Our Shanghai Factory is a development/production site undergirding our factory automation (FA) business in China. It enables ultra-high-mix low-volume production of as many as approximately 23,000 different products, including PLCs, sensors, temperature controllers, power supplies, servo drivers, and robots. The factory takes on difficult challenges in manufacturing to promptly and stably supply the vast range of FA products demanded by the Chinese market, in turn securing our standing as a reliable manufacturer of control devices. Our Shanghai Factory practices and demonstrates OMRON’s value-added manufacturing, even amid continuing changes in supply chain conditions. With quality as the top priority, it continues to improve productivity and quality by collecting and analyzing data from digitalized production lines. By combining Low Cost Intelligent Automation (LCIA) equipment, which enables low-cost autonomation by focusing on select points, with full automation equipment, the site allows for optimized human-machine collaboration to enable a production line that can advance both productivity and quality.
OMRON’s Shanghai Factory has more than 100 cellular production lines and produces approximately 23,000 different products. Each of these lines undergoes an average of up to 20 product changeovers per day. To maximize productivity and quality in such ultra-high-mix low-volume production, we employ measures for human-machine collaborative production in which autonomated machines assist workers. We also use a Cell Line Control System (CLCS), designed to boost productivity in cellular production involving significant amounts of manual work, to eradicate defects caused by manufacturing processes. By improving the production site through industrial engineering (IE) founded on the visualization and analysis of its data, we have been able to boost productivity by 12%.
Production line management with CLCS allows us to track 4M (machines, manpower, methods, and material) conditions of parts suppliers and per-lot data on the results of inspections conducted in the course of manufacturing obtained through IoT technologies. This information is used to visualize risk factors that can undermine quality or productivity. We also use our production system’s Statistical Process Control (SPC) feature to detect signs of quality deterioration within the production process, so we can find and proactively take action against quality risks.
We additionally collect all relevant (4M) data from the production line to enable optimal quality inspections and use AI systems that incorporate quality improvement know-how to empower on-site workers to take proper and quick action for better quality.
Our Shanghai Factory uses mobile robots called Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AIVs) to transport parts and products. AIVs allow on-site workers to focus their efforts on work that adds high value. They also had the effect of reducing lead time by 2 hours and cutting the required intermediate storage area in half. Parts and products can be transported for each order on an as-needed basis, instead of all at once at a predesignated time, enabling just-in-time transport even in high-mix low-volume cellular production lines.
Our Shanghai Factory uses SCARA robots to inspect and transport products during assembly inspections to prevent inefficiency and quality issues caused by human error. To allow human workers to direct their efforts toward more creative work by leaving whatever can be done by machines to machines, we conducted failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) and redesigned our processes to maximize operational value. We tripled productivity by implementing new technologies such as unmanned inspections and LED inspections, in addition to automated transport, and by combining these new technologies with our products and existing technologies. We also focused our capital investment on select areas, achieving shorter depreciation periods of 1-2 years.
LCIA using OMRON’s control devices enables low-cost autonomation of a wide range of equipment, including soldering machines, screwing machines, inserters, labeling machines, and print inspection machines. For example, we autonomated product quality assessment conventionally conducted through sensory inspections reliant on human eyesight to eliminate assessment variation and improve inspection accuracy. Using a digital system, assessment results collected as data were organized, integrated, and analyzed together with product design data to deliver quality traceability. Work productivity is improved on a day-to-day basis through continuous IE on the basis of collected data.
High-mix low-volume production tends to be incongruous with continuous production, due to its smaller per-order production volume and thus shorter production time with autonomated equipment. For this reason, applying autonomation methods designed for conventional continuous production in such scenarios offers poor return on investment.
Our Shanghai Factory is equipped with versatile collaborative robots that can work together with human workers and can be relocated and shared as needed between multiple equipments. This allows us to maintain high productivity levels even when line configurations are changed to accommodate different product items. The image systems of these robots are used to automate their positioning and correction upon relocation, and thereby configure operations suited for equipment conditions in their new process without the help of human eyesight. What’s more, this configuration can be easily completed with the press of a button.
No. 789 Jinji Road, Jinqiao Export Processing Zone, Pudong, Shanghai
– 500 m (5-minute walk) from Jinji Road station on Shanghai Metro Line 9
– 1 km (10-minute walk) from Jinhai Road station on Shanghai Metro Line 12