Unknowingly, we all are deeply rooted in automation. We have automatic vehicles, automated electronic home appliances, have automatic devices and processes that make our life easy with no extra effort.
This automation is not just limited to home appliances and other infrastructural development. Still, it is way too crucial for the factories and plants to speed up the manufacturing process and satisfy their customers’ needs.
As automation is now essential in everyone’s life owing to the time constraints people have these days, the same is with the manufacturing units and production facilities. Such factories and plants must have ample inventories and stocks to satisfy the demand of their customers and be at the top of the market.
As the market is highly competitive, any delay in production can hamper the company’s sales, as people today do not want to wait for long to get their goods and services. So, owing to these things, factories are utilizing smart automation technologies to provide the necessary pace for their production and implement a push strategy to comprehend the market’s competition.
Factory automation is the utilization of high-end software-hardware automation systems that cater to the end-to-end Manufacturing or production process to speed up the production rate and, at the same time, increase the quality, efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the end product.
In simple words, factory automation is the implementation of intelligent technology and systems in the production process to achieve higher productivity and cost compliance.
The extent of automation can range from mechanizing a single process to eliminating all human intervention entirely. Moreover, automation in the factory can be implemented at any stage, from managing the number of raw materials to carrying out assembly and packaging before shipping.
Factory automation, or we can say it industrial automation, refers to computerized systems that can handle different types of machinery and processes without any human intervention.
As a result of technological advancements, more and more businesses are implementing automated systems to streamline operations and boost their output. Now, when considering the Automation processes, various types of automation systems are used in such factories and plants.
So, let us know about these automation types in the other section of this article.
Types of Factory Automation –
Fixed Automation –
Fixed automation systems, also called hard automation, perform a predefined set of operations without variation. This system is typically used in continuous flow and discrete mass production settings.
A stationary piece of automation equipment can be a conveyor belt system programmed to move items from point A to point B with minimal human intervention. Like the other components of a fixed automation system, automated conveyer belts carry out routine tasks to maximize output. The conveyer belt is just an example to make you understand the fixed automation system; several other types of machinery can be automated with such automation systems.
Programmable Automation –
Programmable automation, as the name implies, is controlled by computer programs. As a result, the final processes can differ significantly depending on the codes used to instruct the computer.
Though the programming work isn’t easy, the procedures and jobs don’t alter significantly. Paper and steel rolling mills are two examples of mass production facilities that utilize this type of automation to produce similar products using the same steps and tools.
Flexible Automation –
This type of automation, which allows for more adaptable production, goes by the name “soft automation” and is used in computer-controlled flexible manufacturing systems. Since all machines are programmed by humans and receive their orders from a central computer, the tasks performed by each machine can vary widely depending on the specific instructions.
Fabric factories, for example, would implement this kind of automation because of the high product variety and low to medium job volume found in these processes and shops. Some processes that are compatible with Soft Automation are –
- Discrete Manufacturing – “discrete manufacturing” refers to production methods used in the food packaging and textile industries. Small amounts of room are left for variation in the final product.
- Job Shop Manufacturing – Production in a job shop takes place in designated areas of the factory and is more labor-intensive than other types of production. Making one’s unique piece of machinery is one such instance.
- Batch Process Manufacturing – Manufacturing using the batch process, in which raw materials are processed in discrete lots, with time elapsed between each step of the production process as a batch moves through the line (e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry and paint manufacturing).
- Continuous Process Manufacturing – Production consistency is ensured in continuous process manufacturing because there is no break in the process between stages. This method of production is widely utilized in the chemical and petroleum industries.
So, as we know about these automation processes, let us now understand the market happenings in the factory automation sector and know how the global factory automation market is heading forward.
Global Factory Automation Market
The global factory automation market is having a dream run and is expected to have a growth rate of 8% for the forecast period from 2022 to 2030. With this CAGR of 8%, the said market segment is said to gain USD 282 billion by the year 2030.
Factors like rising demand for automation for qualitative and reliable Manufacturing and rising government initiatives to boost the adoption of industrial automation are fuelling the expansion of the global Factory Automation market.
However, the high investment cost of factory automation systems and a lack of skilled and trained professionals will likely restrain the market’s expansion. But still, the overall scenario of the automation systems being used in the industries is pretty evident that the factory automation systems market will soon be a major revenue-generating industry.
So, with all the information discussed above, we can conclude that the industry is heading towards a more profitable and efficient option that will make their production process fast and reliable.