s proprietary sensing technology.


The ‘3-i’ concept stands for Intelligent, Integrated and Interactive, viz.,

  • Intelligent solutions to make manufacturing smarter by utilising information technology and creation of additional value to the shop-floor by enabling the makers to collect, visualise and analyse data

  • Integrated technologies with seamless integration through advanced control, aiding manufacturers to pursue maximisation of machine performance and accuracy, and

  • Interactive – the element that helps manufacturers achieve the right harmony between humans and machines working together to enhance productivity. 


At Omron’s Mumbai ATC, these ‘3-i(s)’ were put into practice in the form of demonstrations comprising of the company’s big data/IIoT, traceability, robotics, motion-control, quality and inspection, safety, and engineering solutions on Sysmac – the latest machine automation platform from Omron with integration throughout: from controller to software.


The result is a powerful and robust automation platform, that integrates automation solutions – smart sensors, robots, vision, machine safety, PLCs, servos and drives connected with single wire, all within a single software – the collation aimed to substantiate the Omron’s commitment towards ‘enabling manufacturers to not just Make in India, but to ‘Make world-class in India’ in the wake of the speedily rising and demanding Industry 4.0 expectations. “Not only this, the rapidly evolving end-customer landscape demands a strong push to the Indian manufacturing capabilities in the form of design and energy optimisation, finest asset utilisation, big data and analytics, worker and machine safety and not to forget zero-defect production,. For all this, a connected shop-floor with connected supply chains and connected customers is the need of the hour,” emphasised Mr Gandhi.


Omron’s IIoT based solutions – one of the most notable aspects of a ‘Connected Factory’ – create a seamless interface between all machine layers and information technology. “Omron uses the IO-Link – supported by more than 100 companies – which is specified as international standard IEC 61131-9, an open interface technology between the sensors and/or actuators and the I/O terminal, with seamless connectivity and compatibility with EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP, a total automation platform,” said Harshal Shendurnikar, Product Manager – Sensors, Omron Automation India, making a presentation on how it leads to transparent supply chains based on real-time data based production management enabling the manufacturers to successfully cope up with three of their biggest challenges: reducing downtime, decreasing frequency of sudden failures and improving changeover efficiency. Mr Shendurnikar also noted how it is often the lowest rung sensor that is among the top 10 ‘stop factors’ in production and how the IO-Link helps in solving this problem with its ability of bidirectional communication allowing sensors and actuators to exchange status information and operating parameters. He later illustrated the point with a couple of case studies. “With complete architecture to provide total support, Omron helps manufacturers shift from preventive to predictive maintenance,” said Mr Shendurnikar.


Another significant and enthusing part of the whole experiential display stood out to be Omron’s advanced Robotics Solutions denoting flexible automation for creating super-productivity and super-flexibility at the shop floors of the future factories. In his presentation, Priyank Saxena

Senior Engineer (Robotics), Omron Automation India, spoke how the conventional ‘hard-tooled robotic cell’ is making way for ‘flexible integrated cell’ and ‘hard coded conventional AGV with limited flexibility’ is now being replaced with ‘flexible AIV autonomous navigation’. Mr Saxena talked about Omron’s range of fixed as well as mobile industrial robots. The fixed robots include the various 4-axis SCARA robots and 6-axis articulated robots used for mechanical assembly, material handling and packaging applications, and the Delta or parallel robots used in high speed pick & place applications. These vision-guided robots are helping manufacturers reduce development time without proving taxing for the installation space. Not only inspection, they also help in making a record of data and images for future analysis.


Then there are the Omron mobile robots – said to be the world’s smartest and most productive Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AIVs). Living up to the vision of integration represented by the second ‘i’, these robots harness collaboration between man and machine to increase productivity in shop-floor and warehousing operations. These are easy to operate, have excellent man-machine workspace sharing, secure, accurate, reliable, scalable, don’t weigh much, can be easily programmed, are cost-effective and flexible to adapt to the size of the floor. The robots could be very well placed for the jobs which are mundane, high-precision, hazardous, burdensome, or the tasks that do not require critical thinking.


Equipped with Omron’s patented Acuity technology, the AIVs have robust self-navigation system even if there is constant movement of people, pallets, carts and forklifts, and shelves being emptied and restocked. Hence, they do not need any kind of shop-floor modification and can also dock and undock carts itself with the help of sensors.


The Mumbai ATC also has the Omron Tsunagi Lab – a one of its kind laboratory that enables connectivity and synchronisation between industrial devices of different manufacturers and Sysmac products, the global Tsunagi Team working constantly for different network integrations for customers' machines.


Highlighting the utility of the Automation Centre in making these solutions to be experienced by the manufacturing and engineering fraternity, Mr Gandhi introduced the facility as the one-point destination presenting Omron’s end-to-end solutions capabilities curated on the mission “You create a concept and we will help you make it work”. He also expressed positivity towards the sector based initiatives like Make in India besides stating his concerns that the newly introduced reforms in policies and the positivity in the economic atmosphere may lose steam if the manufacturing capabilities are not developed in the right manner. Industrial Automation has a great role to play in developing these capabilities, and helping the makers realise the full potential of smart manufacturing.




Pix1: (L-R) Sameer Gandhi, Harshal Shendurnikar and Priyank Saxena having a discussion with the delegates.

Pix2: Omron Smart Manufacturing Solutions at the Automation Centre.

Pix3: The Omron Mobile Robot.

Pix4: 14.Omron Sysmac Wall for Smart Manufacturing Solutions.