Automation
Overview
 
Automation is the use of control system
Control system
A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

s and information technologies
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy
World economy
The world economy, or global economy, generally refers to the economy, which is based on economies of all of the world's countries, national economies. Also global economy can be seen as the economy of global society and national economies – as economies of local societies, making the global one....

 and in daily experience.

Automation has had a notable impact in a wide range of industries beyond manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 (where it began).
Quotations

Anything that can be automatically done for you can be automatically done to you.

Wyland's Law of Automation

Encyclopedia
Automation is the use of control system
Control system
A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

s and information technologies
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy
World economy
The world economy, or global economy, generally refers to the economy, which is based on economies of all of the world's countries, national economies. Also global economy can be seen as the economy of global society and national economies – as economies of local societies, making the global one....

 and in daily experience.

Automation has had a notable impact in a wide range of industries beyond manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 (where it began). Once-ubiquitous telephone operator
Telephone operator
A telephone operator is either* a person who provides assistance to a telephone caller, usually in the placing of operator assisted telephone calls such as calls from a pay phone, collect calls , calls which are billed to a credit card, station-to-station and person-to-person calls, and certain...

s have been replaced largely by automated telephone switchboard
Telephone switchboard
A switchboard was a device used to connect a group of telephones manually to one another or to an outside connection, within and between telephone exchanges or private branch exchanges . The user was typically known as an operator...

s and answering machines. Medical processes such as primary screening in electrocardiography or radiography
Radiography
Radiography is the use of X-rays to view a non-uniformly composed material such as the human body. By using the physical properties of the ray an image can be developed which displays areas of different density and composition....

 and laboratory analysis of human genes
Gênes
Gênes is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Italy, named after the city of Genoa. It was formed in 1805, when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the Republic of Genoa. Its capital was Genoa, and it was divided in the arrondissements of Genoa, Bobbio, Novi Ligure, Tortona and...

, sera
Blood plasma
Blood plasma is the straw-colored liquid component of blood in which the blood cells in whole blood are normally suspended. It makes up about 55% of the total blood volume. It is the intravascular fluid part of extracellular fluid...

, cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

, and tissues
Biological tissue
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

 are carried out at much greater speed and accuracy by automated systems. Automated teller machine
Automated teller machine
An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine, also known as a Cashpoint , cash machine or sometimes a hole in the wall in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public...

s have reduced the need for bank visits to obtain cash and carry out transactions. In general, automation has been responsible for the shift in the world economy from industrial jobs to service jobs in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Advantages and disadvantages

The main advantages of automation are:
  • Replacing human operators in tasks that involve hard physical or monotonous work.
  • Replacing humans in tasks done in dangerous environments (i.e. fire, space, volcanoes, nuclear facilities, underwater, etc.)
  • Performing tasks that are beyond human capabilities of size, weight, speed, endurance, etc.
  • Economy improvement: Automation may improve in economy of enterprises, society or most of humanity. For example, when an enterprise invests in automation, technology recovers its investment; or when a state or country increases its income due to automation like Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     or Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

     in the 20th Century.
  • Reduces operation time and work handling time significantly.


The main disadvantages of automation are:
  • Unemployment rate increases due to machines replacing humans and putting those humans out of their jobs.
  • Technical Limitation: Current technology is unable to automate all the desired tasks.
  • Security Threats/Vulnerability: An automated system may have limited level of intelligence, hence it is most likely susceptible to commit error.
  • Unpredictable development costs: The research and development
    Research and development
    The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

     cost of automating a process may exceed the cost saved by the automation itself.
  • High initial cost: The automation of a new product
    Product (business)
    In general, the product is defined as a "thing produced by labor or effort" or the "result of an act or a process", and stems from the verb produce, from the Latin prōdūce ' lead or bring forth'. Since 1575, the word "product" has referred to anything produced...

     or plant
    Plant
    Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

     requires a huge initial investment in comparison with the unit cost of the product, although the cost of automation is spread in many product batches of things

Additional goals of automation

In manufacturing, the purpose of automation has shifted to issues broader than productivity, cost, and time.

Reliability and precision

The old focus on using automation simply to increase productivity and reduce costs was seen to be short-sighted, because it is also necessary to provide a skilled workforce who can make repairs and manage the machinery. Moreover, the initial costs of automation were high and often could not be recovered by the time entirely new manufacturing processes replaced the old. (Japan's "robot junkyards" were once world famous in the manufacturing industry.)

