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 with minimal or reduced human intervention. Some processes have been completely automated.
Automation is the key to producing products consistently, precise, and efficiently.
Back in the 18th century somebody had a thought that people shouldn’t have to work so hard to get a task completed; from there on people have been creating ways to make processes run with less effort and more efficient. In 1745, Edmund Lee patented the automatic fan-tail windmill which turned its self into proper direction of the wind, this eliminating a great effort that would be required by man to turn the “post-mill” into the wind.
In the 20th century, 1905- A glass bottle blowing machine that was automatically successful could produce over 17,000 bottlers in 24 hours period; this took the cost of one bottle from $1.80 down to 12 cents. Production ways were starting to change.
Fast-forward: The idea of “lights-out” manufacturing is now being aimed at by high volume manufacturers. Lights-out manufacturing is the idea of having a fully running production line where not one physical human is needed in the faculty to run the any type of machine, and you could have a working factory with the light off. A fully automated line of industrial robots would ideally take care of everything. Today a human would still need to be able to control these robots by programs through their phones or computers.
Here at SWI our products help with continuous control of a system. As stated above, “automation is the use of various control systems for operating equipment....” When a SWI level sensor is placed into an application it provides that system with the input to open a valve or a tank if full. It can send an automatic message to the next in line that this process is getting low on liquid, it’s time to fill up again and then automatically stop when full.
Right now manufacturers are always looking for ways to become lean and clean, less waste (time and materials), less physical demand of the worker, and more products at a higher quality and constant pace. Automation in manufacturing is helping companies meet their goals and please the customer with an on-time, quality product.
Nicole Rutigliano, SWI Product Design Engineer