There is no denying it. We are in the middle of an enormous digital transformation that is altering our society and economic situation. Automation is picking up speed in all markets. Over the years, automation has ended up being extensive with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
While it will disrupt sectors, it is neither a magic pill, neither a portent of doomsday circumstances. Automation will produce new work and push some to extinction. Automation does not merely change human labour, however. It enhances human labour by unloading easy, repetitive tasks to computer systems.
Automated production systems can be classified into 3 standard kinds:
- Fixed automation
- Programmable automation
- Flexible automation
Additionally referred to as Hard Automation, Fixed Automation entails the usage of specific-purpose equipment to automate a recurring sequence of jobs, processing or assembly operations. Typically, the operational sequence is simple, involves basic capabilities like rotational or plain direct motion, or an amalgamation of both. A good example of fixed automation is that of an automatic capping machine that affixes caps to microtubes of a particular diameter and circumference.
The benefits of fixed automation are enhanced speed of production, reduced cost of the unit, and the automation of the product handling procedure. If the automation duplicates the same jobs with similar systems, it is Fixed Automation. The most notable limitation, here, is that Hard Automation units must be replaced when new tasks need to be completed.
In this the manufacturing equipment is developed with the capacity to change the series of procedures to accommodate various product setups. The procedure sequence is controlled by a program, which is a set of guidelines coded so that the system can read and analyze them. New programs can be prepared and entered into the equipment to generate new products. Characteristics of programmable automation includes:
- High investment in general-purpose equipment
- Lower manufacturing rates compared to fixed automation
- Versatility to handle changes in item arrangement
- Most ideal for batch production
This automation form is an expansion of programmable automation that has the ability to produce a spectrum of items with next-to-zero lull and no complex change-over manual procedure, which indicates higher production speed. Due to the fact that there is no need for complicated reprogramming, Flexible Automation can switch between tasks.
Consider our thermostat and cruise ship control examples. Modern adaptive cruise ship control and self-learning thermostats are examples of Flexible Automation– customers don’t need to reprogram the mechanisms to change their end results. In production, since there is no need for set manufacturing, tasks can be finished on demand.
Flexible Automation enables automatic and fast changes to programmed sequences, such as production of style variations, with basically no down-time. Basically, Flexible Automation permits a range of procedure end results and high efficiency.