Automation is now often applied primarily to increase quality in the manufacturing process, where automation can increase quality substantially. For example, automobile and truck piston
Piston
A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors and pneumatic cylinders, among other similar mechanisms. It is the moving component that is contained by a cylinder and is made gas-tight by piston rings. In an engine, its purpose is to transfer force from...

s used to be installed into engines
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 manually. This is rapidly being transitioned to automated machine installation, because the error rate for manual installment was around 1-1.5%, but has been reduced to 0.00001% with automation.

Health and environment

The costs of automation to the environment are different depending on the technology, product or engine automated. There are automated engines that consume more energy resources from the Earth in comparison with previous engines and those that do the opposite too. Hazardous operations, such as oil refining, the manufacturing of industrial chemicals
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, and all forms of metal working, were always early contenders for automation.

Convertibility and turnaround time

Another major shift in automation is the increased demand for flexibility and convertibility in manufacturing processes. Manufacturers are increasingly demanding the ability to easily switch from manufacturing Product A to manufacturing Product B without having to completely rebuild the production line
Production line
A production line is a set of sequential operations established in a factory whereby materials are put through a refining process to produce an end-product that is suitable for onward consumption; or components are assembled to make a finished article....

s. Flexibility and distributed processes have led to the introduction of Automated Guided Vehicle
Automated Guided Vehicle
An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle is a mobile robot that follows markers or wires in the floor, or uses vision or lasers. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials around a manufacturing facility or a warehouse...

s with Natural Features Navigation.

Digital electronics helped too. Former analogue-based instrumentation was replaced by digital equivalents which can be more accurate and flexible, and offer greater scope for more sophisticated configuration, parametrization and operation. This was accompanied by the fieldbus
Fieldbus
Fieldbus is the name of a family of industrial computer network protocols used for real-time distributed control, now standardized as IEC 61158....

 revolution which provided a networked (i.e. a single cable) means of communicating between control systems and field level instrumentation, eliminating hard-wiring.

Discrete manufacturing plants adopted these technologies fast. The more conservative process industries with their longer plant life cycles have been slower to adopt and analogue-based measurement and control still dominates. The growing use of Industrial Ethernet
Industrial Ethernet
Industrial Ethernet refers to the use of the Ethernet family of computer network technologies in an industrial environment, for automation and process control. A number of techniques are used to adapt Ethernet for the needs of industrial processes, which require real time behavior...

 on the factory floor is pushing these trends still further, enabling manufacturing plants to be integrated more tightly within the enterprise, via the internet if necessary. Global competition has also increased demand for Reconfigurable Manufacturing System
Reconfigurable Manufacturing System
A reconfigurable manufacturing system is one designed at the outset for rapid change in its structure, as well as its hardware and software components, in order to quickly adjust its production capacity and functionality within a part family in response to sudden market changes or intrinsic system...

s.

Automation tools

Engineers now can have numerical control
Numerical control
Numerical control refers to the automation of machine tools that are operated by abstractly programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, as opposed to controlled manually via handwheels or levers, or mechanically automated via cams alone...

 over automated devices. The result has been a rapidly expanding range of applications and human activities. Computer-aided technologies (or CAx) now serve the basis for mathematical and organizational tools used to create complex systems. Notable examples of CAx include Computer-aided design
Computer-aided design
Computer-aided design , also known as computer-aided design and drafting , is the use of computer technology for the process of design and design-documentation. Computer Aided Drafting describes the process of drafting with a computer...

 (CAD software) and Computer-aided manufacturing
Computer-aided manufacturing
Computer-aided manufacturing is the use of computer software to control machine tools and related machinery in the manufacturing of workpieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, but it is the most common; CAM may also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a...

 (CAM software). The improved design, analysis, and manufacture of products enabled by CAx has been beneficial for industry.

Information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, together with industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 machinery and process
Industrial process
Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacture of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry....

es, can assist in the design, implementation, and monitoring of control systems. One example of an industrial control system
Industrial Control Systems
Industrial control system is a general term that encompasses several types of control systems used in industrial production, including supervisory control and data acquisition systems, distributed control systems , and other smaller control system configurations such as skid-mounted programmable...

 is a programmable logic controller
Programmable logic controller
A programmable logic controller or programmable controller is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures. PLCs are used in many industries and machines...

