Automated Manufacturing in an Age of Innovation
In this age of innovation, antiquated one-task robotic systems are being replaced by fully automated, flexible, and smart manufacturing floors. This topic is the focus of “Industrial Acceptance of Automation,” an article published by Industrial Automation North America.
Some of the recent technological advances it highlights include:
Size vs. Power
When it comes to technology, a smaller machine is not necessarily a less powerful one. Robotic components have been shrinking over recent years, making them more flexible and able to integrate as a small sub-system within a larger framework. Their operational power has also been decreasing, while their functional speed has been on the rise.
Increased Adaptability and Intelligence
With technological advancements comes enhanced performance. Large, centralized control systems will be retired in favour of adaptable, flexible control nodes incorporated within the interconnected actuators and sensors of a robotic infrastructure. Self-healing programs will be able to configure themselves and proactively respond to real-time changes on the manufacturing floor.
Enhanced Communication and Connectivity
Over the last decade, we have seen wireless capabilities increase significantly and the Internet of Things (IoT) begin to pick up steam with consumer products. This is good news for manufacturers, as de-centralized, intelligent control systems will rely on those existing infrastructures and heightened bandwidths.
The Ripple Effect High-Tech Manufacturing Will Have
Manufacturing cutting-edge technologies like computer chips, nanotechnologies, and MEMS necessitates using state-of-the-art systems and tools. Changes in these sub-industries will have a trickle-down effect across the sector and make automation the norm, though traditional manufacturers will wait until the cost advantages are clear and payback times on investments are reasonable.
As automation researchers and developers continue to produce new, innovative technologies, they need to keep cost on their minds. Manufacturers want proof of performance and surety that the initial investment will be worth the risk.
This age of innovation and automation is cause for excitement. Although there will be hurdles, fully automated, flexible, and smart manufacturing will bring new opportunities for manufacturers in every sector. The fully automated manufacturing floor promises to keep us all competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace which is demanding aggressive pricing, rapid turnaround times, and uncompromising quality.
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