The technology used to manage and observe industrial operations is referred to as industrial automation. This might include straightforward procedures like turning on and off lights in a plant to intricate processes like managing and improving a production line. Numerous advantages of industrial automation include better quality, lower prices and enhanced productivity.
Advantages of Industrial Automation
The advantages of industrial automation are:
1. Increased efficiency
Efficiency improvement is one of the most important advantages of industrial automation. Automated systems can operate continuously and productively resulting in higher output and less downtime. For businesses, this greater efficiency results in higher profit margins and more effective resource use.
Let’s say there is a factory that produces cars. In the past, the factory relied heavily on manual labor to assemble the cars which was time-consuming and prone to errors. With the implementation of industrial automation, robots and machines are now responsible for much of the assembly process. These machines can work 24/7 without the need for breaks or rest and they can do so at a much faster pace than humans.
As a result of this automation, the factory’s production rate has increased significantly. They are now able to produce more cars in less time which has led to higher profit margins due to increased output and decreased downtime. The factory is also able to make better use of its resources such as materials and labor since the automated systems are more precise and consistent in their work.
2. Improved quality
Improved product quality is another benefit of industrial automation. Automated systems are more accurate and reliable than human operators which results in fewer errors and better-quality products. Better client satisfaction and higher sales are the benefits of this.
Let’s say that a company manufactures electronic components for use in various consumer devices. Prior to implementing industrial automation, the production process was largely manual with human operators responsible for assembling the components. However, this process was prone to errors and the final products often had defects that affected their functionality.
To address these issues, the company decided to invest in industrial automation. They installed robotic systems to handle the assembly of the electronic components which were programmed to perform the task with greater accuracy and consistency than human operators.
As a result of this automation, the company saw a significant improvement in the quality of its products. The number of defects decreased and the components were more reliable overall. This, in turn, led to better client satisfaction and higher sales as customers were more likely to choose the company’s products over those of their competitors due to their improved quality.
3. Reduced costs
Additionally, industrial automation can aid businesses in cost-cutting. Labor costs will be reduced since automated systems can complete jobs more affordably than human operators. Automated systems can work more effectively than people which lowers the cost of energy and raw materials.
Let’s say a manufacturing company currently employs 100 workers to produce a certain product. Each worker is paid an hourly wage of $15. The total labor cost for the company per day is $15 x 8 hours x 100 workers = $12,000.
Now, the company decides to implement industrial automation by installing robotic systems to complete the manufacturing process. The cost of the robotic system is $500,000 but it can work 24/7 without requiring a break and only requires minimal maintenance costs.
With the new automated system, the company can produce the same amount of product with only 10 workers needed to operate and monitor the machines. The labor cost for the company per day is now $15 x 8 hours x 10 workers = $1,200, which is a significant reduction from the previous cost of $12,000.
Additionally, the automated system can work more effectively and efficiently than human workers reducing the cost of energy and raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Overall, the implementation of industrial automation can lead to significant cost savings for the business.
4. Improved safety
Industrial automation can increase worker security in a production setting. Automation allows for the completion of hazardous activities without endangering human operators which lowers the incidence of workplace accidents and injuries. This results in a workplace that is safer and has lower occupational injury expenses.
Let’s say that a manufacturing company produces chemicals that involve handling hazardous substances and materials. In the past, the company used to rely on manual labor to perform tasks like mixing chemicals and transporting them from one location to another. This was a risky and dangerous job as the workers were exposed to harmful chemicals and gases.
However, with the implementation of industrial automation, the company has been able to significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. The tasks that were previously done by human operators are now performed by machines and robots which are designed to handle hazardous materials safely and efficiently.
For instance, the company might use an automated system for mixing chemicals which are operated by a computer program. The program ensures that the correct ingredients are added in the right proportions and that the mixing process is carried out safely. The system can also detect any abnormalities in the process and shut down automatically, thus preventing accidents and injuries.
As a result of industrial automation, the company has been able to create a safer working environment for its employees, with fewer accidents and injuries. This has not only reduced the company’s occupational injury expenses but also improved employee morale and productivity.
5. Scalability and flexibility
The scalability and adaptability of industrial automation are further benefits. Automated systems are simple to expand or contract to accommodate shifting production demands enabling businesses to react swiftly to market changes and fluctuations in demand. This adaptability aids businesses in maintaining a competitive edge and long-term profitability.
Let’s say a company manufactures a certain product and experiences a sudden increase in demand. With an automated system in place, the company can easily increase production to meet the new demand by adding more machines or expanding its current automated system. This scalability allows the company to quickly adapt to the increased demand without having to spend time and resources on hiring and training new employees or changing their manufacturing process.
