Industrial automation is a complex and mammoth topic covering areas ranging from simple control systems handling processes and machines, through to digital manufacturing, the much-hyped "smart factory" and Industrie 4.0.
In a nutshell, industrial automation is a step beyond mechanisation; it is about using control systems and technology to replace human physical and mental labour in the manufacturing and engineering sector.
Products and systems that combine mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics, plus electrical and electronic components, can be used to automate tasks previously carried out by humans. These are just some of the technologies that are paving the way for the next industrial revolution: Industrie 4.0, an initiative to revolutionise manufacturing and engineering by combining the digital world and that of industrial production to create "smart" manufacturing facilities.
The term Industrie 4.0 was initially used as a reference to one of ten "future projects" included in the German government’s High-Tech Strategy 2020 Action Plan back in 2012. Industrial automation is used across a wide spectrum of sectors, from the automotive and aerospace industries; to the FMCG and oil and gas industries – to name but a few. In this blog post, we will consider four of the resulting benefits for electronics manufacturers.