In keeping with the change of the decade, we will inform you about the current state of automation in the industry in 2020.
Which possibilities & advantages does automation offer for companies in 2020?
Is it still worthwhile or even possible to run a successful industrial business without concepts for automation?
Will employees be replaced by automation solutions and end up in unemployment?
Automation – also known as automation technology – is a branch of plant construction and engineering.
According to DIN 19233, automation, or automation technology is characterized by the fact that processes can be carried out automatically – i.e. autonomously – by using artificial means (such as robot technology).
Automation is mainly used in mechanical and electrical engineering to automate technical processes in machines, plants or various other technical systems.
Automatic or autonomous are processes or systems (machines and plants) that run and work under defined conditions without manual, human intervention – always with the aim of achieving the previously defined goals.
The more independent complex machines and systems are from human intervention, the higher the respective degree of automation of the machinery.
Thus, the degree of automation has been significantly increased in recent years, among other things by advances in signal acquisition and primarily electronic signal processing.
The primary aim of automation is to relieve people of dangerous, usually physically demanding routine tasks.
The consequences of automation are also improvements in the quality of the manufactured workpieces, increased performance of the machine or plant, and reductions in personnel costs.
The entire industrial manufacturing process is thus made more economical through automation. Companies can produce quickly, safely and with better quality – while at the same time using fewer resources in terms of employees.
For the automation of various machines and plants in industrial companies, methods of automation technology are applied. The automation of industry can thus be interpreted as the result of the application of automation technology.
To set up automation, theoretically or experimentally determined models of existing production processes are presented in analytical form and then checked for automation potential.
Based on these models, the subsequent automation functions are developed application-specifically – i.e. adapted exactly to the customer’s specific application.
Automation technology can look back on a long history in this area:
Even in ancient Greece, people made use of the principles of automation – albeit in different forms – to make processes more efficient.
The history of automation, and thus the outsourcing of physically demanding work, begins with the basic idea that work carried out by animals or humans should be carried out by motors.
An early device for automation by Edward Lee from 1745 made it possible for windmills to turn independently in the wind. Previously, windmills had to be adjusted to the wind direction by hand, so they were only partially automated.
Further mechanical advances and new drive technologies, such as the steam engine, soon ushered in the age of industrialization, which was characterized by the possibility of mass production in factories, and human power was increasingly replaced by motors in the future.
The first automatic machine for industrial production was an automatic loom, which was first used by Edmond Cartwrigth in 1787.
However, the consequence was that many weavers feared for their jobs, which led to numerous uprisings of the weavers.
It was only after the discovery of electricity and a change in the role of work, as well as efforts to achieve general progress, that workers began to take on their new administrative role of control and maintenance, so that automation could develop into a decisive foundation for various production processes.
Improvements in computer technology finally made fully automated production possible for various industrial companies, through the targeted programming of industrial robots using artificial intelligence.
So while automation in the past was characterized in particular by the efficient use of scientific knowledge (mechanization of the process), the use of electricity and knowledge from electrical engineering has increasingly moved into the focus of automation technology in recent years.
With the inclusion of computer and information technology, automation technology has now reached a point where automation enables the complete digitalisation of production processes.
The entire production process of automation systems can thus be virtually simulated in advance, enabling the lowest error rates with the highest quality standards.
But even in an automated manufacturing company, people will not be superfluous and ultimately end up in unemployment.
Instead, human activities will be reduced mainly to the elimination of faults, replenishment of materials and maintenance of machines and equipment.
In fact, automation technology should be used to make people more valuable.
Thus, through automation, employees can be “freed” from low-value, mostly repetitive tasks and can devote themselves to higher-value, administrative tasks.
The employees of automated companies do not become unemployed, but rather devote themselves to new tasks that arise from the automation of plants and machines.
This creates numerous new areas of responsibility within automated industrial companies – such as problem solving, customer interaction and the creation of new business opportunities, all of which require that special, human touch.
Automation thus increases the value of human employees.
In the following, the increase in value of employees is explained in more detail using an example – a regulatory review.
Without automation solutions, it would take days to gather the necessary information. By automating this process, however, companies can dedicate this time to evaluating and analyzing the data, which helps them to better utilize the potential of their employees.
“So automation does not replace employees, but empowers and encourages them!
The automation of various production processes and plants has become increasingly relevant in recent years – not without reason
Automation can automate work with repetitive steps and subsequently reduce the workload of the company and its employees.
Enclosed you will find an overview of the relevant advantages that arise from the automation of a factory.
Today, automation is essential for the effective, precise manufacture of products – especially in larger companies – so it is hardly surprising that automation solutions are increasingly being used for reliable production.
Nearly all industries can benefit from the expansion of production automation – except for manufacturing companies where only partial automation is possible.
In the following, the areas of industry in which a great deal of automation potential is available will be mentioned in particular.
We offer automation solutions for:
If you have any further questions about automation, we will be happy to be your first contact!
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