Omron sees growth in some applications, non-traditional markets

Schaumburg, IL—Despite expectations of an overall flat market for automation products through April 2004, Omron Electronics LLC sees opportunities in some high-growth application areas, including in-line inspection, machine safeguarding and component traceability.


Schaumburg, IL— Despite expectations of an overall flat market for automation products through April 2004, Omron Electronics LLC

Speaking to editors at the firm's 'Technology Connection 2003' event, company representatives, including CEO Frank Newburn, reported that other industry bright spots include greater than average growth rates in non-manufacturing automation applications, such as entertainment, com-mercial vehicles, and commercial cooking systems.

'Manufacturers continue to be cautious regarding capital investments in new equipment,' says Newburn. 'This trend is expected to continue into the first quarter of 2004. Many companies are still running well below capacity levels, so new equipment purchases are being delayed.

'We're seeing above average growth in several automation application areas. These include in-line inspection, machine safety and traceability. Not surprisingly, these bright spots coincide with the trend to quickly adopt lean manufacturing approaches and squeeze costs out of manufacturing.

'Manufacturing is the last frontier for cost reduction for most companies. Most have already reduced sales, marketing and administrative expenses to the bone, and are now turning the microscope on manufacturing. Investments in quality improvements, machine safety and electronic data tracking systems have proven to provide low initial investments, quick returns, and long-term costs savings.'

Traceability aids efficiency
Cradle-to-grave component traceability has become one of the fastest-growing trends this year, according to Omron's research. Manufacturers in the automotive and healthcare products industries in particular are tracking virtually every component part through the manufacturing assembly process to improve process efficiency and limit liability. As a result, Omron reports that sales of its AutoID systems, such as 2D matrix code readers and radio frequency identification systems (RFID) are ahead of plan.

In addition, non-manufacturing automation sales are also up as continued growth in the service sector fuels demand for increased efficiency and lower costs.

'We expect above average growth for automation equipment in the entertainment and amusement industries, commercial cooking systems, automated vehicle washes, and commercial vehicles,' adds Newburn.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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