Industrial Automation


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Omron Acquires Microscan to Complete Machine Vision Portfolio

Reprinted with permission from the December, 2017 issue of U.S.Tech

By Jacob Fattal, Publisher

Following the recent additions of Delta Tau Motion Control and Adept Robotics, Omron Corporation has acquired industrial traceability and inspection provider Microscan. By adding Microscan to the Omron Group, Omron further advances its interconnected, industrial Internet of Things (IoT) barcode scanning and machine vision solutions. The acquisition was completed in early October 2017.

Microscan has been manufacturing code scanning and decoding technology since 1982and operates worldwide. The company offers a wide range of reading devices, including barcode readers, 2D barcode readers and barcode verifiers. Microscan also developed an advanced, proprietary algorithm, which enables the reading of codes that are directly engraved or printed on products — even those with rough, glossy or curved surfaces.

Robb Black, CEO and COO of Omron Americas, described the acquisition as a “synergistic move.” With Microscan’s numerous developments in code reading and machine vision, Omron can now advertise itself as a more complete solutions provider. Black specifically highlighted the company’s track and trace capabilities, which was a key factor in the acquisition.

Microscan, for its part, will now benefit significantly from a much broader sales base, through Omron’s network. “The thing that Omron really brings to Microscan is the commercial scale,” said Scott Summerville, CEO of Microscan. “It’s going to be full integration, so the sales force will be much, much larger than what Microscan had by itself. This gives us the ability to scale and grow the business more quickly.”

According to both companies, the acquisition has gone very smoothly. The rapid progress and lack of major setbacks is due to the level of planning and collaboration that went into the process. Rather than a typical, hands-off business acquisition, this is a complete integration of Omron Microscan as a global business unit with Omron.

Manufacturers are becoming more concerned with traceability and are more carefully governing product quality to meet industry requirements, such as the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition(IECC) code of conduct. Final products are also becoming increasingly personalized, leading to a greater need for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing. With such a demand for one-to-one customized production, companies are finding individual product traceability critical.

Omron has unveiled examples of new solution packages that are tailored to meet the specific needs of different industries, including the automotive, consumer electronics and pharmaceutical markets.

A “robot-linked traceability” solution could enable easy and stable reading of multiple, intricately-positioned ID codes.

A “high-quality manufacturing” solution package could be used for ideal combinations of components, depending on their grades and characteristics. A “serialization solution package for legal/regulatory compliance” would allow a customer to more easily meet various legal requirements and regulations, such as in the pharmaceutical industry. A “zero defect” package would be focused on creating a manufacturing environment of interconnected machines that leverage machine data to improve product quality.

Omron is now committed to bringing data collection, analysis and application to the manufacturing floor. The company plans to accomplish this by connecting the information from various code-read objects to its i-BELT IoT service platform. Working together in the same space, production machines of the future will be able to assist humans by recognizing their behavior and reacting accordingly. With the acquisition of Microscan, Omron is a step closer to creating a new, harmonious relationship between human operators and machines.