Industrial automation uses various control systems, automation systems, and computer systems to operate and control industrial processes without human intervention. It involves using programmable automation, industrial robots, programmable logic controllers (PLC), and other automated equipment to improve the efficiency and productivity of the manufacturing process.
In a production line, industrial automation can help to reduce the cycle time, improve quality control, and lower the cost of production. It allows for real-time monitoring of the production process, data collection, and decision-making based on the collected data. Industrial automation systems can be integrated with other control systems, such as distributed control systems (DCS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and field-level control systems, to achieve a high level of automation.
Industrial automation technology has evolved significantly over the years. There are two main industrial automation types: fixed and flexible. Fixed automation involves using mechanization and hard automation to perform a specific task repeatedly without any modification. On the other hand, flexible automation uses soft automation and computer systems to enable customization and adaptability to changes in the production process.
The benefits of industrial automation include increased efficiency, reduced human intervention, improved product quality, and lower costs. Industrial automation also helps to improve safety by reducing the risk of accidents caused by human error.
The human-machine interface (HMI) is a related component of industrial automation, allowing operators to interact with the system. The HMI provides a graphical interface that displays real-time data and allows operators to control the automation processes.
A critical aspect of industrial automation is data collection and process control. Industrial automation systems can collect and analyze large amounts of data in real time, enabling decision-making based on the collected data. This allows for continuous improvement of the production process and better quality control.
Recent advancements in industrial automation technology include artificial intelligence (AI) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT). AI can help to optimize the production process by identifying patterns and making predictions based on the collected data. IIoT enables integration of industrial automation systems with the supply chain, allowing for better coordination and efficiency.