Industrial automation is the use of machines to perform routine tasks that would otherwise be done by human workers. The benefits of industrial automation include lower production costs, higher quality and consistency, and faster lead times. It can also reduce the risk of workplace accidents and make the work environment safer for employees.
A common misconception is that automated systems are expensive, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although there is an initial investment to set up a new production line, the money saved by not having to pay human workers day in and day out far offsets this cost.
Moreover, many automation devices can be reconfigured to fit different products. This allows for a great deal of flexibility and speed in manufacturing, so businesses can adjust to meet the needs of their customers.
One of the biggest advantages of industrial automation is that it can help businesses compete in the global marketplace. For example, Coca-Cola’s automated production lines allow them to deliver the same product with the same level of quality across the globe. This means that the same price tag can be attached to a product while maintaining brand loyalty and increasing customer satisfaction.
Another advantage of automation is that it can free up humans to do more productive work. By automating boring and repetitive tasks, they can do more creative work that makes your business stand out. The food industry is especially well-known for using industrial automation engineering to replace labor-intensive processes and increase production. In addition to improving productivity, this helps reduce waste and environmental impact by lowering energy consumption.
With connected automation, downtime, performance problems and bottlenecks can be mitigated before they slow production. With monitoring and device communication on a single platform, it is possible to find root causes, regulate inventory, monitor production speeds, and predict maintenance needs so that issues are addressed as quickly as they arise.
Automation can also make your business more efficient by reducing the number of errors that are made during the manufacturing process. With fewer errors, the need to rework or recycle product becomes less of an issue. Additionally, a well-integrated data collection system can provide accurate information about production quality and ensure that the products you’re producing are of the highest standard.
Automation can also improve safety and save on worker health insurance costs. By taking over redundant and dangerous tasks, industrial automation can eliminate the need for humans to carry heavy loads or work with hazardous materials. This can reduce workplace injuries and improve working conditions for shift workers, as well as decrease the amount of stress they feel as a result of having to complete monotonous work tasks. This is particularly true of collaborative robots, or cobots, which first came on the market over a decade ago with the Universal Robots UR5. These types of systems are more affordable than other forms of automation and can be easily reconfigured to suit a variety of manufacturing jobs.