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OMRON to Acquire Microscan Systems, US-based Industrial Code Reader Company

August 30, 2017

Acquisition will accelerate IoT deployment in the manufacturing environment through integration of control and information.

Kyoto, Japan—OMRON Corporation (Headquarters: Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto; President and CEO: Yoshihito Yamada) today announced it has entered into an agreement with Spectris plc in the U.K. regarding its acquisition of the US-based subsidiary of Spectris, Microscan Systems, Inc. (Microscan Systems). Headquartered in Renton, Washington, Microscan Systems is a leading global supplier of industrial code readers. By welcoming Microscan Systems as a new member of the OMRON Group, OMRON seeks to further advance the control of manufacturing equipment and production lines, using IoT to connect virtually all objects on a manufacturing floor, including components and machines. The completion of the acquisition is scheduled for early October of 2017.

Microscan Systems is a world leader in barcode scanning and decoding technology for industrial applications, and its business is expanding worldwide. The company develops a wide range of code reading devices, including barcode readers, 2D barcode readers, and barcode verifiers.1 Microscan Systems also possesses one of the most advanced algorithms in the industry, which enables stable reading of codes directly engraved or printed on products, even those with rough, glossy, or curved surfaces.

By inviting Microscan Systems into its Group, OMRON aims to help its customers develop a flexible style of manufacturing that meets increasingly diversified consumer requirements. This will be done by coding the information of all components and production equipment in the manufacturing environment. At the same time, OMRON seeks to help customers avoid frequent quality issues by tracing the source of problems. Through these endeavors, OMRON is determined to create a safe and secure society in collaboration with client companies.

In recent years, manufacturers have become committed to achieving more exacting traceability and enhancing governance regarding product safety as stipulated in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct.2 In doing so, they can respond to growing demands for product safety and security, while eliminating quality issues. Final products are becoming increasingly personalized, reflecting the diversification of consumer preferences, and this leads to a growing need for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing. Moreover, to reach the ideal of one-to-one customized production, companies are realizing the importance of the ability to trace individual products through serialization. Because of these trends, assigning an ID code to each product or component has become increasingly common in various industries, resulting in more exacting requirements for code readers used on manufacturing floors. For example, the automobile industry requires robust code readers capable of reading 2D codes directly engraved on glossy metal parts such as engine blocks and cylinders, while also withstanding the harsh factory floor environment. In the digital device industry, each functional component is subject to ID control, which requires more compact, higher-precision code readers. In the pharmaceutical industry as well, employment of serialization systems that mark a separate code on each box of medicine is being promoted to prevent counterfeiting and improve product safety.

Through the acquisition of Micrroscan, OMRON expects to acquire a diversity of code readers incorporating Microscan Systems’s advanced 2D code reading technology, and integrate these with OMRON’s automation technology employed in its extensive line of control equipment. By so doing, OMRON seeks to offer comprehensive solution packages that are tailored to the challenges faced by each industry. Furthermore, by making mutual use of each company’s sales network, OMRON and MS will offer individually optimized solutions for a wider range of customers.

Examples of new solutions offered through the combination of OMRON and MS technologies:

  • “Robot-linked traceability solution package” enabling easy and stable reading of multiple, intricately positioned ID codes
  • “High-quality manufacturing solution package” for ideal combinations of components depending on their grade and characteristics
  • “Serialization solution package for legal/regulatory compliance” enabling anyone to easily meet various legal requirements and regulations such as pharmaceutical regulations
  • Predictive maintenance for highly efficient operation through ID coding for machines
  • “Zero defect” manufacturing environment achieved by connecting machines with machine data, etc.

As a leader in industrial automation, OMRON has extensive lines of control components and equipment, ranging from image-processing sensors and other input devices to various controllers and output devices such as servo motors, as well as a range of safety devices and industrial robots. By combining these devices via software, OMRON has developed a variety of unique and highly effective automation solutions for manufacturers worldwide.

Based on its reservoir of advanced technologies and comprehensive range of devices, OMRON set forth a strategic concept called “innovative-Automation!3” consisting of three innovations or “i’s”—“integrated” (control evolution), “intelligent” (development of intelligence by ICT), and “interactive” (new harmonization between people and machines). OMRON is now committed to bringing innovation to manufacturing sites by materializing this concept. Going forward, OMRON will strive to create an environment that facilitates easy collection, analysis, and application of information at the manufacturing floor level. This will be made possible, for example, by connecting the information of various objects read by code readers to OMRON’s developing IoT service platform. This will allow OMRON to accelerate the creation of an “intelligent” manufacturing site—key to the materialization of “Integrated, Intelligent, and Interactive Automation!”—together with its client companies. By so doing, OMRON continues to pursue remarkable enhancements in quality and productivity for the manufacturing industry.

Outline of Microscan Systems

Company Name: Microscan Systems, Inc.

President: Scott Summerville

Founded: 1982

Business: Development, manufacture and marketing of industrial barcode readers, verification products, and smart cameras (Wholly owned subsidiary of Spectris plc)

Employees: 192

Locations: Headquarters: Renton, WA, USA

Branches: Nashua, NH, USA; The Netherlands

Sales Offices: Singapore, China, India, South Korea, Germany, France, Mexico, Brazil

1 Verifiers

Code verification devices that inspect whether codes are printed correctly in accordance with quality standards.

2 Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct

The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct is a global set of standards for the electronics industry. These standards were established to ensure that working conditions in the electronics industry supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that business operations are environmentally responsible and conducted ethically.

3 “innovative-Automation!”

Recently, OMRON has developed a manufacturing innovation concept, called “innovative-Automation!” With this concept, OMRON is currently committed to bringing innovation to manufacturing sites through three key innovations, or three “i’s.” Through these innovations in the area of automation, OMRON aims to enable significant productivity improvements in manufacturing sites in order to achieve high-value-added manufacturing. With the first “i,” “integrated” (control evolution), OMRON will seek to advance automated control technology so that virtually any operator, even inexperienced operators, can effortlessly perform work that previously required the expert skills of experienced workers. With the second “i,” “intelligent” (development of intelligence by ICT), OMRON seeks to create constantly evolving equipment and production lines. By adopting a wide range of control devices and artificial intelligence (AI), machines can learn through experience and maintain themselves in optimal condition. For the third “i,” “interactive” (new harmonization between people and machines), OMRON pursues the development of a new harmonious relationship between human operators and machines. Working together in the same workspace, machines will be able to assist human operators by recognizing human thoughts and behavior.

About OMRON Corporation

OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation based on its core technology of "Sensing & Control + Think."

Established in 1933, OMRON has about 36,000 employees worldwide, working to provide products and services in 117 countries.The company's business fields cover a broad spectrum, ranging from industrial automation and electronic components to automotive electronics, social infrastructure systems, healthcare, and environmental solutions.

In the field of industrial automation, OMRON supports manufacturing innovation by providing advanced automation technology and products, as well as through extensive customer support, in order to help create a better society. For more information, visit OMRON's website: www.omron.com.

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