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November 15, 2016
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Why Automation? The Best Reasons for Using it

Automation in action: power factor correction

The world we live in is technology driven and its advancements are seen almost everywhere. Starting with the Industrial Revolution and leading up to present day, the processes involved in manufacturing and distributing goods have improved leaps and bounds.  From the invention of assembly lines to logistics—technology is helping improve the way that companies create products.  One of the key advancements in the manufacturing world is the use of automation.

Automation is something that the average person may not even be aware of.  It may seem like a vague concept or a large word that would only be heard in meeting rooms of large manufacturing companies, but it is more common than you would think.

That leads us to the question:

What exactly is automation?

In short, automation is any type of industrial production where machines, not people, carry out a function.

The reason for automation?

Well, there are quite a few.

  1. Automation requires less manual labor and frees up manpower to perform other essential tasks.
  2. Automation can also be used to make production lines safer for employees in situations that could be potentially hazardous.
  3. Automation increases the quality and consistency of manufacturing because machines have lower error rates than humans.  This means that automated processes can mass-produce the same product exactly the same almost every time.
  4. Data collected can help analyze a process and reduce waste.

How Automation Helps Quality Control

To understand the importance of consistency, imagine you are at the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk.  How would you feel if all of the gallons were filled with different amounts of milk?  If some were filled exactly to the top of the gallon while others were filled with noticeably less you might be somewhat upset (at least I would!).  I’m guessing you might ask why the gallon with less milk in it costs the same as the one that was filled to the top.  Quality Control would have to answer a few questions about consistency in this situation!  While this may be an exaggerated circumstance, a similar situation could be a possibility without the use of automation to precisely measure and fill each gallon to the exact ounce.

Ongoing Process Improvement

As if automation didn’t already benefit the manufacturing industry enough, automated systems can collect data on its processes while running those very processes.  This means that each action the systems take is analyzed as that action happens in real time.  The reason for this is to collect specific information, whether that information be run-time, temperature, humidity, supply levels, etc. to help improve the process as a whole.  Companies utilizing automated systems can go back and look at that specific information and use it to reduce waste and improve the overall process. With the help of an analytical mind, automated systems assist in finding ways to improve and optimize the manufacturing process.

Automation can be used in virtually every step of the manufacturing process from design to installation in order to improve quality and consistency, among other things.  It doesn’t get nearly enough credit.  So next time you’re sipping your favorite beverage and it tastes exactly as you remember, go ahead and thank automation for helping get the flavor right every time.

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