 (PLC). PLCs are specialized hardened computers which are frequently used to synchronize the flow of inputs from (physical) sensor
Sensor
A sensor is a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. For example, a mercury-in-glass thermometer converts the measured temperature into expansion and contraction of a liquid which can be read on a calibrated...

s and events with the flow of outputs to actuators and events.
Human-machine interfaces (HMI) or computer human interfaces
Human–computer interaction
Human–computer Interaction is the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design and several other fields of study...

 (CHI), formerly known as man-machine interfaces, are usually employed to communicate with PLCs and other computers. Service personnel who monitor and control through HMIs can be called by different names. In industrial process and manufacturing environments, they are called operators or something similar. In boiler houses and central utilities departments they are called stationary engineers.

Different types of automation tools exist:
  • ANN - Artificial neural network
    Artificial neural network
    An artificial neural network , usually called neural network , is a mathematical model or computational model that is inspired by the structure and/or functional aspects of biological neural networks. A neural network consists of an interconnected group of artificial neurons, and it processes...

  • DCS - Distributed Control System
    Distributed control system
    A distributed control system refers to a control system usually of a manufacturing system, process or any kind of dynamic system, in which the controller elements are not central in location but are distributed throughout the system with each component sub-system controlled by one or more...

  • HMI - Human Machine Interface
  • SCADA - Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
  • PLC - Programmable Logic Controller
    Programmable logic controller
    A programmable logic controller or programmable controller is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures. PLCs are used in many industries and machines...

  • PAC - Programmable automation controller
    Programmable automation controller
    A programmable automation controller ' is a compact controller that combines the features and capabilities of a PC-based control system with that of a typical programmable logic controller . PACs are most often used in industrial settings for process control, data acquisition, remote equipment...

  • Instrumentation
    Instrumentation
    Instrumentation is defined as the art and science of measurement and control of process variables within a production, or manufacturing area....

  • Motion control
    Motion control
    Motion control is a sub-field of automation, in which the position or velocity of machines are controlled using some type of device such as a hydraulic pump, linear actuator, or an electric motor, generally a servo...

  • Robotics
    Robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...


Current limitations

Many roles for humans in industrial processes presently lie beyond the scope of automation. Human-level pattern recognition
Pattern recognition
In machine learning, pattern recognition is the assignment of some sort of output value to a given input value , according to some specific algorithm. An example of pattern recognition is classification, which attempts to assign each input value to one of a given set of classes...

, language recognition
Language recognition
In computational linguistics and natural language processing, language recognition may refer to:* Language identification* Natural language understanding* Speech recognition* Language recognition...

, and language production ability are well beyond the capabilities of modern mechanical and computer systems. Tasks requiring subjective assessment or synthesis of complex sensory data, such as scents and sounds, as well as high-level tasks such as strategic planning, currently require human expertise. In many cases, the use of humans is more cost-effective than mechanical approaches even where automation of industrial tasks is possible. Overcoming these obstacles is a theorized path to post-scarcity economics.

Applications

Automated video surveillance

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the research and development of automated visual surveillance and monitoring (VSAM) program, between 1997 and 1999, and airborne video surveillance (AVS) programs, from 1998 to 2002. Currently, there is a major effort underway in the vision community to develop a fully automated tracking surveillance
Space Tracking and Surveillance System
The United States Missile Defense Agency is developing a Space Tracking and Surveillance System which it will use to research the space-based detection and tracking of ballistic missiles. Data from STSS satellites could allow interceptors to engage incoming missiles earlier in flight than would...

 system. Automated video surveillance monitors people and vehicle in real time within a busy environment. Existing automated surveillance systems are based on the environment they are primarily designed to observe, i.e., indoor, outdoor or airborne, the amount of sensors that the automated system can handle and the mobility of sensor, i.e., stationary camera vs. mobile camera. The purpose of a surveillance system is to record properties and trajectories of objects in a given area, generate warnings or notify designated authority in case of occurrence of particular events.

