Why Is Industrial Automation Important?

Industrial Automation

In today’s fast-paced and technologically advanced world, it is of the utmost importance to achieve ever-increasing levels of plant efficiency and productivity while maintaining or increasing profits and quality. Industrial automation is directly linked to these goals, as the coordination and monitoring of your production are key components to achieving your targets.

Starting with Quality

If you want to produce quality items, you must start with raw materials that are both consistent in form and free of defects. In order to verify that these raw materials meet your standards, you must either employ human inspectors to monitor and track quality status or implement an automated system to carry out this task. Electronic vision and measuring systems, sensors and PLCs linked to computers that have data logging and trending software can execute this laborious, time-consuming task with ease. By using automation systems, you are ensured a higher level of quality inspection and your human resources are free to take on other projects.

Next Steps

These newly inspected materials must now pass into the production or storage stages of your process, which means that they need to be cataloged, labeled, routed and placed in the appropriate location for the next stage. This can be done manually, requiring human effort and brute force, or it can be done with RFID systems, barcode labeling and conveyors equipped with supervisory controls and routing programming provided by software. These systems can increase efficiency and require minimum expenditures after initial design, development and implementation.

Finishing with Quality

After production, your finished goods must be inspected, tested, packaged and then routed either to their next destination or the storage location of your choosing. At this stage, automated testing systems can be used to verify the desired functionality of the product. Electronic vision systems can be utilized to compare the finished goods visually to a benchmark originally set by the Quality Control department. After inspection and testing, products can either be rerouted back to production to be reworked or sent to packaging where more automated equipment can consistently box, wrap or bag your goods for end users.

These activities can be carried out by using many of the same industrial automation projects that were discussed earlier, with all operational data available for sharing with Operators, Managers and other decision makers in real time. This immediate sharing of data allows stakeholders to decide how to best manager resources, processes and materials to maximize the achievement of your company’s goals and mission quickly.

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Greg Finley
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