The factory owners want to increase productivity at a lower cost. For this reason, industrial automation is the best choice.
What is Industrial Automation?
Industrial automation systems are the systems used to control and monitor a process, machine, or device in a computerized manner. These automatically operate to reduce and improve human work in the industry.
Industrial Automation is the replacement of computers and machines by Human thinking. Actually, the word automation is derived from the Greek words Auto and Matos. Which means ‘self dictating’ or ‘a mechanism move by itself. In Modern manufacturing plants, Robots and other automated machinery can run typically without the need for human Involvement.
Automation gives better and good efficient and very consistent. Automation eliminates errors, allows for better monitoring, increases productivity and control of the manufacturing process. This also allows for a certain task to be replicated over and over again. This Automated manufacturing isn’t just more efficient, it is also smarter.
Here, Data is generated throughout the process and is used by various elements along the line to better control workflow. The best example of industrial automation is Robotics. Robotic automation started showing up in factories in the 1970s and as the tune has passed the technology has become even more sophisticated. By this work runs without the need of humans on-site at all.
Automation Devices Include PLCs,PCs,PACs etc. Automation Technologies include Various industrial communication systems.
Need of Automation in Industry
Why Industrial Automation (Advantages of Industrial Automation)
- To raise the level of safety
- Lesser influence of human factor
- To increase productivity and efficiency
- To improve product quality and reliability
- To reduce the production cost
- To reduce routine checks
- To reduce wastage
Hierarchy (Levels) of an industrial Automation System
There are so many ways to describe the Levels of Industrial Automation systems. The levels of Industrial Automation include,
This is the top and the 1st level of industrial automation. It will manage the whole Automation system. This information level includes production planning, customer and market analysis, orders and sales, etc.
Industrial communication networks are the most important in industrial automation systems. By this, we can transfer the information from one level to another. these networks are present at all levels to provide a continuous flow of information.
It consists of an Industrial PC, which is available as a desktop PC or a Panel PC, or a Rank mounted PC. These PCs run on standard OS with other software, it is provided by suppliers for controlling the industrial process.
In this level, automatic devices, monitoring system facilitates the controlling and intervening functions. Like supervising parameters, set the production targets, Human-machine interface (HMI), historical archiving, setting the machine start and shutdown, etc.
At this level, we are Mostly using the Distribution control system(DCS) or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA)
At this control level, the automation-related programs are executed.
The control level consists of devices like CNC machines, PLCs (Programmable logic controllers) are used.
PLCs are used for industrial controllers which are capable of delivering automatic control functions based on input from sensors. It consists of modules like CPU, analog I/O, digital I/O, and communication modules.
The field level is the final and the lowest level of the Industrial Automation Hierarchy. This level includes the field devices like sensors and actuators.
Examples of sensors like optical, temperature, pressure, etc.
And the examples of actuators like, motors switches, valves, etc.
These are interfaced to PLC through a field bus and the communication b/w a field-level device and its PLC and it is based on a point-to-point to connect.
for communication purposes, we are using both wired and wireless networks.
Types of Industrial Automation Systems
1.Fixed or Hard Automation
This fixed automation performs fixed and repetitive operations. By this, we can achieve high production rates. For processing the operations we can use special purpose or dedicated equipment are used.
This type of automation is hard to change the product design. And increases the efficiency with a higher production rate and reduces unit cost.
Examples of Fixed automation systems are paint shops, distilled processes, and conveyors.
This automation is best for the batch production process. Here product volume is from medium to high.
In an automation system, using electronic controls, the sequence of operations, as well as the configuration of the machinery, can be changed. This system requires time and effort to reprogram the machines.
3.Flexible or Soft automation
This flexible automation system provides the automatic control equipment it includes flexibility for making changes in the product design. Here changes can be performed quickly through the commands given in the form of codes by Human operators.
Examples of this flexible automation system are automatic guided vehicles, automobiles, and multipurpose CNC Machines.