Industrial Automation Explained
We live in a technology-driven times. The advancements in many technological spheres have simplified the manufacturing process to great extend. Today, there are machines capable of performing complicated tasks very precisely and for very short span of time. Many complex industrial applications today are performed without the use of manpower, but with use of machines, computers and robots. The use of automated machines and robots for account of the manpower is known as industrial automation.
Industrial automation takes a significant part of the production in a variety of industries, including automotive, rail, trucking, airlines, oil and gas production, production of electrical and gas utilities, water and waste water treatment and more.
Although complete automation of the manufacturing process is a costly investment, it generates significant savings down the road. The use of computerized robotic machines for performing complicated and repetitive tasks significantly reduces the costs for employees wages, increases the productivity, flexibility and the quality of the manufacturing process. Also, the industrial automation is associated with improving the safety in the industrial work site.
Advantages of Industrial Automation
- Lower Operation Cost
As we've mentioned before, the automation of the manufacturing plant generates significant savings on human interaction. The industrial automation reduces to minimum the costs for workers including monthly wages, paid days off, vacation, bonuses, pension and health coverage, etc. The only manpower to be paid when the manufacturing plant is automated are the engineers that monitor and maintain the system.
- Increased Productivity
The automated machines and robots can operate 24 hours a day, 365 days in the year. On the other side, when workers are involved this is not possible. Even if it the manufacturing plant is operated in three shifts, a 356 days operation is not feasible. For this reason, the industrial automation increases the productivity on the industrial site significantly.
- High Quality
Simply put, a computer-controlled machine never makes mistakes. It will operate as it is programmed, while human errors are more than possible. There are many extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can contribute for an employee to make an error which can lead to decrease in the quality of the end product.
- Higher Flexibility
An automated machine or robot can be adjusted for new task very easy and fast. On the flip-side, introducing a new task in the plant where only human power is included, a previous training is needed. It may take time, effort and money to train workers to perform a specific task they never performed before.
- Increased Safety
Many heavy-duty applications in manufacturing and material handling industry, bear a risk of accidents that in many cases are with fatal consequences. For this reason, including robotic machines in the mundane hazardous operations is highly recommended. In such situations the industrial automation the best option for increasing the safety on the work site.