Industrial Automation Idea
What Is Industrial Automation?
To answer that question we need to take a closer look at what is industrial automation. Basically, automation refers to a broad spectrum of technologies that reduce human intervention in commercial processes. Reducing human interaction means reducing the amount of time that machines are idle; this has obvious implications for businesses both large and small.
However, What Is Industrial Automation?
In order to answer that question, we must take a detailed look at what is industrial automation and what controls industrial production.
The obvious starting point is the factory. Virtually every large factory operates within an organized structure where there are set procedures and routines that guide the entire operation.
Typically each machine has a single function (for example, the cutting machinery) which is programmed by the manufacturer. The manufacturing process is controlled from above by a series of preset controls which can be varied by the operator according to the situation.
In most cases, the operator also modifies the operation as required to achieve new product specifications. Thus, even though the machines may be automated, the overall production process remains highly complex, largely because of the intricate interactions between humans and machines.
The first aspect is related to the way that production is actually carried out. Once a factory has been set up, there will usually be at least one production floor.
This floor will normally be separated into two sections: the non-automated work which comprises the tasks such as filling machines or sorting lumps of coal; and the automated equipment or machines which are used to carry out the tasks described above, typically using robots or other technological devices.
The distinction between the two is important from an economic point of view: the non-automated tasks carry a lower initial cost; they can be carried out without human supervision, making them easier to automate; and they also do not require the same skills as the automated ones.
So they are not as highly skilled and, therefore, do not command as high a salary. This initial cost advantage is then offset against the fact that the longer these tasks are performed by machines, the higher the wages necessary to cover their costs and so reduce the profits of the firm.
Secondly, the traditional definition of what is industrial automation was associated with a process whereby a computer-generated program was set into machinery which ran on a predetermined schedule to deliver specific results.
This process was highly inefficient because the results were only ever produced when the program was triggered; this meant that humans had to remain in control of the factories’ production process in order to ensure that the intended output was produced.
By contrast, the modern definition of what is industrial automation emphasizes the importance of a logical programming process; one in which the machines do not decide for themselves.
Modern industrial production machines are increasingly intelligent and can be programmed in much the same way as their human counterparts to ensure that the desired output is produced as per the specifications programmed into them.
This process is also far less inefficient than the traditional one because humans remain in control of both the production process and the end results.
The third factor which underpins what is industrial automation is the fact that it enables the production of more goods at a faster rate.
The first and second factors are unrelated to one another because the fact that human operators have to stay near the machinery at all times means that the speed at which they must operate machinery is significantly slower.
This causes the delay which results from the need for the operator to get closer to the machine and subsequently stay near it until the desired result has been achieved.
Industrial automation removes this problem because the operator does not have to remain near the equipment in order to trigger its start-up.
This makes industrial automation a highly efficient method because it minimizes the delays caused by human operator error and reduces the overall speed at which goods are produced.
In addition to what is industrial automation, there are also what are known as intelligent tools or digital computer-controlled (DCNC) systems.
These are machines that are networked in order to perform the required operations such as cutting, drilling, forming, or printing which are done with relative ease.
Some of these machines are capable of operating with only a single physical input while others are networked in order to perform thousands of small operations in a short period of time.
DCNC machines are highly sophisticated because they receive initial instructions from data collectors located on a remote server. Once these initial instructions are received, the machine can continue to run independently, processing orders as they come in and completing them as programmed.
What is industrial automation does not just refer to automated machines; it encompasses a number of other technological developments that enable production to be done more efficiently.
One example is new software that allows computers to sort through large amounts of data and to make the necessary decisions quickly. There are also new types of sensors that are now being used in many types of industrial processes and which are programmed using complex program languages.
All of these technologies have made what is industrial automation a very complex field indeed.