In recent years, industrial automation has facilitated the control over various operations of an industry without any significant intervention from humans, using various control devices. Companies use a set of technology in automation strategies to get the desired performance or output. Some of the advanced technologies used in industrial automation involve control strategies such as cascade controls, modern control hardware devices such as PLC sensors, other final control devices, standalone computing systems, communication systems, and human-machine interfacing systems.
Types of Industrial Automation
Based on the flexibility and the level of integration in the manufacturing process, Industrial automation systems can be classified into four basic types:
In this type of automation, the sequence of operations to be performed is set by the equipment configuration. It is mostly used in the case of high-volume production. Some examples of fixed automation systems are distilled processes, assembly lines, machine transfer lines, etc.
In programmable automation, the sequence of operations can be changed by changing the program. The sequence of operation varies based on the different product configurations, and new programs can be entered for new products, into the programmable devices. This kind of automation can be found in industrial robots, batch processes, and steel rolling mills.
This is an extension of programmable automation, but there is greater flexibility to deal with product design variations. In this case, the sequence of the process should be changed so that the programmer can give commands in the form of codes.
This type of automation is entirely under the computer’s control. From the designing process to the dispatching, the entire system is entirely automated. Robots handle everything including the equipment in this system. Integrated automation has simplified various industrial processes. The new trends in industrial automation deal with the latest communication protocols and control devices, which help control field devices such as control valves and other final control elements. The automated industry also uses some instruments or smart devices that have communication capabilities and also the ability to control processes without interfacing with the other field-level control devices.
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