The scenario of industrial automation in Brazil and in the world and the technological evolution of production lines in industries
With the evolution of technology and the reduction of industrial automation costs, new scenarios have emerged in the industry. Which led to the emergence of new automation methods around the world?
The market is undergoing a paradigm shift. Industry jobs, which previously were mostly on the manual assembly line, with low productivity, are now beginning to lean towards special machines and autonomous and intelligent lines.
With this, the industrial automation process gains more and more strength. In this text, we will evaluate a little about how this process works. As well as, what are the effects of Automation for industry and society?
WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION
Industrial automation is the process by which the industry has been implementing new technologies in production and maintenance. These technologies are intended to replace tasks that were previously performed by humans. This process has been taking place slowly for decades with promising results.
In every sector where industrial automation was started there was an increase in production speed. In addition, automation has as its main objective the reduction in the number of process failures. Failures that are caused by human action.
Each year, at least six new functions come into being as part of automation. In this way, there is a continuous annual increase in technological adaptation capabilities, so that the machines are able to perform specific tasks.
HOW DOES INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION HAPPEN?
The automation process is relatively simple but requires a great effort on the part of researchers and engineers.
The first step for automation to exist is observation. A team of experts observes a certain function to the extreme, being performed by different people. And they try to include in the analysis, as many variables and possible errors in production.
The data from this observation are studied by a team of engineers, who will design a machine with the most suitable shape and characteristics for that specific function.
This process can take months, but by the time the machine in question is ready, it can be quickly replicated with surprising results.
Although the process takes some research and testing time, before a machine is ready to do a certain job for a person, when an automation technology is put on the market, it is already complete.
Study and preparation time is thus an added value, since the longer it takes a machine, from the first idea to the final product, the greater the range of variables it can deal with at work.
In this sense, automation helps to accelerate the labor market by providing changes in the most basic functions, which encourage and foster trade, and industrial production in a very complete way.
INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION SEGMENTS
Industrial automation is a reality in all companies from small to large industries. Still, many companies have restrictions regarding its application in their production processes. This is because they understand automation as if it were something difficult to achieve within their economic reality.
In fact, the industrial automation process has been happening slowly, mainly in the last two decades. It so happens that there is still the misconception that automation will wipe out jobs and negatively change the economy.
What we have seen in this first moment of adaptation to the new paradigm is the formation of a series of segments, with totally new job possibilities, which did not exist 30 years ago.
We can divide these segments into five distinct levels according to specific knowledge and functions, they are:
Level 1 – basically factory floor
Level 2 – process quality control
Level 3 – supervision and work orders
Level 4 – production management and planning
Level 5 – company administration sector
Below we detail each of these levels:
LEVEL 1 – SHOP FLOOR
This level is where the machinery is, the palpable part of automation. We can say that, this is where the process is really alive and happening. In this sector we will find the machines related to the production and all the necessary equipment for the control of these machines. Naturally, this is where people with technical knowledge in mechanical engineering enter. The machines here perform the function for which they were programmed and intended.
LEVEL 2 – PROCESS QUALITY CONTROL
At this level is the quality control of processes. This control can be done manually, by people or automatically, by specific equipment, such as the data collected and organized in databases.
Depending on the type of automation and industry, this control can be centralized. This means that only one quality control center can handle several factories that have the same type of production.
With this, companies can save on space and costs, since, in case of need, it would be much easier for a technician to find all the information in one place.
LEVEL 3 – SUPERVISION AND WORK ORDERS
At this level, supervision and work orders take place; this is where the database of everything being done is located, in different processes at level 1.
It is at this level that production orders are added to differentiate. For example, which products will be made using the same machines in a factory?
Let’s say a car factory is running automaton, at this level controllers can enter assembly orders to create different car models in different factories quickly and accurately.
LEVEL 4 – PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING
This is the level of production management and planning. And that’s where the orders come from so that anyone on level 3 knows what needs to be done. It is then up to Level 3 to make the preparations for this to happen.
It is also at level 4 that the control of raw materials is located. This is the level responsible for efficiently controlling the factory’s resources so that production is not harmed. Furthermore, so that the machines are not damaged by misuse or overuse.
LEVEL 5 – COMPANY ADMINISTRATION SECTOR
This is the level where we can fit the company’s administration sector and also the sales sector. It is in this sector where orders originate and where the whole process really comes to life.
The administration and the sales department are both responsible for moving the productivity and economy of the company as a whole.