Automation in Manufacturing – Definition, Types, Applications


Automation in Manufacturing Industries is explained along with basic, requirements, different types of automation, advantages, disadvantages, etc.

Let’s explore!

Automation in Manufacturing Process

Automation in Manufacturing Basics

Automation is a necessity, not a choice in recent times. Generally, the manufacturing sector of any country contributes significantly to economic stability. Automation has changed the world in a significant manner.

  • Irrespective of the domain, Automation has fixed its ground into all of it, especially in the manufacturing industry.
  • The combination of human + machine has empowered the manufacturers to produce many relevant products.
  • This combination of human and machine is just an example of Automation.

Today, we are here to explain the significance of Automation in the manufacturing industry.

In this excerpt, you will learn what Automation is, why it is essential to embrace it and what are the recent updates upon it.

First of all, we will define what exactly is manufacturing and Automation with the correlation between them to make the world a better place of living.

What is Manufacturing?

Manufacturing is defined as a process of converting raw materials into finished goods with the help of machinery.

The raw materials are used to make various products and can be modified through the process of manufacturing. Manufacturing is a terminology that is specifically used to produce large-scale goods.

  • Manufacturing is a product creation process utilizing labor, machines, chemicals, and tools.
  • It is a term referring to a wide range of activities from manual handicraft to higher technologies to formulate goods and products.
  • It is the production of goods and services using various methodologies.

When we produce goods at an enormous scale, then it becomes impossible to perform it using a limited workforce; therefore, Automation for taking the help of machines becomes natural.

For that purpose, we need to automate all the processes. It is the main reason behind the automation process in manufacturing.

What is Automation?

Automation is terminology associated with the automobile industry where it is described as a way to make machine work for humans automatically.

The computerized system capable of proper execution of command automatically without any human intervention can be signified as an automated system.

Automation can be defined as follows-

  • Usage of technology to make a system work automatically
  • Building and applying technology to build, modify and produce the final product at a large scale
  • Use of technological machinery to perform various processes
  • Machine’s application to perform tasks automatically

Why is Automation in Manufacturing Required?

The process of Automation is one of the fastest gaining ground in the manufacturing industry.

  • The reason behind the contribution of the manufacturing sector in the economic aspect of the country is due to Automation only.
  • These days the adoption of Automation in the market is considered the perfect solution to produce large-scale goods and prevent workplace casualties.

There are numerous reasons behind the higher automation rate in businesses these days.

Automation is required because of the following factors:

Large scale of goods production

Various business pioneers utilize Automation to produce voluminous amounts of goods and fulfill the production requirement.

The automotive industry is full of opportunities, and due to higher demands, automated systems are the only option leftover to excel in the market.

Precise work requirement

Unlike human’s machines are designed in a way to perform accurate and effective tasks.

  • You need to compare the feel and touch of two products, one that has been crafted manually and others developed by automated machines.
  • When the demands are very high, and people look for perfection, then Automation is the only choice left.

Requirement to do more work in less time

Nobody wants to wait. This is one of the leading factors in our generation. Everything should be quick, and people want to save their time.

  • Any industrial work should be done within a limited time.
  • Thereby, without involving machines and robots to do the task, it gets impossible to produce goods in a limited time frame.

Waste reduction

Due to the Automation in the manufacturing industry now the amount of wastage has reduced.

  • This has been made possible because industrial robots are programmed in a manner to put exact quantities of material to the right place.
  • As a result, the wastage level has been drastically reduced with the involvement of machines in manufacturing.

Less labour force to perform effective work

When machines are involved in doing most of the work, then less labour force would be required.

  • The automated facility e is known to reduce the quantity of the workforce by approximately 70%.
  • Therefore, it results in saving millions of dollars which were going in the salary and benefits of employees.

Machines can perform complex and dirty jobs

Machines are capable of performing practical work in a short time. There is no need to put human life in a harmful environment.

  • Any manufacturer doesn’t want to bear the cost of any casualties involved in hazardous work environments.
  • By the utilization of automated systems, it ensures that humans are not exposed to harmful aspects in the manufacturing process.

Adopting technology is important

All modern technological development is vital for a manufacturer’s profit and credibility.

  • Company’s need to keep their system up to date with the computerized world.
  • If any manufacturer or company lax in adopting new technology, then it would be a competitive loss to them.

Reduction in enterprise cost

On average, while using conventional manufacturing techniques, costing usually gets high as compared to times after implementation of industrial automation methodologies.

  • This significant change in the process has increased productivity as well as requires low operating costs.
  • Overall, industrial Automation has caused decrement in enterprise costs.

Improved workflow

The workflow of companies has enhanced. The machines can work 24 hours without any recurring benefits from the organization.

The improvement in quality and flexibility in the manufacturing process using automated machinery has significantly improved the workflow with a lower error rate.

History of Automation in Manufacturing

The significant Automation took place in the 19th century by Ford Motor Company and produced an assembly line for car production. This was one of the significant steps towards machine automation as this resulted in less time-consuming to produce a car.

