What Is Industrial Automation?
Industrial automation refers to the adoption of control systems or information technologies, including robots and computers, to replace or improve human input across specific tasks.
Automation in industry is often used for tasks that are considered more dangerous for humans, or for those that can be done in a more time and cost-efficient manner by machinery.
Its inception was caused by a desire to improve productivity levels and reduce operating costs across various industries, including manufacturing, mining and repairs. The ability of machinery to be operational 24/7, without the need for breaks or benefits, accelerated the early uptake.
As the notion of industrial automation control develops, goals like quality and flexibility in manufacturing have also become larger focal points.
Types of Industrial Automation
The most common setting for industrial automation is in manufacturing operations, where companies will typically bring automated manufacturing systems into the production line. The reason for this is simple – machines can maintain consistent manufacturing quality, as well as monitoring production with greater accuracy and efficiency than humans.
This reduces mistakes, which enhances reliability.
Different types of industrial automation can be seen across industries and applications. Some of the best examples of automation in industry include:
- Automated stacking systems
- Pipe flange inspections
- Adhesive dispensing systems
- Automated forklift and haul trucks
- Error, fault, and breakdown inspections
As computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence become more evolved, there’s a high likelihood we see it become more prevalent across a wider range of industries. In fact, the future of automation in manufacturing and other sectors could be bolstered by the rise of industry 4.0.
What Industries Benefit From Industrial Automation?
Industrial automation examples are emerging in many industries, due to its varied benefits. These include:
- Power generation, oil and gas, or metal processing – Automation systems can combine several tasks, speed up processes and improve the safety of working environments where dangerous chemicals and heavy-duty machinery are present.
- Manufacturing – Moving the installation of pistons in a car engine from a manual to an automated task, for example, can cut the error rate to less than 1%2.
- Healthcare – Potentially one of the biggest opportunities for future automation. AI can ease time pressure on doctors and nurses by providing easier access to patient status and other vital information to assist their treatment. From automating medication production and pharmaceutical distribution to relieving nurses of repetitive tasks such as making beds, the possibilities for robotics within healthcare settings are huge.
Discover more about how Henkel supports the ongoing growth of the power and automation sector. For help finding the right solution, browse our maintenance and repair services, or contact an expert below to find out more.