Factory Automation: How Digitalization Works to Boost Your Business
Factory automation is a process to increase the productivity of workspaces while saving costs. In return, the end product is obtained faster and better, improving customer satisfaction with your company. We explain what factory automation is and its advantages so that you can incorporate it into your company.
What is Factory Automation?
Factory automation is the digitization of tasks in the machine environment, which eliminates repetitive tasks for employees and simultaneously makes it possible to collect operating data. In this way, automation saves costs in factories and also provides information with which to improve processes. Factory automation is used for factory automation:
- Cloud environments for storage, management, and analysis of information and data.
Fully Automated Factory
When talking about a fully automated factory, it is not only the shop floor that needs to be considered. When you automate a factory, you get data that needs to be available to departments beyond the factory. For example, by taking it to the operations or business departments, you check whether all production and quality targets are being met. Also, in the face of manufacturing delays, if there is a need to order parts from suppliers. Having automated factories also improves maintenance. Through technology and digitization, predictive maintenance work can be done to prevent problems or as part of a temporary schedule.
Types of Automation: How Does It Work
- Programmable: The software and machines are modified according to the product customization needs. This type of automation is used, for example, when manufacturing products in batches, with different characteristics.
- Flexible: This is customized according to the type of product. Unlike the previous one, it is faster to execute.
- Fixed: For specific programming processes, where the product design is not unalterable.
- Integrated systems: These are machines and processes that are independent but work in the same plant.
The operation of an automated factory can take several forms. For example, the machines are automated, but they are monitored by a human who performs some actions (authorizing an order, checking the feedback of a colleague…). There may also be some automated machines, intended for a repetitive task (welding, cutting, packaging…) or the entire production line, in processes that do not involve people. At the same time, not all tasks require the same level of automation. For example, in operations such as manual product assembly or product revision, the use of technology can be minimal and subordinated to the rational assessment of employees.
The Advantages of Factory Automation
The advantages of factory automation include:
- Increased productivity: Processes are automated, allowing the factory to operate and be efficient during more hours of the day, even during the entire workday. This also improves the relationship with customers, who receive their orders sooner.
- Cost reduction: As with many digitization processes, automating processes means that employees can focus on less manual and more creative tasks. Likewise, by analyzing the automated tasks, you can see what waste can be eliminated.
- Energy savings: By automating processes, it is easier to know the electrical consumption of plants or certain components and operate accordingly.
- Adaptability: Automation makes it possible to modify manufacturing according to customer demand.
- Increased occupational safety: Human employees are no longer doing dangerous tasks and are assigned, if anything, to supervise what the machines are doing.
Why You Should Automate Your Factory
Factory automation is part of the growing concept of Industry 4.0, which involves the digitization of plants to obtain a smart factory or a connected industry that takes advantage of all the opportunities (business, cost savings…) that technology brings with it. At Plain Concepts, we can help you automate your factory processes. We are specialists in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Twins, or Cloud Computing, which allow you to improve productivity, accounts, or employee satisfaction while increasing business.
Also, if you already have a sensor system in place, we can get the most out of the information they collect. With our expertise in Internet of Things (IoT), we create solutions adapted to your company and necessary to give value to the data you collect. Meanwhile, through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, machines learn processes that serve to improve the quality of the final product and produce it with greater guarantees or in less time.
In short, there are many ways in which your company can take advantage of factory automation. We are living in a great industrial revolution and we are working with you to take advantage of it. Are you coming?