Understanding Industrial Automation in an Industry Operated by Humans

As more and more industries adopt these systems, it’s time to ask yourself whether it’s your turn to do so.

By: Reuben Siebenga
January 25, 2020

The adoption of industrial automation has been continuously on the rise due to the benefits it provides to manufacturers and managers of industrial facilities.

industrial automation

What is Industrial Automation?

Industrial automation enables the automatic operation of industrial processes.

Furthermore, it involves the use of control systems such as robots, computers and other technologies to operate machinery. These systems monitor the various operations allowing the processes to be managed, compared to human workers completing some of these tasks.

Let’s explore some of the advantages to adopting industrial automation:

Higher accuracy and elimination of human error:
When modernizing industrial automation, you benefit from a more accurate representation of your processes. You can manage how the different components of your system are working together, while gaining an understanding of what is working well, and what can be streamlined.

Higher productivity:
Industrial automation presents a higher level of productivity for your industrial processes. This allows your operations to be as productive as possible on a consistent and ongoing basis.

Higher flexibility:
As your processes are programmed to be in sync with each other, the communication between these different processes allow for more flexibility, and ultimately, operating procedures that are run more effectively.

Safer operations:
As managers, the obligation to ensure that operations are performed as safely as possible is an integral part of operations. Industrial automation allows for a safer production line for employees, as any hazardous or dangerous tasks can be assigned to unmanned equipment, or safety sensors can be installed to ensure workplace quality standards.

Reduced costs:
By enabling the workers to manage, and facilitate operations, manufacturers can use their workforce in more tactical, critical thinking, problem solving roles; eliminating the need for menial tasks, and benefit from a more effective workforce.

The Principal Tools of Industrial Automation

When it comes to industrial automation, a variety of tools and systems are required.

This includes the following primary tools:

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC):
A PLC is a programmable logic controller. Ultimately, this is responsible for controlling motors, pumps, valves, and other industrial equipment. The PLC continually processes information from sensors in order to complete tasks that are fundamental to the processes of the facility.

Human Machine Interface (HMI):
An HMI is a Human Machine Interface that allows for the interaction between managers and machine. This is how a person interacts with the PLC control system. This could be through any screen that converts the complex PLC information into more concise and accessible data, enabling control of the facility processes.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA):
Like HMIs, but with a greater capacity for control data acquisition and analysis; SCADA are supervisory control and data acquisition systems. These track industrial processes, ensuring that they are optimized. Through interacting with devices like PLCs and sensors, SCADA systems store a real-time record of events, to ensure the right decisions are being made throughout the processes.

The Different Applications that Benefit from Industrial Automation

There are a variety of applications that benefit from industrial automation, including the following:

Manufacturing applications:
One of the most essential areas of application for industrial automation is manufacturing. Manufacturers must assemble, create and monitor product production. With the more moving parts of these systems the more likelihood that they are not operating to their full potential. These systems can help mitigate these issues.

Water and wastewater (municipalities):
Water and wastewater applications use industrial automation to manage water flows, manage gates, valves, and other processes.

Energy management systems:
Energy management systems include buildings, warehouses, suites, and workplaces. These facilities must control and monitor HVAC systems to ensure optimal operating efficiency.

Gas flow and gas monitoring facilities:
Gas flow and gas monitoring applications can easily ensure safe working conditions through sensors and monitoring equipment.

Cooling and refrigeration systems:
Industrial automation tools are fundamental for the cooling and refrigeration networks, as they play a role in quality control as well as inventory management, logistical calculations, and network interdependencies.

Start Optimizing Your Manufacturing Process with Industrial Automation Today

From increased productivity, quality and safety, to the elimination of errors and reduced costs, there’s no question as to why industrial automation is becoming an increasingly popular choice within many industrial sectors today.

Will industrial automation be something you consider for 2020?

Contact T&T Power Group today to learn more about adopting industrial automation for your budding facility.

 

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