Site: Omron
Shimo-Kaiinji, Nagokakyo-shi
Kyoto 617, Japan

Date Visited: 13 December 1995

JTEC/WTEC Attendees: K. Narayanan (report author), P. Fussell

Hosts:

Isamu Kita

Tsutomu Suzuki

Fujiwara

Ueno Hiroki

Seiki Sato

Takao Ikeda

VISION

The JTEC/WTEC team was unable to tour the Omron plant, but the team was shown a video highlighting Omron's technology and market. The company has the vision of contributing to an optimized society of the 21st century. Since 1983, Omron continuously has introduced new products, starting with a photographic X-ray timer, non-proximity switches, relay, and the very first on-line cash dispenser, to name a few.

MARKET

Omron provides products to public users (ATMs, traffic control systems, point of sales); office users (work stations, peripherals); and home users (finger-insertion blood pressure gauges, electronic thermometers).

TECHNOLOGY

  1. Core technology: computer, communication, and control; a product example: modem

  2. Digital fuzzy logic ("gentle landing" is the Japanese translation)

  3. Micromachining: microswitch, 9 mm; static motor, 10 mm; examples, relay, acceleration sensor, suspension control

  4. Optoelectronics: Fresnel lens cutting 0.5 mm; diameter, electron beam 0.1 µm; examples: CD player, optical card reader

  5. Life science: Biosensor; for example, convert chemical reaction to physical reaction by use of enzymes; examples: on-line food composition test, blood test

GOALS

Omron's main goal is to shorten the research period to development with higher-quality design and products. Omron is implementing concurrent engineering, CAD, FEM, innovative tool design, and rapid prototyping to achieve this goal. For small complicated relays, checking 3D design early and prototyping can save more than 50% of time.

PROCESS

3D                 2D
PRO/E              CAD/CAM
Product Design     Design & Make Tool

RESIN RP

Omron buys SLA 250 resin from INCS. In response to the question, "Did you investigate other resins?" Omron representatives replied that they found equivalency among resin machines in accuracy of parts (relay) as well as price. INCS was chosen for its ability to provide engineering support. Omron used PRO/E and INCS had the same, which enabled easy installation and run-off. Management did look at DTM but found it inadequate.

ACCURACY

Less than 50 micron accuracy is needed for small relays, but for items like cash registers, 200 micron accuracy is OK, and SLA delivers 100 microns. Resin parts are built in 0.1-0.15 mm layers, and beam offset is the primary method for fine-tuning.

SOFTWARE

Pro/Engineer is Omron's software choice. Omron designers now have 3 years of experience; even so, Omron management sees the company's greatest limitations to be their engineers' limited 3D CAD experience and their need to verify and customize the software. The company representatives observed that software needs to be easier for design and tool engineers to use.

RAPID TOOLING

The team's hosts predicted that in 5 years rapid machining will dominate, while rapid prototype will incrementally advance and continue to be restricted for design use.


Published: September 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian