Answer: Automation is the use of scientific and technological principles in the manufacture of machines that take over work normally done by humans. Following figure shows a sample automationproduction process:For services, automation usually means increase in quality and productivity using labor savingdevices. Automation is ideal when the service provided or the product manufactured is highlystandardized. Some extent of automation can be designed even with customization, that is, product orservices meant to produce or deliver low volumes specific to a requirement. The cost per unit determines the extent of automation required. Automation systems cost huge sumsof money and therefore, a deep analysis of the various factors has to be done. The advantage of automation is that it has low variability and will be more consistent on a repetitive basis. On the shopfloor variability causes loss of quality.
Where is automation used?
Automation in the banking sector has resulted in ATMs which save a huge amount of bank’slabor and it is found to have given greater customer satisfaction.
In education, long distance learning technology helps in supplementing class room instruction. The facilitating goods that are used in this case are e-courses, web sites and videos. There are three kinds of automation: fixed, programmable, and flexible..
By its very nature, fixed automation is rigid. They are designed for high volumeproduction and their rigidity
ensures less variability. They are not amenable to change in product orprocess. They need minimal human intervention. Examples: Oil refineries and chemical processingunits..
Programming devices enable machines to operate automatically. Themachines have sensing and
control devices that enable this. The simplest of them called machineattachments replace human effort. They guide, locate, move, and achieve relative positions by meansof cams, optical sensing, and load sensing mechanisms andactivate the controls to remove human intervention. Numerically controlled machines readinstructions and convert them to machine. Computers are used for controlling one machine ora number of them and they have programs written into them for operations. They areComputer Numerically Controlled or for short, CNC machines.
Robots are higher in the order of automation as they perform a variety of tasks. Theyare designed to move
materials by holding them in their arms and making precise movements