The rapid expansion of a huge international market requires the industrial sector to optimize production processes to unprotected to a greater market proportion and increase competitiveness. To unprotected to this, engineering has promoted the development of areas such as mechanics, electronics and robotics to manage and consolidate the automation of industrial processes.
Automation is the implementation of intelligent systems and technologies to function machinery and control production processes, in spite of of human operation in jobs that require greater effort and represent a huge risk to the health and welfare of workers. Currently, there are three types of automation in accordance with the degree of production and needs of a certain industry:
Designed for large-extent manufacturing: A specialized machine or equipment is used to produce a part of a product or the product itself, in a fixed and continuous ordern. This kind of automation is ideal for producing large volumes of products that have a long-life cycle, an invariable design and a general consumer need. Its main limitations are the high initial cost and the without of flexibility of the equipment to adapt.
appropriate for a smaller production quantity, segmented by batches, programmable automation allows to change or reprogram the ordern of operation, by method of a software, to include the variations of the product. Among the most used equipment for this kind of automation are numerical control machines, robots and programmable logic controllers.
Designed for an average production level, flexible automation is the extension of programmable automation. It reduces the programming time of the equipment and allows to alternate the elaboration of two products (in series) when mixing different variables. Flexibility refers to the ability of teams to accept changes in the design and configuration of the product, consequently reducing costs for companies.
Advantages of Industrial Automation
- Decreases manufacturing costs
- Increases the efficiency of the production course of action.
- Speeds the response to market demands.
- Replaces the man with complicated industrial processes that endanger his physical integrity
- Favors business competitiveness.
- Improves the security of the processes and the quality of the production.
Disadvantages of Industrial Automation
- Generates technological dependence
- Requires a large initial investment
- without of trained personnel to manage the equipment
- Susceptibility to technological obsolescence
- The resistance of the workers to the change
One of the main challenges of the implementation of automated systems in industries is to balance the work done by computerized equipment and robots with the work performed by the operators. While technology helps to optimize processes and limits human intervention, it does not replace it completely. The error is to associate industrial automation with unemployment since human presence is necessary for the management, supervision and control of complicate production processes.