What is industrial automation? Well, you can ask 10 different experts on the term and probably come up with 10 different answers. A smart road to take in defining the term is by referring to the use of control systems, such as AI and robots that monitor the information technologies that handle a wide variety of processes.
In other words, industrial automation is a process that replaces the human touch with the artificial intelligence touch.
Benefits of Industrial Automation
For the past several years, proponents of industrial automation have promoted a large number of benefits. One of the most effective arguments in favor of the evolution of industrial automation is lower operating costs. Industrial automation does not just reduce expensive labor costs, it completely wipes the costs off the financial books. For example, industrial automation eliminates the need for healthcare expenses, as well as spending money to cover paid leave and family vacations.
Here are some other benefits of industrial automation:
- Increase in productivity
- Improved product and service quality
- A more flexible work schedule
- Better workplace safety
- More accurate data
How Industrial Automation Has Evolved
How has industrial automation evolved since the beginning of the workplace trend? The initial primary objective of industrial automation was increasing workplace productivity. Because automated systems can operate at a maximum capacity for 24 hours a day, the productivity objective was one that virtually every industrial automation expert thought would be easy to achieve.
Nonetheless, the focus of automating the manufacturing process has changed over the past few years. There is less discussion about productivity, mostly because it is considered a given with industrial automation. The emphasis on industrial automation in 2019 is striving to increase product quality and to improve scheduling flexibility during the manufacturing process.
How Industrial Automation Will Evolve
Expect industrial automation to evolve by implementing information technologies that are related to newly discovered points of production. We are talking about the implementation of nanotechnology and nanoscale assembly systems that can monitor every aspect of an industrial automation program. Real-time data that we receive now from automated manufacturing processes will seamlessly transition to highly complex adaptive and multiple processing systems.
Full Automation Factories
Have you heard of remote controlled industrial automation? If not, you should get used to the technical evolution of industrial automation. Remote controlled manufacturing systems have started to make an impact on a wide variety of production processes, from the assembly of vehicles to the canning of fish. Instead of robots performing tasks on a production line, a network of remotely activated sensors and other devices will flawlessly optimize productivity and product quality.
Fully automated factories, which were once a dream of visionary business leaders, have operated for a few years at manufacturing plants located in Asia, Europe, and North America. The factories closely coordinate online customer orders to produce 100% customized products demanded in real time. Fully automated factories utilize advanced machines and artificial intelligent robots to operate production lines.
The evolution of industrial automation that includes fully automated factories will make the large, centrally controlled production line a dinosaur in the manufacturing industry. Instead of large, difficult to change production lines, the production lines of the future will be small and highly mobile to accommodate rapidly changing production needs. The days of transporting raw materials long distances and then shipping finished products to customers over long distances are close to becoming a fleeting memory.
The evolution of industrial automation will irrevocably change the way we conduct business.