Production Automation, as we know it, dates back to Industrial Revolution. In 1722 ‘’the mother of machine tools’’ – the lathe – comes into existence and later on inspires the invention of all subsequent tools opening the whole new set of possibilities to industrial capitalists.
In the 18th century having accumulated wealth and having turned to science, Europe and the US embark on the quest for industrialization. First factories are built. Manufacturing hits scale. Productivity is the king. Automation becomes the ultimate answer to the new set of manufacturing challenges. The invention of the cotton gin, cotton spinning mechanism, Howe’s sewing machine, the conveyer, induction electric motor and the light bulb are now driving productivity levels through the roof.
Fast forward to the present. Today’s factories are equipped with extensive automation technologies, such as integrated manufacturing systems, smart sensors, high-speed information systems, robotics and programmable automation controllers.
Centuries of developments and upgrades in automation technology have passed. However, the core purpose of production automation remains. Automation remains to be the main solution to increasing productivity levels. It allows agricultural and manufacturing companies to produce output in higher and increasing quantities at outstanding speeds with great quality, consistency and safety. In today’s fast-pace marketplace, this is the definition of the competitive edge.
And this is exactly how automation creates this advantage. Any effective automated system is designed with these principles in mind:
- reduction in production time: letting a machine perform repetitive tasks significantly reduces production time as no human thinking is required and no human errors occur;
- greater production output: automated production is a source of larger volumes of production and lower production costs directly resulting into bigger profit margins;
- consistency of production: a programmed machine performs tasks with far greater consistency as opposed to a human laborer;
- reduction in energy and material waste: a programmed machine can perform tasks at most optimal levels and times resulting in efficient use of energy and materials;
- safety on the work floor: automated production moves employees away from potentially dangerous areas into computerized rooms allowing them to manage production with the help of a computer.
From the financial point of view, the above principles have direct impact on the bottom line of the company. From the perspective of an individual employee, production automation allows them to move away from unsafe dangerous production areas into jobs highly dependent on human capabilities and thinking. From the environmental perspective, production automation allows for conservation of energy and natural resources. Looking at the wide range of benefits production automation provides, it becomes clear that production automation can serve as a great source of value for companies, individuals and communities.
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