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The concept of automation invites thoughts of robots operating along a line of conveyor belts, working in concert to build parts. Sensors monitor the position of these components and communicate this into a controller. The controller sends commands to the robot to grab the part and perform the next function until a product is assembled. While this scenario exists, it represents the highest end of automation technology working to perform complex tasks.
Automation is more commonly used to perform simple tasks. For example, a smart thermostat is a sensor that monitors room temperature. It transmits information over a digital network into a controller. If the room is 70°F and needs to be 65°F, then the air conditioning is turned on automatically. So, instead of relying on a person to walk into the room, check a thermometer, and then adjust the air conditioning, this is automatically handled by the integrated control system. It works on its own all day every day.
Automation can be integrated into nearly every operation. It just requires analysis to discover which functions are repetitive and cumbersome. This paper will help explore these operations and describe how automation can be used to manage simple tasks, reduce operating costs and save money.
Author: Matthew Nemeth, Managing Director, E+E Elektronik Corporation (USA)