People have a perception that everything handmade is more valuable in the market. There is a truth in that perception. Handmade dresses with intricate details, furniture, and instruments, cost thousands of dollars on the market. It is because you pay for the craftsmanship and exclusivity of the finished product. But it is not the case in manufacturing industries that use machines and devices, such as laser sensors and lidar sensors, to mass-produce merchandise.
Handmade is not an option for manufacturers. Manufacturers aim to produce as many products as possible in a short period without compromising the quality to meet the market demand. It can only be achieved through factory automation. Learn about factory automation and why equipment and devices, like the lidar sensor and a fiber optic sensor, matter to it.
A Brief Introduction To Industrial Automation
Industrial automation involves technology, machines, devices, like a rotary encoder and ultrasonic sensor, and IT and fast communication systems implementation to improve, quicken, reduce cost, and increase the productivity of the current manufacturing process.
The mechanisation of the manufacturing process requires little to no human intervention, depending on the type of factory automation implemented.
Types Of Industrial Automation Systems
There are three primary types of automation systems: fixed, programmable, and flexible automation.
● Fixed automation
Also known as hard automation, a fixed automation system is more focused on carrying out one task. The sequences of the process are already pre-set or fixed in the system. The system’s components cannot be altered or adjusted easily to change the product styles the system produces. In other words, the system can only handle one product unit.
This system uses equipment and tools, such as a lidar sensor and ultrasonic sensor, for repetitive tasks.
● Programmable automation
A programmable automation system allows controllers to make slight changes to the manufacturing processes by running computer commands.
This system can produce batches of products of different units and styles. Each set needs a unique command or reprogramming to change the product style.
Like the fixed automation system, a programmable system uses equipment and tools, such aslaser sensors, for repetitive tasks.
● Flexible automation
The flexible automation system is almost identical to a programmable system except for one thing: it can handle and produce different product units simultaneously.
If programmable can produce different product styles in batches, the flexible system creates a variety of product types in one process. It also needs computer commands and programs to run.
This system uses various equipment and tools, such as a rotary encoder, for performing repetitive and material handling tasks.
Different Levels Of Industrial Automation
Industrial automation can be implemented to different degrees and levels, depending on the manufacturer’s needs.
● Minimal Automation
There is a little automation, but the majority of the process is still manual or needs human intervention.
For example, the process uses a conveyor belt with a rotary encoder for item distribution in the packaging process, but the packaging itself still needs human intervention.
● Single automated
This automation level uses a single machine that performs a repetitive task but still needs human intervention to do so.
For example, drink dispensers automatically fill the bottles with the beverage, still need humans to replace the filled bottles with empty ones before dispensing liquid again with accuracy and precision.
● Automated Production Lines
Automated production lines usually consist of large equipment or transfer systems that link various processes and workstations.
A great example of an automated production line is a mammoth conveyor belt with a rotary encoderin the automotive industry. The conveyor belt transfers the car pieces to different workstations where robots and machines gradually build the product. The product is assembled once it reaches the end of the belt.
● Fully automated
Also known as end-to-end automation, fully automated means that there is 100% no human intervention in the manufacturing process.
Each process is done by machines, equipment, and robots.
Industrial automation is a part of business expansion. Manufacturers need an enormous amount of money to implement types of automation of different levels, whether minimal or end-to-end. But despite the staggering amount you need, why do manufacturers still invest in industrial automation, specifically in huge equipment and tools likelaser sensors?
5 Reasons Why Manufacturers Must Invest In Industrial Automation
Manufacturers mass-produce merchandise to meet the demand for products in the market. It means that time and productivity of the factory are crucial for the manufacturers.
Here are the reasons why manufacturers need to automate their factories:
Increase in productivity
Quicker and more efficient and precise machines can replace human work, especially on repetitive tasks, increasing the factory’s productivity. Unlike manual labours, pieces of equipment and tools, such as alidar sensor, hardly need rest and can work 24/7. You can designate your human resource for more complex manufacturing tasks.
Increase in quality
Machines are more precise and accurate than humans. Additionally, advanced devices, such as an ultrasonic sensor and a fiber optic sensor, also reduce human errors in the process.
Controllers can also configure machines to perform a standard procedure on each manufacturing process, thus retaining the consistent quality of the finished product.
Increase in safety
Machines can take over tasks that require people to work in extreme workplace conditions, reducing the safety risks. Additionally, less human intervention means fewer accidents in the long run.
Many products that do not pass the standards go to waste. Human error is one of the primary reasons for these wasted products. Since the accuracy and precision of equipment pieces, such as laser sensors, manufacturers also reduce their waste.
Eventually, reduced waste products mean more standard products in the market.
Furthermore, higher productivity, fewer liabilities for occupational accidents, downtime decrease, and reduced hiring and training costs mean more business profit.
After all, factory automation has a high return on investments.
Many business people invest in industrial automation as part of their expansion. The upfront cost, especially devices likelaser sensors, can be expensive, but the benefits outweigh the price.
Pepperl+Fuchs Asia is committed to assisting you with industrial automation with state-of-the-art equipment and devices, such as an ultrasonic sensor and rotary encoder. Visit Pepperl+Fuchs Asia today.