When people discuss industrial automation who may be on the outside of the manufacturing industry looking inward, they usually think about legions of robots on factory floors that are designed to replace human jobs. Thankfully, the reality of the situation is far from this – in fact, it may literally be the opposite.
Industrial automation isn’t about replacing human employees at all. It’s about supporting them to do more with less and to free up their time so that they can spend it in more productive ways. It does this in a wide range of different ways, all of which are worth a closer look.
Understanding the Full Power of Industrial Automation
One of the best examples of industrial automation in action has to do with preventative maintenance. Decades ago, if there was an issue with a key piece of machinery on a production line, it was essentially up to an employee to notice it. They would need to diagnose the problem themselves and fix it manually, which would almost certainly take the machine offline and cost a large amount of time and effort in the process.
Now, the sensors in equipment have gotten so sophisticated that they can essentially diagnose themselves. A machine can alert the right worker ahead of time when a small problem develops, all in the name of stopping it from becoming a bigger one. Using historical data and reporting, the right time to perform that maintenance can be identified when it will cause the least amount of disruption – thus avoiding the hassles that were formerly considered to be just “a cost of doing business.”
The same is true in other areas of manufacturing, too. Industrial robots can be used for the purposes of materials handling to prevent employees from entering potentially dangerous situations. Opportunities for further optimization in processes are identified immediately through analytical tools, making sure that lines and operators are working as efficiently as possible.
All of this creates a perfect storm in the best possible way. Bottlenecks in production can be eliminated, leading to far higher production rates. Productivity can’t help but increase when employees are now free to focus on the tasks that really need their attention. Once you begin tracking the entirety of your production in this level of detail, you can reduce waste and create a more efficient use of raw materials.
In other words, industrial automation isn’t just about saving time. It’s about rebuilding an organization from the top down to become the very best version of itself it can be. It’s a concept that uses modern technology in order to do it, and it’s one that has already been embraced by legions of manufacturers around the world.
For additional information about how industrial automation gives way to benefits like preventative maintenance and more, or to speak to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Pioneer Industrial Systems today.