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Automation can be defined as the technology by which a process or procedure is performed without human assistance.
In other words, Automation or automatic control, is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, boilers and heat treating ovens, switching on telephone networks, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft and other applications and vehicles with minimal or reduced human intervention. Some processes have been completely automated.
Why is automation so widely used today?
1. Improving efficiency and control quality
Most of mechanical automation devices are able to automatically process and control the information, they are more sensitive, accurate and wider than manual in inspection area. The automatic control system makes sure that the execution of mechanism is conform to the design, which will be not affected by operators. Thus the production efficiency and quality can be ensured indirectly. For example, the CNC machine is mare stable and its production efficiency is 2 to 6 times of the ordinary machine; if the machine is equipped with flexible manufacturing system the utilization can make 1.2 to 3.2 times better, the number of machine tools can be reduced by 20%, the manpower can be reduced by 20%, the lead time can be reduced by 40% and the cost can be reduced by 20%. Besides, the mechanical automation devices can be adjusted by programming, so they are especially suitable for the production of multi-variety and small-batch products. In general, they are the good method for manufacturers to shorten the product development cycle and accelerate the upgrade.
2. Improving the production safety and reliability
Mechanical automation devices generally can automatically self-monitor, self-alarm, self-diagnosis, self-protect. When devices overload, overpressure, overcurrent, short circuit and meet other power failure during running, they will automatically start the protection program which will avoid accidents and improve the safety. Mechanical automation devices is consist of many electronic components, which reduce the movable components and wear parts, then they are more sensitivity and reliable, thus the failure rate is reduced and service life is longer.
3. Easy to adjust and maintain
The mechanical automation devices is adjustable by programming to meet various requirements and no need to change any components and parts. If the devices can memorize data, engineers can design several kinds of program and input in the devices, then the devices can change the execution base on different products and programs. Automated inspection and automatic monitoring of mechanical automation devices can automatically prevent failures in the working process and self-restore. Since the widespread adoption of program control and digital display in mechanical automation devices, the operation buttons and handle are reduced, so the operation is more convenient and simple. The motion of the mechanical automation devices is controlled by electronic control system, so they can recently complete all motions. The advanced mechanical automation devices can automatically optimize the operation base on the mathematical model of products and the change of the external parameters.
4. With compound function and widely applicable
Mechanical automation devices are compound and widely applicable, which get rid of the restriction of single function and technology of mechanical and electrical products. The automation level of them is improved greatly. The flexible and intelligent mechanical automation devices can automatically control, compensate, calibrate, adjust and protect themselves, so they can be applied to different occasions and different fields, to meet different requirements.
5. Improving working conditions
Mechanical automation devices are knowledge-intensive and technology-intensive. High level of automation can reduce labor intensity, prompt the factory automation, office automation, agricultural automation, transportation, automation, and even home automation.
Non-standard automation equipment industry as a whole presents an obvious upward trend, that is, non-standard automation equipment market has broad space, and even some traditional industries may become the most potential market. However, the number of non-standard enterprises in China is relatively large; the scale is small; the technology is backward; competition homogeneity is also obvious shortcomings, and in this field there is a gap of at least 10 years with developed countries. New non-standard automation equipment is often mechanics equipment, making full use of the latest achievements of information technology. Designers in some Chinese enterprises are not familiar with the products, dare not or will not choose them, which greatly limits the improvement of the level. Many core technologies are not really independent, and it is obviously difficult to reduce the cost of importing equipment. At present, high-end products, such as industrial robots and servo motors, are still mainly imported from abroad.
Although the non-standard automation equipment industry as a whole presents an obvious trend, the market space of non-standard automation equipment is vast, and even some traditional industries may become the biggest market potential. However, with the growth of similar enterprises in China, the proportion of non-standard automation products produced in China is steadily increasing.