Automation functions are the areas in manufacturing where work is accomplished, where automation establishes its utility or contribution to benefit the end result of a company’s efforts. Examples of this utility would be cloud manufacturing, job shop automation, and flexible automation. This utility also occurs in areas of work in the business that support automation. The selection process for picking the right automation provider would be consider one of the automation functions. There are certain types of automation that are readily adaptable to industry operations. A given functional area of manufacturing such as job shop automation would include welding automation devices, metal working automation components. Robotics for manipulating welding tools are included here along with coating application robots. These types of automation functions will only have certain types of devices that can be used effectively in them.

The functions that have been and will be assigned to automation are growing daily, especially in manufacturing. Technology continues to make new capabilities available to manufacturing for the creation of products. Automation devices have been dependent on computers to give them direction and monitor their successes. These functions allow for the integration of computer capabilities into the mechanical plant operations. The combination of the production task that has to be done and the computer-driven device that does that task is the automation function.

The combination of the task that is to be done and the device that does that task as a unit has a significant impact on the manufacturing operation as a whole. There is a definite positive impact made by automation functions on the value added cost structure that funds the production of any product.

The reduction in cost for material handling functions lowers the cost of producing products because of the efficiency that combination brings to the manufacturing process. Another major expense reduction occurs from the reduction in labor that is required to make products due to the capabilities of automation devices and their operating instructions. The turn-around time between production jobs is a result of the excellent design of those devices that are part of production functions. The controller in an automation operation sends instructions to the other functions in the manufacturing process. The controller and its instructions, which make up a primary automation function, make a major impact on the efficiency of the manufacturing. Without this combination other automation functions would not exist.

In order for your business to build automation into your current operations it will be important for you to enlist the services of a competent automation solution integrator. This company will understand your objectives and give you the ability to develop a long range plan for the integration of of effective automation into your production. During the process the integrator will be able to audit the functional capabilities of each project activity that is to be included in the finished automation. Their experience will enable them to be able to tell you what function will be best for helping you achieve the target result that you desire. It is very important for the integrator to tell you why you should not use some of the suggested function options, then tell you why you should use other options. In any case, you need for the experience of the integrator to speak to you, and you need to listen. Building the proper functions into your automation will take the greatest amount of planning and commitment on the part of your employees.

There are three standard parts of any automation function which make it possible for a machine and its instructions to work together. These include the power to accomplish a task that has been assigned to be done, the devices that are assigned to perform the assigned tasks, and a mechanism to give some feedback to the process as to whether the task was accomplished or not.

The power source for doing such tasks is usually electrical or some form that is driven by electrical power. The final power that actually does the work can be mechanical, hydraulic, or pneumatic. Electrical power is used as the source for these because it is easily stored and can be made available very readily. It can be converted to any of the threes types of power very easily. The power that is sent to an automation function gets used in movement, processing, or positioning in automation. The devices that work to perform during an automation process are given their instruction by a program that runs on a controller. The feedback as to whether the task was accomplished or not is sent back to the controller over the same connection that transmits the original instructions.

John Mitchell, the author of this article, is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the uses of automation in manufacturing. The company website, http://www.provinc.net, allows companies to submit requests for quotation to automation specialists.

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