Before the Automation, the car assembling duration was about 12 hours per car change into one and a half hours per car.

  • This Automation in Ford Motor company facilitated its profit as well as production rate.
  • In the same queue, Japan also utilized Automation to develop various components while enabling industrial manufacturing automation.
  • The range of Automation has already spread in the whole world, and the people started appreciating Automation to produce various goods.
  • With time, everything developed, and the same occurred in automating the manufacturing sector.

Types of Automation in Manufacturing

Usually, in the manufacturing sector, Automation has been categorized into three different categories enlisted below:

Fixed or hard Automation

As the name suggests, fixed Automation is described as a manufacturing facility in which the configuration of the equipment fixes the processes sequence.

  • The commands pre-programmed in the machines are not easy to change from one way to another.
  • That is why it is known as fixed Automation.
  • When the program commands already improve the functions, then it is suitable for making products in larger quantities.
  • As a result, it requires a higher initial investment as well as a high rate of production.

In the automotive industry, some of the automatic assembly machines, transfer lines, and specific chemical processes are some of the examples of fixed Automation.

Programmable Automation

Programmable Automation is a type of Automation to manufacturing products in batches. When the manufacturer has to produce products in batch quantity, then this form of Automation will be reliable to the person.

  • In the production of several batches, one can easily reprogram the machine to produce the product in a new style.
  • When compared with fixed Automation, the production rate is generally lower.
  • This occurs because the device is made in a way to facilitate change over rather than specialization.

The style of different products can be coded in the memory of the system, and it is operable to a computer program.

Industrial robots and numerical control machine tool are some of the code examples of programmable Automation.

Flexible Automation

In this form of Automation, programmable Automation is extended to reduce the reprogramming time.

  • In programmable Automation, the machines were requiring a specific duration of time for reprogramming to occur.
  • This time duration needs to be lessened as it was expensive to bear.
  • Therefore, to reduce the expenses and reduce the lost production time, flexible Automation was developed in which change over of the machine can be performed rapidly and automatically.

Flexible automation reprogramming is done offline; therefore, no need to batch the identical products. Even a mixture of different products can be manufactured one after another.

Advantages of Automation in Manufacturing

Due to the revolutionized Automation in manufacturing, there are significant differences observed in the quality of the product.

The benefits offered by Automation is one of the reasons companies are adopting automated equipment and tools. Search benefits are enlisted below:

Precise products

The automated collection of data allows the user to make precise products according to the requirements.

The presence of automated equipment in the manufacturing unit results in the exact design and pattern of the product with less error.

Higher productivity rate

The productive activity of many companies increases subsequently after the implementation of automated equipment and tools.

After Automation, many companies don’t need to hire workers for production and bear the cost of three ships to run the plant for maximum time.

Do the plants need to be closed on the occasion of holidays for maintenance? The Automation fixes most of the issues in the plant by running 24*7. Henceforth, an increased level of productivity.

Enhanced quality

The Automation in the manufacturing unit leads to less error and more quality.

Unlike human employees, the automated tools and robots don’t involve any casualty and fatigue, resulting in the uniform quality of all the products.

Higher flexibility level

The programmable machines are very flexible to use according to the requirement. The machine handler can easily reprogram to produce any product of different pattern shapes sizes and styles.

Therefore, the manufacturing process goes easy, and flexibility increases.

Increased accuracy

The machines can be improved to increase accuracy and reduce errors. By Automation, the human can regulate many factors to maintain accuracy.

Even the manufacturing processes can be improved while using automated equipment.

More safety

One of the essential benefits of industrial Automation is safety. This was the main reason why we required machines in the manufacturing unit.

Due to the production of large volumes earlier, women are in dire need to work in hazardous and risky situations, but after Automation, the production line gets safe for its employees.

Disadvantages of Automation in Manufacturing

Everything has pros and cons. Therefore, Automation also possesses disadvantages which are as follows:

High capital investment

The transformation of the human production line to automated equipment in the production line charges higher capital investment initially.

Not only till the installation of automatic production lines, but enterprises also need to provide training to its employees to handle this equipment.

Therefore, there is a higher capital investment incurred in Automation.

High maintenance costs

The machine simplifies all human activities, but it requires maintenance periodically. Han sport the maintenance cost increases as compared to the human production line.

Causes pollution

The different types of automated machines are operated through motors which may demand fuels for operation.

As a result, it can cause an increment in the pollution level at the workplace and can cause harm to our mother earth.

Results into unemployment

If the amount of Automation will be increased, then the organization will require fewer employees who will surely cause a higher unemployment rate.

Unpredictable outcomes

Sometimes due to minor issues, the machines can cause huge loss. Even if the automated equipment gets impaired, then also it may result in monetary loss.

Conclusion

In recent times though Automation has become a great resource to stay in the competitive world of the manufacturing industry but depending upon the operations automation may or may not be suitable to the enterprise.

Many pioneer enterprises utilize Automation to streamline their business operations. In this excerpt, we have learned the fundamentals of Automation in manufacturing.

Hope you find it relevant.

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