Industrial process automation has begun revolutionizing the manufacturing industry since 1913. One of the forerunners in automation was Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company when he introduced the assembly line technique of mass production.
The assembly line is a manufacturing technique in which interchangeable parts are added sequentially as the semi-finished assembly moves from workstation to workstation until the end product is complete. With this technique, products are assembled more quickly and with less labor as parts are mechanically moved from workstation to workstation without employing people to manually transport the parts for assembly.
Before then, it would take Ford Motor twelve hours to assemble one car, but since the assembly line was introduced, it would only take one and a half hours per car. As a result, it boosted Ford Motor's production rate and increased its profits.
Industrial control and automation have evolved from using basic hydraulics and pneumatics to today's modern robots. Initially, the goals of using automation were to increase production while decreasing labor costs. However, as technology advances, new automation technologies have revolutionized equipment, machines, and processes, significantly improving efficiency and product quality while lowering labor and production costs.
What is Industrial Automation?
Industrial Automation is a control system technology that helps improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing processes by utilizing computers, robots, and information technologies. It also assists in detecting errors in your manufacturing processes, performing tedious and monotonous work, and managing complex tasks such as those that are hazardous to humans.
Industrial automation is an ever-growing technology that not only helps industries improve efficiency. It has also helped them achieve their bottom-line goals faster. The power of industrial automation has benefited many industries since its inception, including manufacturing, logistics, energy, and even the healthcare sector.
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Benefits of Industrial Automation
Industrial automation has helped industries produce products of higher and more consistent quality. Thereby increasing their bottom-line profits and reducing the workload of their workforce, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks.
Below we've outlined several advantages of using automation in your manufacturing processes.
1. Increased efficiency
Industrial automation employs technology that can improve the overall performance and efficiency of your factory's systems and machinery. For example, certain businesses use embedded systems in industrial automation to perform specific tasks such as maintaining networking hardware, controlling motors and valves, assembly-line speed, temperature changes, and other factors. These technologies have helped businesses produce high-quality products while remaining dependable and effective in challenging environments.
2. Improved safety
Automation reduces the likelihood of accidents by delegating the most dangerous tasks to capable robots and machines. Automation helps reduce the risk of trips and falls and repetitive motion injuries by performing the lifting, bending, and walking required for some tasks. Furthermore, they can protect your employees from fatigue, dehydration, and stress and keep them from hazardous materials and other health and safety risks.
3. Reduced labor cost
Machines and robots powered by automation can perform tasks that require humans to complete. Because automated operations require less heating than manual operations, they may result in significant energy savings. Industrial automation can also help your company save money on materials by streamlining processes and ensuring part accuracy.
Additionally, industrial automation eliminates healthcare-paid time off and holiday pay linked to a human operator. It further reduces additional employee benefits such as bonuses, pension coverage, and others. Although it has a high initial investment, it can save your company significant money by eliminating the workers' monthly salaries.
Finally, industrial automation machines have lower maintenance costs because they do not break down as frequently. If something goes wrong, only computer and maintenance engineers are required to repair it.
4. Increased Productivity
Without industrial automation, you will always need to shut down your operation during maintenance and holidays, despite having hundreds or even thousands of workers to cover three shifts. With industrial automation, you can keep your manufacturing facility running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, increasing your business productivity significantly.
The need for human labor rises in tandem with rising product demand. However, with the help of automation, you can decrease your human labor requirement, all while increasing your production at a significantly cheaper cost. As a result, you can meet the demand for your products and charge a price suitable for your market.
5. Improved quality
Machines and robots don't get tired as humans do. Hence, automation can produce products of a consistent quality anytime without exhaustion as opposed to manual labor that is prone to human mistakes.
For instance, when installing pistons into an automobile engine, automated machinery may do so with an error rate of 0.00001% as opposed to a manual worker's 1–1.5%.
By automating quality inspection processes, you can achieve superior accuracy, ensuring the quality and safety of the final product. There are robots equipped with intelligent vision technology that can detect minor flaws that humans frequently overlook, resulting in subpar product quality.
Adapting automation in your business can ensure your customers are safe, keeping your business from harm and possible lawsuits.
6. Increased Flexibility
Robots can be programmed to carry out any task, resulting in increased production process flexibility. While a human operator needs to be trained to add a new procedure to the assembly line, which involves time and money.
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) allow you to meet the ever-changing manufacturing requirements by simply adjusting instructions. It can enhance industrial automation by offering process control for a single machine, enabling flexibility while maintaining consistency.
PLCs product recommendations:
Omron Safety Network Controller NE1A-SCPU01 - Shop Here
Allen Bradley PLC I/O Input Module SLC 500 32 x I/O 24VDC SER D1746-IB32 - Shop Here
Allen Bradley SLC 500 PLC CPU Computer Interface SER B 1747-L541 - Shop Here
Staying ahead of the competition requires not only producing high-quality products. But also being able to consistently meet your product's rapidly increasing demand without compromising product quality. To achieve this, your company must have intelligent manufacturing solutions installed that can automate your equipment, machines, and processes. Understand that business is a numbers game in the grand scheme of things. No matter how good your product is, your business will cease to exist if you fail to meet demand.
Furthermore, automating your manufacturing processes can help you create a better, healthier, and more positive working environment for your factory workforce.
Check out some of the product collections dedicated to industrial process automation below for your automation needs. Industrial Electrical Warehouse carries a wide range of major global brands, including but not limited to Allen-Bradley, Advantage Industrial Automation, Bluetech Industrial Automation, and OMRON.
Facts & Data
Fact 1: Automated machinery can install pistons into a car engine with an error rate of 0.00001%, compared with the manual error rate of 1-1.5%.
Fact 2: Further, industrial automation does not require other employee benefits such as bonuses, pension coverage, etc.
Fact 3: In the automobile industry, the installation of pistons into the engine used to be performed manually with an error rate of 1-1.5%.
Fact 4: Presently, this task is performed using automated machinery with an error rate of 0.00001%.