What is automation

TECHNOLOGY

Automation is the set of computer, mechanical and electromechanical elements or processes that operate with little or no human intervention. These are normally used to optimize and improve the operation of an industrial plant, but automation can also be used in a stadium, a farm or even in the infrastructure of cities.

The feedback and the ability to make adjustments with that information is what indicates how self-sufficient an automated system is, a robotic arm that is used in the assembly of cars is an example of high independence, since with its sensors and programming it can Performing its task without human intervention, a milk tank that only has a temperature sensor, but turning it on or off manually is an example of a semi-automated system.

What is an automated system? 

Automation is a system where production tasks, usually performed by human operators, are transferred to a set of technological elements.   

An automated system consists of two main parts:                   

Command Part
Operational part          

The Operating Part is the part that acts directly on the machine. They are the elements that make the machine move and perform the desired operation. The elements that make up the operational part are the actuators   of the machines such as motors, cylinders, compressors … and the sensors such as photodiodes, limit switches …                                

The Command Part is usually a programmable automaton (programmed technology), although until recently electromagnetic relays, electronic cards, or pneumatic logic modules (wired technology) were used. In an automated manufacturing system, the programmable controller is at the center of the system. It must be able to communicate with all the constituents of the automated system.

Automation goals        

Improve the productivity of the company, reducing production costs and improving its quality.
Improve the working conditions of personnel, eliminating laborious tasks  and increasing security.
Perform operations that can not be controlled intellectually or manually.
Improve the availability of products, being able to supply the necessary quantities at the right time.
Simplify maintenance so that the operator does not require extensive knowledge for handling the production process.
Integrate management and production.

Why is automation recommended?

Automation helps companies achieve digital transformation. Today’s organizations face major disruptions, for example Airbnb, Amazon, etc. Your challenge is to support your employees and partners, reach new customers, and deliver new and innovative products and services, faster.

They want and need to be themselves the ones to revolutionize their own sectors.

Automation is essential to manage, modify and adapt not only the IT infrastructure, but also the operation of the company in all its processes. By simplifying the change process with automation, you have more time and energy to focus on innovation. The goal of an automated company is to get the job done faster. This allows IT staff to focus on solving more important problems, and then incorporate the solution into the work routine and identify if it can be automated.

To explain it in more detail:

  • IT operations are heavy lifting. It is even heavier to continue legacy systems and processes and adopt new ones.
  • Requirements and demand grow exponentially faster than IT and business capabilities.
  • New technologies, like DevOps , demand cultural changes.
  • The magnitude of the technology ( virtualization , cloud, etc.) is too great to be managed manually.
  • Automation solves the problem.

Advantages of automation

Automation does not always mean replacing people. Sometimes it will happen, as some steps that require human interaction will be eliminated, but the core benefits of automation lie in productivity, consistency, and efficiency. That is the paradox of automation : thanks to it, efficiency is achieved, and then human intervention becomes more important, but less frequent.

It should not be seen as a tool to cut jobs, but rather as the ability for more experienced IT staff to focus on solving bigger problems, rather than on day-to-day, repetitive tasks.

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