Industrial automation engineering is the process of designing, implementing and maintaining automated systems in an industrial plant. It involves the use of computers and software to control machines and procedures and design their architectures.
These days, many companies rely on industrial automation engineers and use custom software development services to design and implement systems that can automate tasks that humans previously performed. It has helped many industries become more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective.
According to Fortune Business Insights research, the industrial automation market is forecasted to experience significant growth in the coming years, rising from $205.86 billion in 2022 to $395.09 billion by 2029.
There are four main types of industrial automation systems: fixed, programmable, flexible and integrated. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks, so you have to consider your business needs before deciding.
Fixed automation is specifically designed to carry out a single process or task, making it best suited for repetitive and well-defined tasks. This type is typically used in manufacturing settings, where the equipment is fixed with a particular set of functions, and there are rarely any changes to these operations.
However, the entire system must be redesigned and rebuilt if any changes are required in the production process, including changes in the components' design or the raw materials. It can be a very costly and time-consuming process. Moreover, if there are any problems with the equipment, it can be complicated to troubleshoot and repair.
By entering computer code into the system, programmable automation components can be controlled to perform multiple functions quickly and easily. This makes them much more adjustable than fixed tools, which means they can be customised to meet the specific requirements of each product.
Programmable automation solutions are widely used across industries today, but it is particularly well-suited for the packaging industry and material handling applications. Programmable automation can quickly change tasks; however, this type can be less reliable and may require more maintenance.
Flexible automation is the best of both worlds: the reliability and precision of fixed automation, with the adaptability and flexibility of programmable automation.
With flexible automation, companies get computer-controlled systems that can seamlessly adjust to changing needs quickly and easily. This makes it perfect for food and beverage production industries, where recipes or ingredients may need to be changed frequently.
There is often confusion between flexible and programmable automation, as they are quite similar. However, users are typically limited to batch production or low-variation tasks with programmable automation. Meanwhile, flexible automated systems can be adjusted for different kinds and levels of complexity when it comes to the manufacturing process.
It combines two or more types of automation to create a custom solution, which is developed to manage and streamline the use of tools and processes to achieve optimal results with minimal human effort.
This type of automation is often used in complex manufacturing settings where multiple processes must be coordinated. They're usually used in large factories with many machines and can be expensive. However, they're very efficient and can help to improve productivity.
The use of machines, robots, and automated system solutions can obviously add value and assist businesses in attaining new levels of efficiency and productivity. However, let's examine some key benefits of industrial automation engineering.
These tools can control workers' health, identifying risks such as toxic fumes, fatigue and stress levels. Business owners can ensure that their employees are safe by using this information for security reasons. Ultimately, this will improve working conditions and reduce insurance costs.
As you begin to automate your processes, it's crucial to have the right team in place to help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with it. Here are some tips for leveraging the team of automation engineers:
If you're looking to increase your efficiency, cut costs and drastically improve workplace safety, automation engineering is the way to go. With the help of an experienced automation engineer, you can develop and deploy an automation solution that will provide an optimal ROI and the best results.
To learn more about industrial automation and how it can benefit your company, talk to our experts today.
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