On the other hand, if the demand for the product decreases, the company can easily scale back its production by reducing the number of machines or downsizing its automated system. This adaptability allows the company to efficiently adjust to the changing market conditions and avoid excess inventory and waste, which can result in long-term profitability.
6. Better data analysis
Systems for industrial automation can also offer greater data analysis and real-time production process monitoring. Due to the ability to make decisions based on correct and current information, businesses are able to operate more effectively and improve their production methods.
Let’s say there’s a pharmaceutical company that produces medicines. In the past, the company relied on manual processes to monitor the production of medicines, which made it difficult to ensure consistency and quality control.
However, after implementing an industrial automation system, the company is now able to track the production process in real-time with sensors and machines communicating with each other and sending data to a central system. This data is analyzed by the system which can then make decisions and adjustments to optimize the production process. For example, if the temperature in a certain area of the factory is too high, the system can detect this and automatically adjust the temperature control system to bring it back within the desired range.
As a result, the company is able to produce medicines with greater consistency and quality control. The industrial automation system can also detect any issues in the production process before they become bigger problems allowing the company to take corrective action quickly. This leads to improved product quality, lower costs and increased efficiency. Additionally, because the system is able to analyze data in real-time, the company can make faster, more informed decisions about how to improve its production methods and address any issues that arise.
7. Improved productivity
Productivity gains are also possible as a result of industrial automation. Compared to human operators, automated systems can do jobs more quickly and correctly increasing productivity and enhancing efficiency. As a result, businesses experience higher productivity and profits.
Let’s say you run a manufacturing company that produces furniture. In the past, you employed a team of workers to assemble the furniture manually. However, you noticed that the production process was slow, and the quality of the finished product varied depending on the skill level of each worker.
To address these issues, you decide to invest in industrial automation technology such as robotic arms and conveyor belts, to automate the furniture assembly process. With automation, the assembly process becomes faster and more consistent resulting in higher productivity and efficiency.
As a result, your company can produce more furniture in less time which leads to higher profits. Additionally, because the automated systems are consistent in their work, the quality of the finished product is also improved which can help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Overall, the productivity gains resulting from industrial automation can help your company to become more competitive in the market, improve its bottom line and provide higher-quality products to customers.
8. Reduced human error
The possibility of human error in the production process can be decreased by industrial automation. Automated systems can complete jobs consistently and accurately which lowers the possibility of mistakes and errors. Fewer flaws and higher product quality are the benefits of this.
Let’s say a company produces electronic components for computers and they have a team of workers who manually assemble the components. Because the workers are human, there is always a possibility of errors occurring during the assembly process. For example, a worker might accidentally insert a component in the wrong orientation which could cause the finished product to malfunction.
To reduce the possibility of human error, the company invests in industrial automation equipment that can assemble the components automatically. The automated equipment is programmed to complete the assembly process consistently and accurately with minimal human intervention.
As a result, the company experiences fewer flaws in their products and higher product quality. The automation system helps to eliminate the possibility of errors that could occur due to human error, ultimately leading to a more efficient and reliable production process.
9. Improved maintenance
Industrial automation systems may also be made to require less frequent repairs and maintenance by being built to be simple to maintain. As a result, maintenance expenses are decreased and efficiency is raised.
Let’s say that a company manufactures widgets on a production line using an industrial automation system. The system is responsible for moving the widgets through the various stages of production such as cutting, shaping, and painting.
If the automation system is built to be simple to maintain, it may have features like easily accessible components, clear documentation and diagnostic tools that help identify issues quickly. This means that when maintenance is required, it can be performed quickly and efficiently, minimizing downtime and reducing the need for costly repairs.
On the other hand, if the automation system is complex and difficult to maintain, it may require specialized knowledge or tools to perform maintenance leading to longer downtime and higher repair costs. This can have a negative impact on efficiency and productivity.
By designing the automation system to be simple to maintain, the company can reduce maintenance expenses and improve efficiency, ultimately leading to a more profitable operation.
In conclusion, industrial automation is a useful tool for businesses trying to boost output, save costs and improve efficiency. Increased production, higher quality, lower costs, enhanced safety, scalability and flexibility, better data analysis, decreased human error and easier maintenance are just a few benefits of industrial automation. Companies may stay ahead of the competition and experience longer-term success by implementing industrial automation. Industrial automation is an excellent investment for any organization wanting to stay ahead in the rapidly changing business environment because of its obvious advantages and enormous potential for growth and improvement.