Automation Production Technology
Nature of Automation
Automation has been understood as mere replacement of labor by machines. This perception has now changed .Today, automation projects are initiated not just for labor cost savings, but also for improved product quality, fast production and delivery of products and increased product flexibility.
Simply stated, automation refers to the technique of operating or controlling a productive process by electronic devices and reducing human intervention to the minimum Human contribution to production comprises two kinds of effortâ€”physical and mental. The physical contribution or muscle power was taken over by machines which came to be increasingly used after the Industrial Revolution. The mental contribution to production is now taken over by electronic devices, chiefly computers, which are often known as giant brains .With the advent of automation , the second Industrial Revolution begun.
In a fully automated plant, all the aspects of manufacturing , that is feed, production ,information and control, are carried on by computers, watch-dogged by only a few men who glance occasionally at a control panel or sweep the cuttings .However, the extent of automation varies from plant to plant, and depends on the willingness and capacity of the management, cooperation of the workers and their trade unions , and the general economic conditions of the country. Automation is nothing more than the extension of the principles of mechanization to the integration of machines, one with another in such a manner as to have the group operate as an individual processing and control unit. At the other extreme, automation is the application of electronic digital computer control systems, which not only read the individual measurement devices but analyse the data as received from the devices, reach a decision, and adjust the control values or motors to proper settings for projected optimum results. Between these extremes are a number of levels of application of automation techniques and principles.
In practice, automation may assume three distinct forms, namely, integration, feedback control and computer technology .Integration involves processes in which the finished product is moved automatically ,untouched by human hands, from one stage to another Feedback control is mainly an electronic process by which an error or diversion of the machine from a planned performance is automatically corrected. These controls , called â€œservo mechanismsâ€? are highly developed in chemical industries and operate the multitude of mechanisms involved in these industrial processes. 0Third, the computer technology depends on the use of electronically operated machines capable of recording and classifying information. And when required , drawing conclusions from this information.