Industrial automation uses technology to control machines and processes in an industrial setting. It enables organizations to increase productivity and reduce costs, improving the company’s overall success.
Several types of industrial automation can be used in different industries and applications. Understanding each type can help you determine which software and hardware will be most beneficial for your business.
Single Action Machines
Industrial automation uses technology and machinery to streamline various physical processes in factories, warehouses, and other manufacturing environments. It’s often used to increase production rates, reduce labor costs, and improve efficiency.
One type of automated machine is the single-action machine. These machines perform repetitive tasks such as bin picking or picking products from a conveyor line. This technology is commonly used in various industries, including the automation industry.
Single-action machines are efficient because they perform repeatable movements mainly governed by instructions. They’re also a good choice for businesses that require high production rates, as they can save time and money in the long run.
Another everyday use for single-action machines is in the chemical industry, where large volumes are typically produced and require precise control. It means there’s a low margin of error, and automated systems can eliminate this risk.
Other benefits of automated devices include safety, quality, and speed. In addition to being safer for human workers, automated devices are more versatile than traditional ones because they can adapt to changing conditions. It allows them to work better in extreme temperatures, high pressures, and fast movements. They can even perform unsafe tasks without injury, eliminating safety hazards. These benefits make industrial automation a valuable asset for any business.
Multiple Action Machines
Multiple action machines are industrial equipment for specialized applications such as tank head forming, pressure brazing, and powder compaction. These machines can perform various actions in a single machine and offer high production efficiency.
Multiple action machines have several types, including fixed, variable, and sequential. These systems can vary in control depending on system states and input/output signals.
For example, a single variable control loop can be a straightforward set of instructions sent directly to the device or require an intermediary controller to communicate its commands to the machine. A fixed sequence might be a list of actions to perform when all system states are met.
A more complex variable sequence can be controlled based on different state inputs. For example, one motor could open or close a series of valves using an electric signal generated by its armature.
For this reason, a flexible automation solution can provide the ultimate efficiency. Whether you want to improve quality, energy, or maintenance management, a complete upgrade can give you all the tools you need to run your facility smarter. It can help you achieve Industry 4.0 compliance and keep your company competitive. With this upgrade, your factory can become a virtual communication center where all the systems interact to create higher-quality products.
Programmable automation is an industrial automation that allows you to change the sequence and operation of production equipment. It is helpful for companies with different product variants or who want to produce more than one product at a time.
In programmable automation, the production equipment is programmed by inputting machine instructions to control each step in a manufacturing process. It makes it possible to change the production process without interrupting existing operations.
It is also more suitable for a lower production level than fixed automation. Its benefits include lower operating costs and higher productivity.
A disadvantage of programmable automation is the time it takes to reprogram and change over the production equipment for each new batch. It is lost production time, which is expensive.
Flexible automation is a type of automation that is more flexible than programmable automation. In this system, the production equipment receives instructions from a computer that can be changed with changing codes delivered to the computer.
This type of manufacturing can be used in various industries, including textiles, paint, and food processing. The primary advantage of this system is that it produces multiple products at once.
Programmable automation responds to some of the central problems that factories face daily. These include enhancing information flow, improving coordination and increasing efficiencies and flexibility (the range of products and volume of a specific product that a factory can produce economically).
Fixed automation is a type of industrial automation that involves equipment and machinery that completes specific sequences in production. This type of automation is typically found in machining transfer lines and automatic assembly machines.
These automated systems boost production rates, decrease human error, and are often used in mass-production settings. They are a good choice for companies that make products in high volume and require repeated tasks, like automobile manufacturing or paper mills.
For example, an automated conveyor belt helps move parts around an assembly line with minimal effort in the automotive industry. It helps increase efficiency and reduces labor costs.
Another example of this type of technology is a fixed welding system that uses positioners and a fixed welder to create straight, consistent welded pieces. It can be especially beneficial for large manufacturing operations that make various products and must produce repeatable quality for every welded detail.
Also known as flexible automation, this industrial automation bypasses the lengthy reconfiguration process associated with programmable automation. Instead, changes to a production process are conveyed directly to the control system, and the automation can be changed quickly, reducing downtime for product changeovers.
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