Automated highway systems
As demands for safety and mobility have grown and technological possibilities have multiplied, interest in automation have grown. Seeking to accelerate the development and introduction of fully automated vehicles and highways, The United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 authorized more than $650 million over 6 years for intelligent transport systems (ITS) and demonstration projects in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 is a United States federal law that posed a major change to transportation planning and policy, as the first U.S. federal legislation on the subject in the post-Interstate Highway System era...

 (ISTEA). Congress legislated in ISTEA that “the Secretary of Transportation
United States Secretary of Transportation
The United States Secretary of Transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation, a member of the President's Cabinet, and fourteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966,...

 shall develop an automated highway and vehicle prototype from which future fully automated intelligent vehicle-highway systems can be developed. Such development shall include research in human factors to ensure the success of the man-machine relationship. The goal of this program is to have the first fully automated highway roadway or an automated test track in operation by 1997. This system shall accommodate installation of equipment in new and existing motor vehicles." [ISTEA 1991, part B, Section 6054(b)].

Full automation commonly defined as requiring no control or very limited control by the driver; such automation would be accomplished through a combination of sensor, computer, and communications systems in vehicles and along the roadway. Fully automated driving would, in theory, allow closer vehicle spacing and higher speeds, which could enhance traffic capacity in places where additional road building is physically impossible, politically unacceptable, or prohibitively expensive. Automated controls also might enhance road safety by reducing the opportunity for driver error, which causes a large share of motor vehicle crashes. Other potential benefits include improved air quality (as a result of more-efficient traffic flows), increased fuel economy, and spin-off technologies generated during research and development related to automated highway systems.

Automated manufacturing

Automated manufacturing refers to the application of automation to produce things in the factory way. Most of the advantages of the automation technology has its influence in the manufacture processes.

The main advantages of automated manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 are higher consistency and quality, reduced lead times, simplified production, reduced handling, improved work flow, and increased worker morale when a good implementation of the automation is made.

Home automation

Home automation (also called domotics) designates an emerging practice of increased automation of household appliances and features in residential dwellings, particularly through electronic means that allow for things impracticable, overly expensive or simply not possible in recent past decades.

Industrial automation
Industrial automation deals with the optimization of energy-efficient drive systems by precise measurement and control technologies. Nowadays energy efficiency in industrial processes are becoming more and more relevant. Semiconductor companies like Infineon Technologies
Infineon Technologies
Infineon Technologies AG is a German semiconductor manufacturer and was founded on April 1, 1999, when the semiconductor operations of the parent company Siemens AG were spun off to form a separate legal entity. , Infineon has 25,149 employees worldwide...

 are offering 8-bit microcontroller applications for example found in motor control
Motor control
Motor control are information processing related activities carried out by the central nervous system that organize the musculoskeletal system to create coordinated movements and skilled actions...

s, general purpose pumps, fans, and ebikes to reduce energy consumption and thus increase efficiency. One of Infineon`s 8-bit product line found in industrial automation is the XC800 family
XC800 family
The Infineon XC800 Family is an 8-bit Microcontroller family, first introduced in 2005 , with a dual cycle optimized 8051 "E-Warp" Core. The XC800 family is divided in to two categories, the A-Family for Automotive and the I-Family for Industrial & Multi Market applications.-Industrial and...

.

Agriculture: Now that we’re moving towards automated orange-sortinghttp://www.gizmag.com/artificial-vision-orange-sorting/20184/ and autonomous tractorshttp://www.gizmag.com/automated-self-steering-tractor/19883/, the next step in automated agriculture is robotic strawberry pickershttp://www.gizmag.com/robotic-strawberry-pickers/20233/. --Kristwin (talk) 23:12, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Agent-assisted Automation

Agent-assisted Automation refers to automation used by call center agents to handle customer inquiries. There are two basic types: desktop automation and automated voice solutions. Desktop automation refers to software programming that makes it easier for the call center agent to work across multiple desktop tools. The automation would take the information entered into one tool and populate it across the others so it did not have to be entered more than once, for example. Automated voice solutions allow the agents to remain on the line while disclosures and other important information is provided to customers in the form of pre-recorded audio files. Specialized applications of these automated voice solutions enable the agents to process credit cards without ever seeing or hearing the credit card numbers or CVV codes

The key benefit of agent-assisted automation is compliance and error-proofing. Agents are sometimes not fully trained or they forget or ignore key steps in the process. The use of automation ensures that what is supposed to happen on the call actually does, every time.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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