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Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, has announced that Omron, a Japan-based global electrical equipment manufacturer, has chosen Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. It will be the conceptual model for its virtualised control platform proof-of-concept (PoC) that will help deliver greater management of industrial systems and processes. 
By moving to a software, containerised approach, Omron aims to save time and reduce complexity, giving manufacturing plants more agility and flexibility to innovate. 
This implementation is one of the first of its kind and will allow real-time data generated at manufacturing edge sites to be more seamlessly transmitted throughout the organisation and will also allow industrial control equipment programmes to be operated remotely from applications running in containers configured with Red Hat OpenShift. 
PoC rollout
Omron has started the PoC rollout of its virtualised control platform primarily for current customers with future plans to help customers convert containerised solutions into composable services for industrial Personal Computers PCs (IPCs).
Omron offers products and services in around 120 countries and regions, including control equipment for factory automation, electronic components and infrastructure systems including automated ticket gates at train stations, power conditioners for solar power generation and healthcare. 
Omron’s control equipment division offers a variety of solutions focused on improving productivity at manufacturing facilities. This division has been focusing on the shift from the traditional hardware-centric model to a software-driven infrastructure to build its virtualised control platform. 
Strong backbone
The adoption of Red Hat OpenShift, which has a proven history in countless commercial Kubernetes environments and a high degree of compatibility with other solutions, will provide a strong backbone for achieving the new kind of management that Omron is striving for. 
Red Hat began implementation on Omron industrial PCs in April 2022, utilising knowledge acquired through the collaborative efforts of its global support system, and completed an installation test in September of 2022.
With increased automation and management of operations, the cloud-native virtualised control platform can be managed centrally from the cloud. This will allow the gathering, analysis and updating of all kinds of machine data, as well as the alteration of control programmes in the facility, which until now has required on-site work, to be performed in the cloud. 
Innovations developed and tested in the cloud environment can be instantaneously deployed on-site. Omron will be able to respond to customer needs by improving productivity and efficiency of its operations and shortening the innovation cycle. Omron will offer the virtualised control platforms PoC with Red Hat OpenShift to its existing customers, primarily in core industrial sectors. 
Industrial customers
As a preliminary stage, Omron will start with key industrial customers that utilise a large number of Omron PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) and aims to expand in the future into an even broader range of industrial fields including infrastructure, transportation, healthcare business and more. 
With this work, Omron hopes to see a significant increase in factory productivity in addition to enhanced flexibility and agility for new initiatives in the industrial use OT market with full scale operations and global expansion in 2025.
This initiative with Omron delivers a solution that blends hybrid cloud and the industrial edge. Red Hat continues to evolve the Red Hat portfolio with innovations like single-node OpenShift to become nimble and adaptable to small factor devices, newly announced Red Hat Device Edge to support different use cases and workloads on small, resource-constrained devices at the farthest edge and many more. 
Best decisiion
Toshiki Natsui, Manager Controller PM group, Industrial Automation Company, Omron Corporation, said: “The industrial sectors we are targeting require high levels of reliability. In this regard, the choice of Red Hat OpenShift was the best decision. In current manufacturing sites where there are problems improving overall factory productivity in spite of the high level of productivity of a single piece of equipment, new models created in a cloud environment based on software-driven technology can be instantly introduced to the factory, and data can be gathered and updated in real time, making it easier to achieve “fingertips control, anytime, from anywhere.” In addition, there is a broad range of sizes of manufacturing facilities. To cope with this, “virtualised control platforms” also need scalability. We hope to collaborate with Red Hat in the future on solutions like Red Hat Device Edge to deliver this promising innovation to the marketplace.”
Francis Chow, vice president and general manager, In-vehicle Operating System and Edge, Red Hat, said: “Open source innovation is leading the charge in delivering autonomous operations at the manufacturing shop floor. By embracing the open hybrid cloud and edge computing, organisations are able to build future-ready, cloud-native applications that drive effective communication between IT and OT for the industrial industry and beyond. Red Hat is excited to continue this work with Omron to deliver interoperability and scalability using Red Hat OpenShift, with plans to pursue Red Hat Device Edge in the future. We look forward to our continued work with Omron to revolutionise technology at production facilities and beyond.”-- TradeArabia News Service