The impact of automation technology is already being felt by most of the growing countries. Following the falling prices of automated tools, the number of industrial robots has increased worldwide over the past few years. Despite the technological advances, it would probably take decades to materialize full adoption of industrial automation. Following are some of the factors that influence the speed and growth of industrial automation across the world.
The nature of work and production processes vary from business to business. Custom automated tools have to be manufactured and integrated into a system in order to perform varying workplace activities. A technology can only be integrated into a system when machines have the capabilities to perform certain tasks effectively. Moreover, industries require skilled labor to run the advanced production machines. Machines can match or outperform humans on a number of capabilities. At the same time, many other capabilities still need to be developed and adopted. A more refined man-machine communication can really help uncover the full potential of industrial technology.
The cost of automation
It requires financial resources to engineer and adopt automation technology. Industrial hardware solutions, from PLCs to intelligent robots that can perform various activities with arms, require dexterity. Quality control tools like inspection cameras and sensors are an inseparable part of an automated production system. These aspects increase the cost of automation for businesses, making it difficult for them to make a good use of technology. As compared with wages, automation has a high initial cost. However, with the passage of time, the cost of technology declines that allows small and medium-size businesses to adopt innovative production solutions.
Manufacturers have to compare the cost of automation and labor in order to make a choice. For instance, food processing industry has high automation potential, but the decision to adopt automation will need to consider the cost of manual processing, the abundance of people who are willing to work, benefits that automation can produce, and the nature of competition.
The deployment of automated systems can bring a number of performance benefits for businesses. The benefits might vary depending on a number of factors. Some of the common advantages of automation that almost every company enjoy include:
- Greater throughput
- High-quality products
- Improved safety conditions
- Higher productivity
- Competitive edge
Let’s take the example of welding operations to understand the benefits of automation technology. Industries which deploy robotic welding can produce high and same quality welds over and over again while minimizing the error factor and labor cost. We know that robots have the capability to completely outperform humans in terms of precision, repeatability, and output.
The relative cost of automation can be small as compared with results that it can produce in the long run. Industries with manual production processes are likely to go obsolete in the next few years following the rapid adoption of automation worldwide.