Numerous examples of industrial automation allow manufacturers to achieve output at a higher and more consistent level with increased efficiency and speed. In recent years, industrial automation has been seamlessly integrated and adapted into production processes in countless industries, effectively carrying out repetitive and mechanical tasks with precision and reliability.
Automotive manufacturing, microelectronic assembly, food and beverage processing, pharmaceuticals, and precision medical equipment assembly are but a handful of industries that have realized the benefits of automation in production. More than simply a catchall phrase, the integration of ‘industrial automation’ in production processes uses technological advances such as robotics and computer software that have radically changed how manufacturers do business.
Industrial Automation’s Role in Automated Systems
Common examples of industrial automation should not be confused with implementing an industrial automated system. Simply put, there are a variety of industrial automated systems that manufacturers can choose from to meet production goals. However, each is composed of and relies on, if only partially, industrial automated solutions to operate.
The automated system manufacturers use would relate to the type of production the company is engaged in. For example, fixed automation is a system where automated production processes and assembly are preset to produce a single product. Programmable automation allows manufacturers to change configurations and operation sequences of equipment with programs written for each process. Other industrial automation systems include flexible automation, robotic process automation (RPA), factory automation, and process automation. In each of these industrial systems, automated technology is employed in production.
Here then, are 3 common examples of industrial automation that could be applied to a given automated manufacturing system and how such emerging technologies allow companies to improve efficiency and remain competitive:
3 Common Examples of Industrial Automation
1. Machine Vision
Machine vision is an advanced integrated, imaging-based custom automation inspection and analysis technology manufacturers use to increase system productivity and production. The computerized, robotic guidance system is used for various production line applications and manufacturing activities. The system consists of a camera or multiple camera sensors that can capture visual images of products. The sensors process the images for visual inspection and then convey the results to system operators for further analysis and action.
From farming and fabrication to manufacturing and medical applications, machine vision technology is used by various industries in the organization and management of day-to-day production processes. The technology can monitor crops for pest control and harvesting, manage assembly line processes and inventory control in real-time for product tracking and traceability to ensure regulatory compliance, and for inspection of parts and products for quality control.
2. Robotic Picking, Sorting, and Packaging Solutions
Integrating robotic automation in industrial processes is now used for diverse and complex applications. Automation in materials handling greatly streamlines picking, sorting, and packaging processes on production lines and in fulfillment warehouses. Deploying industrial robotic technologies in picking, sorting, and packaging processes improves operational efficiency, reliability, and productivity while minimizing human error. On production lines, automated machines sort, pick, and place parts and components for assembly. Automated applications in warehouses can track the movement of inventory, from when goods are received to when they are shipped. Substantial warehouse processes can benefit from automation—bin tracking, cycle counting, order picking, sorting, packing, palletizing, and coding and labeling products for shipping.
3. CNC Machine Automation
Though CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining has been in use since the 1940s, the integration of automation systems allows manufacturers to make parts and components with exact precision, speed, and repeatability to meet ever-increasing production demands. During production processes, CNC machines are programmed to control a range of machinery and tools, such as lathes, mills, drills, and routers used to produce parts. Once automated, CNC machine processes can use multiple tools to simplify production. As more 3D printing machines are added to factory floors, automated CNC machining has proven essential in the surface finishing of 3D printed products. Whether for prototyping or mass production, CNC automation is an essential technology that can increase the capacity of manufacturing processes with speed and efficiency.
Contact the Automation Experts at EAM, Inc.
EAM is a leader in custom-engineered industrial automation products, support, and development. Whether integrating custom automated machinery or equipment, we work with various companies to provide the automated solutions they require to increase quality, productivity, and competitiveness in their market. Contact us today for more information on how EAM can help your company develop automated solutions to meet your production needs.