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Disinfection robot for overcoming social challenges



News, Processing Technologies, Quality Management

The German-Polish team of Omron Europe has received an award for the development of an automated UV disinfection robot. In Germany, OMRON partner ICA Traffic GmbH has launched the UV-C disinfection robot as HERO21. The mobile device is the first of its kind and offers a nationwide service infrastructure. The annual OMRON Global Awards (TOGA) aim to inspire company employees to approach daily work tasks from a social perspective and to use their technical expertise and the company’s capabilities to innovate for the benefit of society.

This competition focuses on the most pressing social problems of our time. This time, the focus of the awards was on developing solutions to mitigate the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. Out of a total of 6,461 project submissions, the disinfection robot project led by a team of German and Polish employees emerged as the overall winner for the EMEA region. The jury particularly praised the rapid development of the autonomous UV-C robot, which disinfects high-risk areas such as hospitals, schools and offices without human intervention.

“The disinfection robot is helping to contain the spread of Covid-19. It’s a clear response to the greatest social challenge of our time. Congratulations to the team for a well-deserved Gold Award!”

– Gary Banks, General Affairs Manager

Since the contest was launched in 2012, employees have submitted more than 40,000 entries. Through a year-round program of global community projects, employees at all levels and in all regional offices are encouraged to think beyond their daily work and consider how their skills can benefit society. The awards encourage employees to reflect on and evaluate their own work and that of others, learn from colleagues around the world, and ultimately celebrate company-wide successes in solving social problems. Contributions are judged not only on their measurable outcomes, but also on the magnitude of the social challenge they address and the degree of collaboration and synergy among team members.

Disinfection robot eliminates viruses and protects employees

By equipping autonomous LD Series mobile robots with UV-C lamps, the team, in collaboration with local partners, was able to successfully automate the disinfection process, eliminating the need for employees to perform this task. The solution ensures the safety of high-risk areas such as workplaces, schools and healthcare facilities without putting cleaners at risk or causing damage to facility and equipment.

The trackable robots emit ultraviolet rays that sterilize objects. They can also be programmed to meet individual requirements of specific locations, routes or hours of operation. This can help contain the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses, bacteria and germs, increasing safety and confidence. The disinfection robots have been very successful since their first deployment and are already being used in more than ten countries.

Smart solutions to mitigate the impact of the Corona pandemic

Other 2021 award-winning entries include a smart ventilator developed by Omron Spain that measures patients’ respiratory volume and pressure in real time, learns from the data and provides the optimal amount of oxygen. Also of note is a team from Omron China that provided vehicle manufacturer BYD with the technical expertise and equipment for 1,800 face mask production lines and 200 composite factories. A project paper from Japan also shows how the company resumed domestic production of body temperature thermometers for the first time in 25 years in response to a sudden surge in thermometer demand when the Corona pandemic broke out.

For Dr. Klaus Kluger, General Manager Central and Eastern Europe at the Group, the disinfection robot project is perfect proof of the value that the competition has not only for the company but also for society in general: “This is an opportunity for our employees worldwide to use their skills, knowledge and experience for the common good and thus drive innovation and product development. This year’s initiative has generated numerous contributions that underpin the innovative strength of our employees and help society better cope with the devastating impact of the pandemic. To excel in such an extraordinary field is a truly outstanding achievement.”

Yoshihito Yamada, President and CEO, concurs, “In our daily work, each of us has ideas on how to do things better. But it takes courage to look beyond our routine tasks and put those ideas into action. With the competition, we encourage our employees to take that first step, to think outside the box and show passion. This enables us to solve social problems and at the same time increase our corporate value.”

News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

Stabilization of plastic exhaust systems during implementation



According to the exhaust specialist ATEC from Neu Wulmstorf, the Vario roof flange can be mounted on all roofs with high fitting accuracy. The selection is based on the roof pitch and the required nominal size. In addition, the flange is suitable for temperature classes T200 and T250 – and ATEC has had this certified with a general design approval.

The new product combines two components: first, the flange itself, which provides a stable connection between the roof elevation and the roof structure, and second, the optional seal, a self-adhesive vapor retarder. The company provides two versions: for roof pitches between 0° and 30°, and from 30° to 60°, each in eight nominal sizes between DN60/100 and DN250/315. It is also compatible with plastic and metal exhaust systems up to a nominal operating temperature of ≤ 250 °C.

The flange consists of a stainless steel clamp to which two retaining lugs/articulated brackets are welded at the factory. This is accompanied by a cover plate measuring 450 x 450 mm and 0.5 mm thick. With the help of malleable perforated strips, the exhaust pipe together with the Vario roof flange is screwed into place. This allows the Vario to be used flexibly both in new buildings and in existing properties.


