Automation provides wondrous production to magnify efficiency

By: Mannu Mathew | Sub Editor | ELE Times

Automation has the potential drop to change the daily work bodily function of everyone, from mineworker and landscape gardener to commercial banker , fashion graphic designer , welder and CEOs. Automation is not a new phenomenon, and interrogation about its promise and effects have long accompanied its advances. Many small business owners already use at least one common form of automation: email marketing. Companies today offer software that allows users to tailor the parameters of their email marketing campaign to their liking and then set it to run automatically. The software can be configured to send a follow-up email days later only to those who opened the original email, without requiring any person on your staff to lift a finger.

The bottom line of business process automation is, well, the bottom line. Automating processes saves time and allows resources to be diverted elsewhere. It means companies can remain smaller and more agile. Increased efficiency, productivity and lower costs all translate to healthier profit margins for businesses small and large. How automation transforms the economy at large remains to be seen. However, it appears inevitable that we’re headed toward a future of more automation. What this means for businesses, workers and consumers will be the subject of much debate moving forward. One thing seems certain, however: If it can be automated, it will be.

Efficiency and productivity is the name of the game in automation nowadays

On discussing with ELE Times on the role of automation in increasing efficiency, Mr. Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, Omron Automation, India commented “Automation creates the best harmony between humans and machines, between the power and precision of machines or robots and the problem-solving ability of humans to achieve greater productivity and achieve something which is beyond human capabilities. With automation coming to rescue, the workers get extended scope and freedom to focus on higher-level and creative tasks demanding more complex skills. This not only has a direct positive impact on their efficiency but also to varied factors like speed, reliability, precision, quality, productivity and profitability ultimately adding up to a great enhancement in work efficiency.”

Mr. Gandhi further elaborated on the innovations and researches being conducted, he added “With the rapid advent of Industry4.0 & robotics, the sector has been showing advancements around varied applications in order to help the manufacturers achieve the best out of design & energy optimization, finest asset utilization, big data & analytics (connected supply chains and shop floors), worker and machine safety and zero-defect production.

One of the notable applications amongst these is the Total Traceability Solution. It renders the ability to trace & verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification. Having a close interface with IIoT, this solution holds lot of significance for industries where assembling of multiple complex components needs constant checking at every step and product-recalls are encountered quite often.

In the Robotics portfolio, there has been a shift from ‘hard-tooled robotic cell’ to ‘flexible integrated cell’ and from ‘Hard Coded conventional AGV with limited Flexibility’ to ‘Flexible AIV Autonomous Navigation’. Vision guided robots, autonomous intelligent vehicles, mobile robots and cobots have been gaining acceptance and have been helping create an intelligent manufacturing environment where humans and machines work in perfect tandem”

An IIoT & AI based automation framework helps to create a seamless interface between all machine layers and information technology to enable real-time data-based production management. This leads the manufacturers to successfully cope up with three of their biggest challenges: reducing downtime, decreasing frequency of sudden failures and improving changeover efficiency.

A typical IIoT framework comprises of  a network of sensors to collect critical production data and a cloud software to turn this data into valuable insights about the efficiency of the manufacturing operations. These data repositories play the role of a crucial tool in the hands of automation and manufacturing experts to gain more insights into shop floor and field operations, supply chains and remote operations ultimately bringing innumerable benefits in the form of predictive maintenance, shorter time to market, enhanced safety,  cost reduction, mass customization, etc.

While automotive, FMCG and F&B manufacturing sectors continue to show great usage rates for automation, infrastructure and electronics (digital) manufacturing are some of the rising segments which will see a promising expansion in adoption of automation in the near future.

What does the industry offer for the consumers?

Automation-led efficiency can be summed up in three Rs: Responsiveness, Repeatability and Reliability. Increasing efficiency is one way to improve organization’s bottom line. It means being able to take less time to do things, or to be able to do more within the same amount of time. Automation also alleviates stress, because things will be done and you don’t have to worry about remembering to do them.

Industrial Automation is a very critical approach towards working, manufacturing and thereby increasing productivity. The Industry is empowering its resources day by day and is on the process of implementing automation in almost all the sectors of workflow. Let us have a look at some of the latest initiatives from the industry towards favoring automation:

Omron Industrial Automation CP2E Programmable Logic Controllers

Omron Industrial Automation CP2E Programmable Logic Controllers are micro programmable controllers designed to support data collection and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. Omron Industrial Automation CP2E controllers are an efficient solution for flexible production, traceability, and machine monitoring. The series offers a version with two built-in Ethernet ports with Ethernet switching functionality.

Sanyo Denki 9CT1 IoT-Enabled San Ace Controllers

Sanyo Denki 9CT1 IoT-Enabled San Ace Controllers enable automatic speed control and remote monitoring of pulse width modulation (PWM) fans. These controllers can optimize airflow and static pressure of up to four fans by controlling individual fan speeds. Sensor measurements also can be stored and used for automatic fan control, contributing to reducing noise and improving energy efficiency. 9CT1 devices feature Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, including accelerometer, temperature-humidity sensors, and air pressure sensors.

Phoenix Contact AXC F 2152 PLCnext Technology Starter Kit

Phoenix Contact AXC F 2152 PLCnext Technology Starter Kit provides a small-scale way to test the operating principle, handling, and high-performance PLCnext Technology. PLCnext technology expands the use of a PLC in a Linux environment digital ecosystem for edge computing with access to more data via IoT systems and more flexibility with open source code. PLCnext presents a development environment offering HTML5 visualization and seamless integration.

Altech FLEX Power Supplies

Altech FLEX Power Supplies are single, 2-Phase, and 3-Phase DIN-rail power supplies with 24VDC output voltage. Altech FLEX Power Supplies allow for a wide input voltage range and a boost of added power. Applications include motors, solenoid valves, lamps, and other loads with transient overload behavior which would otherwise require an oversize power supply.

