Before the onset of the industrial revolution, industry owners had to employ a batch of hardworking and competent workers to ensure that all the products were designed in an accurate and efficient way.
However, the introduction of electric instruments and machines transformed the way businesses and industries operate. Everyday products and resources like clothes, books, furniture, and more were mass-produced in a short span of time in order to meet the demands of the consumer-centric society.
In this article, we will be highlighting the definition, advantages, features, and impact of automation systems. Before moving ahead, let us understand the fundamental meaning of automation systems and how they are revolutionizing processes globally.
What is Automation?
In simple terms, an automation system is a careful integration of actuators, controls, and sensors exclusively designed to perform an array of functions with negligible human intervention. Below we have mentioned some of the many integral components of automated systems:
- HMI or human-machine interface
- Programmable logic controllers
- Power distribution systems
- Analog and discrete I/O
- Quick communication systems
- Protection and safety systems
What are types of automated systems?
Automated systems are integral to modern industries, streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. These systems utilize advanced technologies to perform tasks without direct human intervention. Automation refers to the use of such systems to execute various operations. There are several types of automated systems, each tailored to specific functions and industries.
- Industrial Automation
This type of automation involves manufacturing processes, utilizing machinery and robotics to perform tasks like assembly, packaging, and quality control. It enhances production speed, reduces errors, and ensures consistent output.
- Process Automation
Often found in the chemical, petrochemical, and food industries, this automation controls and monitors continuous processes. Sensors and feedback mechanisms adjust variables like temperature and pressure, maintaining optimal conditions.
- Home Automation (Smart Homes)
These systems control household functions, from lighting and climate to security and entertainment. Home automation enhances convenience and energy efficiency, allowing users to manage their environments remotely.
- Office Automation
Used in administrative tasks, office automation includes tools like document management software, email automation, and data entry processes. It enhances workflow efficiency and reduces manual effort.
- Retail Automation
In retail, automated systems manage inventory, track sales, and even assist customers with self-checkout kiosks. This streamlines operations and improves the customer experience.
- Telecommunication Network Automation
This type focuses on managing and optimizing telecommunication networks, ensuring seamless connectivity and efficient data transfer.
- Medical Automation
In healthcare, automation aids in tasks like diagnostics, laboratory testing, and even surgeries (robotic-assisted surgeries). It enhances precision and reduces the risk of human error.
- Banking and Finance Automation
Automation manages transactions, processes, and data analysis in the financial sector, leading to accurate record-keeping and efficient customer service.
- Transportation Automation
Autonomous vehicles and traffic control systems are examples of transportation automation. They aim to improve safety, reduce congestion, and enhance overall mobility.
- Agricultural Automation
Automation technologies help with planting, harvesting, and monitoring crops. Drones and smart machinery contribute to increased agricultural productivity.
Automation has revolutionized industries, leading to increased productivity and improved resource management. Automated systems contribute to higher accuracy, reduced costs, and safer work environments by delegating repetitive and complex tasks to machines. As technology advances, the scope and impact of automation are expected to expand, reshaping how we live and work.
Understanding the Advantages and Rise of Automation Systems
As researchers and expert professionals across the globe have come up with various digital and technological advancements, it has also introduced automation in several fields.
The primary principle of an automation system is to free industry workers, people, operators and administrators from performing repetitive and mundane tasks that electric machines can perform in a more efficient and enhanced manner.
So, we have mentioned some of the many benefits of automation systems that have accelerated the growth of various sectors and industries:
- Better Product Quality
One of the best features of an automation system is that it creates and assembles products with efficient and streamlined consistency. The frequent lapses that are caused by subjective judgement and human error are avoided, and the overall operation functions on the axis of thorough evaluation and logic. In addition, since automation devices and products offer detailed feedback, the efficiency levels are much higher in comparison with manual labour.
- Accuracy and Precision
It is imperative to keep in mind that actuators are built to perform a range of movements with utmost precision and accuracy. Since the characteristics and features of an actuator will not change unless there is an alteration in the control variables or a feedback signal, an automation system can optimally deliver the same outputs with no deviation.
- Consistent Productions
Robotic or automated systems carry the potential to decrease the production time required by complex movements. Therefore, a higher production rate equals better profits and massive productions.
Additionally, the processing speed of automated systems is much more efficient and faster than humans. Even though onsite administrators and operators can process intricate information, computers and automation systems perform better when breaks and human errors are taken into account.
- Comfortable and Protected Working Conditions
Several business and industry owners opt for a hybrid way of production, meaning they deploy automated systems but also leave tasks for human labour.
In these cases, owners have to ensure that the working environment is completely safe for machines to function in order to eliminate risks of hazardous situations like explosions and fire breakouts.
- Smooth collaboration and Tracking of Changes
In the absence of automation systems, workers and employees need to complete all the tasks, input information and alert other onsite workers to complete the essential duties in order to close the project. In contrast, once all the critical tasks are automated, they can be completed effectively simultaneously notifying all the group members to prevent miscommunication.
All the employees working on a project will be able to collaborate in a much better way if they can readily access a file or a project in the hour of need. It provides the whole team with a boost of confidence, knowing they are backed by accurate information and the latest technology.
Even though automation systems and machines offer a range of benefits that accelerate the productivity rate of different sectors, they also have some drawbacks and disadvantages like:
- Usually, all automated systems have a high maintenance cost.
- They have difficult reconfiguration, which leads to limited versatility.
- Automation systems have a high investment cost, making it a difficult purchase for small-scale businesses.
Schneider Electric: Taking the Lead in Designing Automation Systems
At Schneider Electric, we believe in stepping ahead in the future in a way that enables growth, progress, and sustainability. Our panel of expert professionals contribute a significant amount of time in research to develop a range of electric and digital technologies that accelerate the productivity levels of every sector in society.
Our customers around the world continuously inspire us to find novel ways to empower people to achieve more by using limited resources. Time and again, we have been honoured by prestigious awards and accolades for offering top-notch connectivity, productivity, safety, and sustainability.
DCS Awards for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability and Efficiency’ in 2021, CES 2022 Innovation Awards for Sustainability and Smart Home Leadership, Fortune’s 2022 World’s Most Admired Companies list for the fifth year in a row are some of the many recognitions that stand as a testament to our consistent hard work and diligence.
In order to learn more about our vision, services, and products, explore our site today.