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What is Industrial Automation?

Only a handful of maintenance engineers are needed to handle the repairs needed for robotic machinery.
Industrial automation enables a company to run twenty-four hours a day without overtime payments.
Robots working on an automobile assembly line.
A concern about industrial automation is that it can lead to the elimination of thousands of jobs.
Engineers design and build intricate machines to aid in industrial automation.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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Industrial automation is the use of robotic devices to complete manufacturing tasks. In this day and age of computers, it is becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing process because computerized or robotic machines are capable of handling repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently. Machines used in this field are also capable of completing mundane tasks that are not desirable to workers. In addition, the company can save money because it does not need to pay for expensive benefits for this specialized machinery. There are both pros and cons for a company when it comes to industrial automation.

On the plus side, with soaring healthcare costs, paid days off, vacation time, and other costly employee benefits, companies can save money with industrial automation. While robotic machinery can initially be extremely expensive, the loss of monthly wages for production workers leads to incredible savings for the company. While machinery can break down, it does not happen often. If it does, only a handful of maintenance or computer engineers are needed to handle repairs and get lines running smoothly again.

In addition, many plants hire dozens of production workers for a variety of shifts and need to close on certain days. Industrial automation, however, allows a company to run the plant twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, without paying overtime. This fact alone can add up to significant savings.

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A company that employs forty-eight factory workers on three different shifts and closes on weekends, for example, can save thousands of dollars by automating. This is particularly true if weekend work is necessary, which means overtime pay of time and a half must be paid for Saturday work and double-time for Sunday. This equates to an additional twelve hours of pay per employee. Of course, life insurance, 401K benefits, dental insurance, health insurance, pension coverage, and disability also contribute to the expense.

Industrial automation can eliminate the need for all forty-eight jobs. The robotic machinery used may only involve a monthly payment until the machinery is paid for, a couple technicians to keep the robotic machinery running, and electricity costs. Unfortunately for workers, industrial automation can eliminate thousands of jobs. As the workforce decreases and the cost of living increases, many families struggle to make ends meet as their jobs are replaced by high-tech machines.

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Discuss this Article

gravois
Post 10

Factory automation is cool. But what about all the workers that get replaced by robots? Where will they go? What kind of jobs will they be able to get when machines are doing everything for us?

BAU79
Post 9

I have a friend that works in this field. He designs, programs and installs industrial robots that perform a number of every minute functions.

One of the more interesting ones he did was for an Army food service facility. It was a robot that would scan frozen pancakes on a conveyor and use suction cups to pick up all the ones that had no flaws. It could process 300 pancakes a minute and looked like a crawling spider when it was in action.

anon155259
Post 6

what is the scope of automation technology?

Bhavin17789
Post 5

what is DCS? what are the uses of DCS in industrial Automation?

anon68746
Post 3

plc is control hardware which performs sequential logic in a factory environment. so by using plc you can then control the whole plant automatically.

anon39912
Post 2

what are the uses of PLC in industrial automation?

anon30789
Post 1

Explain the various automated systems for transfer of materials in the production plant?

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