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Today, the growing competitiveness of industry demands high quality and authentic products at a competitive rate. To meet this challenge, many industries are considering various new product designs and new integrated manufacturing techniques.
What is Automation in Industry?
Automation is the control of machines and processes by independent systems through the use of various technologies which are based on computer software or robotics. Industry implements automation to increase productivity and reduce labor costs.
Industrial automation utilizes various industrial communication devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), programmable automatic controllers (PACs) which are used to control the industry. In industries, control strategies use a set of technologies implemented to achieve the desired result, making automation systems necessary in industries.
Why Industrial Automation?
Industrial automation improves the rate of production through superior control of production. It helps to produce bulk by significantly reducing product processing time with better quality. Therefore, a given labor input it produces a large number of results.
Integrating several processes in an industry with automated machinery, minimizes cycle times and effort, reducing the need for human labor. Due to the industrial automation, the investment on workers has been saved. Thus, the investment in workers has been saved with industrial automation.
Since automation reduces human involvement, the possibility of human error is also eliminated. Due to automation, consistent and reliable product quality can be maintained with greater automation compliance by adaptively controlling and monitoring industrial processes at all stages, from the laboratory to the industrial level.
The automation can completely reduce the need to manually check for various process parameters. Making the use of automation technologies, industrial processes automatically adjusts process variables to define values using closed-loop control techniques. The complexity of operating processes is reduced with industrial automation. The industrial automation decreases the level of personal safety by replacing it with automated machines working in harsh conditions.
Types of Industrial Automation Systems
In fixed automation, the sequence of processing operations is set by the equipment parameters. Each of the operation in a fixed or hard automation sequence is usually simple; it is the combination and coordination of many operations into one piece of equipment that makes the system more complicated. This type of automation is characterized by high initial investment cost and high production rates. It is, therefore, suitable for products with very high demand and volumes. Machine transfer lines, automatic assembly machines, and certain chemical processes instruments are examples of fixed automation.
The production equipment is designed to be able to modify the sequence of operations to the different product configurations in this automation. The sequence of operation is controlled by a programming, which is a set of coded instructions allowing the system to read and interpret them. This automation is particularly appropriate for batch production process where production volume is medium to high. It is hard to change and recognize the system for a new product or sequence of operations. Numerically controlled machines, steel rolling mills, paper mills, and industrial robots are the examples of programmable automation.
A flexible or soft automated system is a system that is capable of producing a wide range of products with essentially no time for changes from one product to another. It is a fully programmable automation. There is no loss of production time when reprogramming the automation system and changing the physical parameter of the product. As a result, the system can produce different combinations and schedules of products instead of requiring them to be manufactured in separate batches. Examples of this automation system are self-guided vehicles, automobiles and CNC machines.
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