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what is industrial automation and why it is needed?

Description

Innovation is a continuous process. Every day there are changes in technology. Upcoming technologies substitute human involvement by utilising skills of Computers and Robotics. All industrial processing systems such as assembling, material handling, working of boilers, test facilities, etc. have progressed from mechanisation to automation. Automation means use of information technology and robotics to handle various industrial manufacturing tasks without human intervention.

The meaning of the word Automation is ‘self-dictating’ or ‘a mechanism that moves by itself’. It is derived from the Greek word “Auto” means “self” and “Matos” means “moving”.

In brief industrial automation means automatic operation with the use of technology and automatic control without substantial utilisation of human intervention.

Components of Industrial automation

Industrial Automation Components are:

  • Field Instruments 
  • Control Hardware 
  • Control Software

Sensors - Field instruments

A sensor measure and detect changes in the input received from the environment in form of temperature, humidity, pressure, force, liquid flow etc.  and convert them  into signals.

Programmable Logic controller (PLC’s) - Control Hardware

Programmable Logic controller (PLC’s) is industrial computer provides the functions of data conversion and handling the signals. It controls the manufacturing process and machinery on assembly lines. It consists of microprocessor which can be programmed, I/O modules (both analog and digital) to connect the various input/output devices and relay modules.

HMI (Human Machine Interface) - Control Software

Human Machine interface allows exchange of information between automated machinery and employees of the organisation.  It displays information on LED or other visual display units. HMI boosts productivity. Signals are used to control and maintain automated equipment. Technology like SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is used in HIM.

Advantages

Proliferation in the rate of production
Substantial growth in production without compromising the quality and nullifying the human efforts is possible due to industrial automation.

Steep fall in Production Cost
As humans are replaced with automated machines  the Labour cost such as salaries,  various funds, pension etc are reduced considerably and hence there is drastic reduction in production cost.

Superiority in product quality
Automated machinery continuously supervise the industrial process and rectifies errors immediately if it occurs which results in superior quality of product.

Suppleness in Process
Intricate manufacturing process are simplified due to automated machinery.

Accident free working place 
Humans are replaced with automated machinery in dangerous or hazardous manufacturing processes hence there is no chance for the employee’s injuries or accident.

 Near to zero intermittent examination of process 
No need of inspecting different interrelated variables during the process of manufacturing. This saves the time in quality testing procedures and even voluminous production is possible without interruption. 

Application:

Andon System

Andon system generate alerts by glowing the lights and or even by sending SMS to the supervisor and managers specifying some action is required  as problem is occurred in assembly line or in conveyor belt while manufacturing product.

Production Monitor Board

Production Monitor Display board displays real-time status information about the actual production and targeted production with efficiency. This helps to increase productivity. It also generates reports which will help to do data analytics and comparative study.

Industrial Safety board

Safety board display number of accident free days, date of last accident, and number of just miss accident. Such kind of displays encourages and creates awareness among the workers to work in safe environment.

Machine vision Camera

It captures still or moving image of the product. Image is sent to the computing device for the processing and analysing. Line scan camera and area scan camera are two categories in machine vision camera.

Automated Guided Vehicle

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) is fully automatic, computer control vehicle use when loads of material needs to transport from the current location. Usually wireless connection and wireless communication are used to assemble the data CAD software is used for predefine route.