Automation specialist OMRON celebrates its 90th birthday and donates 10,000 euros to i-bots student teams. Lower Saxony’s Economics Minister Olaf Lies, Regional Councilor Ulf-Birger Franz, VDMA, and technology-loving students visit the OMRON stand at Hannover Messe.

Celebrating the company’s 90 years of innovation and underlining OMRON’s commitment to inspire the youth about innovative technologies, OMRON donated 10,000 euros to the i-bots robotics organization. Aiming to support and shape the future of manufacturing, the company welcomed and had a talk with some of the kids at their stand in Hannover Messe 2023. The company was also delighted to have Lower Saxony’s Economics Minister, Olaf Lies, Regional Councilor of Hannover and Head of the Department of Economics, Transport and Education, Ulf-Birger Franz, as well as VDMA’s Educational Policy Officer, Stefan Grötzschel, visit their booth.

i-bots: Experimenting and inspiring with robotics

The i-bots are a talented group of around 60 students, aged 8-19, from Roberta RegioZentrum Hannover, focused on constructing and programming various robot systems. The Roberta RegioZentrum Hannover, certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, is the leading hub for robotics activities in the Hannover region’s school sector, supporting students, educators, schools, and companies. The i-bots teams experiment with robotics at the prestigious Leibniz Universität Hannover and have won many international robotics competitions, including the World Championship for RoboCup Junior. i-bots provides an opportunity for students to develop their robotics skills, preparing them for future careers.

Together with i-bots and VDMA, OMRON is looking into the future of industry and automation in Germany, and how associations and companies in Germany can work more closely and effectively together to offer children and young people a better and more inspiring environment in modern industry, also to respond to the looming labour shortage of experts in the sector.

Economics Minister Lies underlines the importance of such cooperation: “In order to strengthen Lower Saxony and Germany as a business location and set the course for a successful, sustainable and productive future, it is essential that more connections are made and synergies are used. Everyone benefits from this: organizations as well as companies, research and development, politics and society. Particular attention is paid to children and young people. In this case, such cooperation is exemplary. Because one of our biggest challenges in all the changes that lie ahead of us is that we have to get young people excited about technology. They are the professionals of tomorrow.”

Ulf-Birger Franz, Head of Economic Affairs for the Hanover region comments: “We are incredibly proud of what the Roberta RegioZentrum has achieved over the past decade. We’re talking about international successes that young robotics professionals keep bringing to the Hanover region. Roberta is an essential cornerstone in the promotion of robotics. I am delighted that an established company with a long history like OMRON is supporting us with 10,000 euros. I would like express my sincere gratitude to OMRON on behalf of the Hanover region.”

Klaus Kluger, Sales Director Central and East Europe at OMRON, agrees: “Supporting the youth is crucial to OMRON’s commitment of contributing to a better society. For example, we invite children and young people to activities such as Girls’ Day in the company, organize open days, cooperate with educational institutions such as the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, make our technology available and more. Our experts offer training courses and workshops to students. At the same time, we support important education and research initiatives financially – like i-bots in this case – as well as through donations to universities and other institutions.”

“Automation, sensor and robot technology as well as AI can be found in almost every company today. The most effective and fun way for children and young people to acquaint themselves with such solutions is by trying them out early and independently, through visiting companies and gaining practical experiences,” Ina May, Manager of robospace gGmbH that oversees the i-bots activities comments.

“It has been a pleasure to see this kind of collaboration come to life at the Hannover Messe,” Stefan Grötzschel, Educational Policy Officer at the VDMA comments. “To combat the shortage of specialized staff in mechanical engineering in the future, a clever combination of cooperative school programs, along with traditional offline and online measures, will be necessary.