Many beginner automation enthusiasts often fail to establish appreciable differences between Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs). They often confuse both these entities as being similar and working for the same end-result. While the latter may be true, as in the end achieving automation is the desired result, the two terms are quite different and have limited overlap.
Automation has been a driving force in production and manufacturing over the past few years. Automation and control engineers are becoming more and more valuable as improvements in manufacturing become more necessary to keep up with technology. Automation can bring great value to companies and improve production quality and efficiency. Companies need to evaluate how automation can improve their business and give the company a step up in competing with other manufactures.
As technology advances and better automation systems are made to perform various functions, it reduces the need for human workers in manufacturing. While this technology has been developing rapidly, there are still many flaws in the system. Some people might think that either having a fully automated shop or a staff of able workers would be the optimal choice to run their manufacturing process. Another and quite possibly a better option is to have an automated system run by workers that are intertwined.
The need for Electric Drives is universal, and is increasing at a resounded rate due to constant innovation in the field of industrial automation—specifically robotics. Electric Drives offer the most efficient solution to controlling the output of a motor, and therefore are widely used in almost all industries, big or small.
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are required for precise control of speed, position and torque at different loads, which is not efficiently achievable through other methods such as introducing resistance. Some of the benefits of Electric Drives, AC or DC are:
- A high level of efficiency in an industrial environment
- Have a predictable behavior
- Allow the control of starting current
- Have faced great advancement in recent years and are now embedded with microprocessors and digital electronics components
The automated process that involves tending a machine such as a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) is known as Robotic Machine Tending. The process is usually highlighted by loading/unloading of raw materials into a machine and delivery of finished products out of it.
The process of finding and identifying qualified system integrators for your automation requires a strong understanding of system integration and paying close attention to what you’re looking for. Your choice of system integrators will only be as good as the candidates you’ve vetted. Therefore, having a broad initial search is essential to finding the right candidate.
System Integrators can essentially be divided into three types:
- Ones that prefer building new systems, delivering them and moving onto the next project, offering limited time post-installation support.
- Ones that build systems and support them for a considerable period of time.
- Ones that specialize in troubleshooting and tailoring of existing systems.
Process control is designed to keep variables within specific boundaries so optimum productivity can be achieved. The primary purpose of process control is to ensure that a process runs at the desired operating conditions, whilst meeting its constraints such as those of safety, environment, and reliability. Process control strategies can be organized into a hierarchy, allowing operators to differentiate vital features from the optional ones.
The use of industrial robots has brought a number of benefits to the workplace, but it has also increased the inherent risk posed to the workers on the plant. Thus, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure a safe working environment is maintained at all times.
Safety is often viewed as an extra responsibility, something that comes with greater paperwork and overhead. The truth, however, is quite different. Having a safe working environment can actually have benefits such as assurance of regulatory compliance and increased productivity from the factory floor.
As technology becomes more prevalent, machines are now being used to build other machines. Most of the robots produced are shipped to various factories where they play a key role in the manufacturing of cars, laptops, and other equipment. It has been reported by Loup Ventures that as more people are swayed towards gadgets, the market for industrial robots is bound to grow over 175 percent over the next decade.
But the dynamic is going to change as well. The driver of this growth won’t consist primarily of industrial arms joining car parts as they have been for decades. Instead, a new generation of robots is taking over that is smarter, more compact, and much more collaborative than the traditional industrial robot. These collaborative robots will account for a large percentage of robots sold in future decades throughout industries. To compare, collaborative robots today only account for 3 percent of industrial robots.
Previous deburring methods required a lot of time and effort to occur. An operator would unload cut parts from a plasma cutting machine, reload a sheet, and then manually grind the burrs and slagging off any edges. Once the operator finished grinding, the ground parts are retrieved by a material handler and carried away. These steps are repeated over and over, with the next batch of cut parts being unloaded, and going through the hand-grinding process. While the operation may sound coordinated to someone who runs a low-volume establishment, the truth is this kind of work is difficult and prone to issues on a wide scale.