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News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

Modern user interface impresses international jury



SIG’s new intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) “SIG CRUISER” has been awarded the prestigious iF DESIGN AWARD 2022 in Gold – one of the most important design awards in the world. This part of SIG’s next-generation filling technology enables customers to easily control their entire production process. The user interface is designed to make the operator’s job much easier, while reducing the need for training and prior experience.

The award has been presented annually since 1954 by the iF Industrie Forum Design for outstanding achievements in product design. The company impressed the 132-member jury, which is made up of independent design experts from around the world, and won the award in the “User Interface (UI)” category. Out of nearly 11,000 entries, SIG CRUISER was awarded gold as one of 73 outstanding design achievements.

The judges made the following statement, “With a user-centric approach and sound development methodology, SIG CRUISER provides consistency from the store floor to the top floor, ensuring quick response times and convenience for both the operator and the service team. The user interface is exceptionally simple and user-friendly in terms of operations, layout and graphics, allowing a single operator to control the entire line.”

Today’s competitive environment requires companies to increase production and margins and optimize available equipment. To get the most out of filling lines, it is critical to reduce the risk of downtime and to interconnect, automate and monitor lines for maximum efficiency. The new user interface makes it possible to control the entire filling line. It displays KPIs in an intuitive way.

“This prestigious global design award is the result of the good cooperation between SIG and our partner, HMI Project GmbH. We are very proud that SIG CRUISER stood out from thousands of submissions and convinced the 132-member jury to award an iF DESIGN AWARD in Gold.”

– Stefan Mergel, Senior Product Manager Equipment

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Ingredients & Auxiliary Materials News Pharmaceuticals Processing Technologies

Innovative insights into emergence and classification into subtypes



One of the deadliest tumor types is pancreatic cancer . The disease is often only discovered in locally advanced or metastasized tumor stages, when surgical intervention comes too late. Researchers led by Dr. Ivonne Regel of LMU Klinikum in Munich have now gained important new insights into the causes of tumor development. They have also succeeded in defining different tumor subtypes based on differences in their metabolic programs. Funded by the Wilhelm Sander Foundation, they are thus making a significant contribution to early detection and to individualized medicine in order to improve the chances of recovery for pancreatic cancer patients.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, also known as pancreatic cancer, is a relatively rare but particularly malignant disease. It represents the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the European Union, and only about 10 percent of patients survive the first five years after diagnosis. This is due to aggressive growth and late diagnosis of the tumor. Pancreatic cancer often manifests itself only after other organs have already been affected and metastases are present. To improve the chance of cure for pancreatic cancer patients, it is of great urgency to find new biomarkers for early detection. Another essential step is to identify tumor-specific signaling pathways that cause aggressive disease progression in order to identify new targets for therapeutic approaches.

TLR3/IRF3/IRF7 signaling pathway critical for pancreatic cancer development

Pancreatic cancer development is a dynamic process involving tissue damage and inflammatory response in the pancreas. When pancreatitis occurs, the organ has a self-healing mechanism. Normal pancreatic cells can divide to replace damaged tissue. Molecules released during inflammatory and tissue-damaging processes are recognized by cell receptors, relaying signals that promote cell survival and division.

However, in pancreatic cells, this can contribute to cell degeneration and promote the development of pancreatic cancer. Researchers led by Dr. Ivonne Regel were able to show for the first time that the signaling pathway plays an important role in inflammatory responses not only in immune cells, but is also active in pancreatic cells of precursor lesions and tumor cells. This activation of the signaling pathway has an important function in pancreatic cancer development. Genetically-altered mice lacking a functional signaling pathway are unable to develop pancreatic carcinomas (see Figure). Similarly, it was genetically knocked out in pancreatic tumor cells using CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors. These genetically modified tumor cells exhibited significantly less aggressive behavior in cell culture experiments and also showed greatly reduced metastasis in animal models.

“For the first time, we were able to demonstrate that an active signaling pathway in pancreatic cells contributes to the development of pancreatic cancer and also supports the formation of metastases.”

– Ivonne Regel

Dr. Regel’s team has made another exciting discovery: In pancreatic tumor cells, the signaling pathway surprisingly does not regulate known target genes; instead, evidence was found for epigenetic modifications. These are regulatory modifications to DNA and packaging proteins (histones) that influence the activity of genes. Thus, the current research results indicate that activation of the signaling pathway in tumor cells leads to high levels of transcription of specific tumor-promoting genes.

These genes primarily regulate tumor cell metabolism. This is particularly important because metabolites of tumor cells can be found in the blood of patients and can be used as biomarkers. “My team and I have succeeded in identifying different subtypes of pancreatic cancer from the blood of cancer patients based on differences in their metabolic programs” said Dr. Regel. “In further studies, we now want to find out to what extent the development of pancreatic cancer subtypes is regulated by the signaling pathway.”


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