Carlo Gavazzi SPDM Series Economical Slimline Power Supplies

Carlo Gavazzi SPDM Series Economical Slimline Power Supplies provide output options of 12VDC, 24VDC, or 48VDC. These power supplies are available in 120W, 240W, 480W variants and offer a universal input voltage range from 85VAC to 264VAC and 130VDC to 350VDC. The SPDM power supplies feature a built-in active Power Factor Correction (PFC) that adjusts the power factor to 0.99 at 110VAC and 0.95 at 230VAC.

Phoenix Contact QUINT4-PS Three-Phase, 40A Power Supplies

Phoenix Contact QUINT4-PS Three-Phase, 40A Power Supplies are designed with two strong power boosts and Selective Fuse Breaking (SFB) technology. The power boosts allow the three-phase, 40A power supplies to output 1200W continuously and 1440W for up to 5s. Phoenix Contact QUINT4-PS Three-Phase, 40A Power Supplies are DIN rail power supplies without any inrush current.

TE Connectivity / Potter & Brumfield SSRMP Mini Puck Solid State Relays

TE Connectivity’s Potter & Brumfield SSRMP Mini Puck Series Solid State Relays are silent, fast, solid state relays with long electrical life. The panel mount relays have a load rating range from 10A, 16A, and 25A @ 240/480VAC and offer an unlimited number of switching operations. The input side is standard (4VDC to 32VDC) across all output ranges and high-speed switching prevents interference of external signals.

Carlo Gavazzi RZ3A 3-Phase SSRs

Carlo Gavazzi RZ3A 3-Phase SSRs are designed for high-voltage switching of various loads like heating elements, transformers, and motors. These Solid State Relays (SSRs) are capable of switching high voltages up to 600VACrms. The RZ3A SSRs features zero-switching, integral snubber network, IP10 back-of-hand protection, built-in varistor, and over-temperature protection option with alarm output. This built-in varistor is capable of securing transient protection for heavy industrial applications.

Omron Industrial Automation Predictive Maintenance Solutions

Omron Industrial Automation Predictive Maintenance Solutions cover a wide range of equipment types that benefit from a proactive strategy of continuous monitoring and evaluating, as opposed to periodic checkups. The goal is to use real-time data to identify component failures early, reduce unplanned downtime, and avoid costly repairs. Omron Industrial Automation Predictive Maintenance Solutions offer a variety of plug-and-play solutions.

BEI Sensors / Sensata ACW4 & TCW4 IO-Link Modular Sensors

BEI Sensors / Sensata ACW4 and TCW4 IO-Link Modular Sensors provide a compact single-turn or multi-turn absolute position indication with an IO-Link output. The over-molded, two-part modular design offers flexibility and a low profile for tight installations. The IO-Link protocol simplifies the sensor set-up and integration and supports the move to Factory 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives. IO-Link features include a digital interface, diagnostic and record-keeping functions and event notifications

Laird Connectivity Sentrius™ RS1x RTD External Temperature Probes

Laird Connectivity Sentrius™ RS1x Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) External Temperature Probes are secure and scalable wireless sensors for long-range IoT applications. These battery-powered and long-range sensor platforms leverage the benefits of LoRaWAN and BLUETOOTH® Low Energy (BLE) connectivity. The RS1x temperature probes feature integrated antennas, broad sensor array, external temperature probe, and a rugged IP65 enclosure. These probes offer rugged durability and robust multi-layer security at each interface to safeguard the network.

Littelfuse PPG & PPG-J Thin-Film Platinum RTD Sensors

Littelfuse PPG and PPG-J Thin-Film Platinum Resistance Temperature Detectors (Pt-RTDs) are temperature sensors capable of withstanding temperatures ranging from -50°C to +500°C. Littelfuse PPG and PPG-J Thin-Film Platinum RTD Sensors consist of a passivated thin-film platinum element deposited on a ceramic substrate and cost-effective compared to when compared to wirewound platinum resistance temperature detectors.

Honeywell 2CCP MICRO SWITCH Cable-Pull Safety Switches

Honeywell 2CCP MICRO SWITCH Cable-Pull Safety Switches provide an economical switching solution for an easily accessible emergency stop function along conveyors and machines. Honeywell 2CCP Safety Switches offer reliable performance, a highly configurable platform, easy installation, simplified maintenance, and fast equipment restart.

Omron Industrial Automation Sensing Solutions

As integral components of production equipment, sensors dramatically impact equipment longevity, quality control, and operational flexibility. Omron Industrial Automation’s wide-ranging portfolio of advanced sensing technologies helps manufacturers cut costs throughout production by improving predictive maintenance, resisting typical causes of sensor breakdown, and providing flexible mounting options.

Forthcoming changes in Automation

COVID has led to an exponential rise in the contribution of the ‘Uncertain’ element in it. In order to deal with this, the manufacturers must gain agility and flexibility. Automation is the most useful and effective tool to their rescue, and so the future will see much more adoption of automation in the manufacturing sector. The aspiration should not only be to make in India but also to make world-class in India and automation will certainly be the key to achieving that. With “Vocal for Local” sentiment gaining more buoyancy, automation will play a significant role in solving manufacturers’ challenges such as social distancing at the shop floor, unreliable availability of skilled and sufficient manpower due to the migrant labour movement, achieving high-mix-low-volume (HMLV) operations, and realigning of global supply chains – by maximizing Quality, Consistency, Reliability and Hygiene. Thus making the business environment to stay for a much longer time than expected.

By: Mannu Mathew | Sub Editor | ELE Times

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