Robotic Technology Where Humans and Machines Work Together, Offering Solution to Labor Shortages
OMRON Corporation is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement for capital investment in Techman Robot, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "Techman") based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, the world's second-largest producer of collaborative robots that work with people at manufacturing sites. OMRON will hold a stake of approximately 10% in Techman. The investment is expected to be completed by December 2021.
In recent years, the need for automation to mitigate labor shortages in the manufacturing sector has become a social issue. In addition, COVID-19 has posed new risks for workers working in close proximity. Under these circumstances, there is growing demand for collaborative robots that can safely work side by side with humans at manufacturing sites without safety barriers and can flexibly handle multiple tasks. At the same time, both safety and productivity must be assured to accelerate coexistence and coordination between humans and machines.
In 2018, OMRON entered into a strategic alliance with Techman to meet the increasing automation needs generated by labor shortages. Since then, Techman's "TM series" collaborative robots have been sold as a co-branded product globally through OMRON's distribution network. OMRON and Techman have also jointly developed the "Mobile Manipulator," a mobile work robot that combines OMRON's mobile robot and the "TM series," to realize manufacturing sites where humans and machines collaborate. Through the investment in Techman, OMRON aims to jointly develop innovative robot solutions that combine OMRON factory automation equipment with Techman's collaborative robots, ensuring both safety and productivity and offering a solution to the issue of labor shortages at manufacturing sites.
Junta Tsujinaga, Company President of Industrial Automation Business Company, commented on the investment intended to strengthen the OMRON-Techman alliance as follows. "The environment surrounding the manufacturing industry is changing significantly. Anticipating these changes, since 2016 OMRON has pursued advanced manufacturing with the unique value-generation concept 'innovative-Automation' to resolve issues that manufacturing sites face. We have focused on robot technology and market development since it acquired industrial robot maker Adept Technology Co., Ltd. in 2015. In 2018, we added Techman's collaborative robots to our product lineup. The strengthening our alliance with Techman at this time further pushes the evolution of collaboration between humans and machines in manufacturing. By strengthening collaborative robots, OMRON aims to create manufacturing sites where humans and machines collaborate and solve the issue of labor shortages. By utilizing automation technology cultivated at manufacturing sites, we will also actively pursue creating automation to address labor shortages beyond the manufacturing sector in the primary and tertiary sectors as well."
Dr. Shi-Chi Ho, the chairman of Techman Robot, said: "Techman Robot has penetrated the global market and successfully become the world's second-largest collaborative robot company since 2018. Under the alliance, Techman collaborative Robot has enhanced the reputation all over the world with OMRON, which helps achieve our company's mission of improving the lives of humans through innovation. We aim to close the gap for every business and create smart factory solutions for human-machine collaboration. We are delighted to deepen our longstanding relationship with OMRON through this collaboration, which is a significant opportunity for both companies, addressing the fast-growing gap in the market for the demanding need for smart manufacturing. We believe our partnership will open new innovative doors into the future. OMRON and Techman Robot will together deliver a highly flexible and scalable collaborative robot solution, assisting customers to easily and fully integrate collaborative robotics into smart manufacturing."
By strengthening its robotics business, OMRON aims to enable the creation of manufacturing sites that accelerate the realization of its "innovative-Automation" concept, benefiting its customers and enriching people's lives around the world.